TOP SPANISH NEWS As Spain’s King Felipe Asks Pedro Sanchez to Attempt to Form Government

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AFTER two days of meeting with 18 political leaders Spain’s King Felipe VI has formally nominated Pedro Sánchez, the caretaker Socialist prime minister, to form the country’s next government.

The two day meetings concluded with the King encounter with the acting Prime Minister and was the eighth round of consultations that Felipe VI has had in the five and a half years he has been on the throne.

Parliament speaker Meritxell Batet announced the monarch’s decision in a televised statement. In a news conference after, Sanchez said he’d accept Felipe’s invitation “with honour and enormous gratitude”

In elections held last month, Sanchez’s Socialists once more emerged as the biggest party in Spain’s 350-seat parliament but well short of an overall majority.

Mr Sánchez is seeking, with the radical left Podemos party, to form modern Spain’s first coalition government and though Sanchez has already sealed a pact with the anti-austerity group Podemos he is still in talks with the Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (REC) to gain the support he needs to stay on as prime minister.

Sanchez will seek to gather support before pronouncing a date for an investiture vote and declined to specify whether a vote to do so would take place this month.

If no government is formed two months after the initial vote in parliament, another general election is automatically triggered.

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Cristina Hodgson

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