Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish acting prime minister, appeared to cruise to victory in the general election and then followed up his success with victory in the local elections last month. But he has problem. He failed to secure a majority and while his two victories were impressive they were not impressive enough. His socialist party needs to form a coalition to govern and at the moment none of the other parties are playing ball. So much so that he even threatened to call another general election to break the deadlock. Yesterday, Sanchez held talks with Podemos who agreed to "co-operate" with his government, but this may not be enough.
It had appeared that there was an element of political stability in Spain, but unless Sanchez can find a coalition partner with enough seats in parliament then there will be plenty of uncertainty. It must be remembered that Sanchez only called a general election because he didn't have enough support to get his budget through parliament. There is speculation that the centre-right Ciudadanos could form a coalition with the socialists even though this has been dismissed by many political commentators. The clock is ticking and Sanchez will be under pressure to form a government sooner rather than later. A new election would be a blow for Spain at a time when it wants to underline its credentials as a strong and modern country and a leading member of the European Union. Sanchez will have to act.