Rajoy, in a speech before supporters today, scolded Sánchez for wasting time.

04-03-2016Juan Medina

Acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy today renewed his push for a coalition between his Partido Popular (PP) and PSOE after their leader Pedro Sánchez failed to win the backing of parliament to form a government.

The parties have been in negotiations to form a government since the December general election. Businesses and investors have so far remained calm about the deadlock, but new elections would raise the risk that Spain’s economic growth, one of the highest rates in the European Union, might be affected by the political impasse.

Podemos has sworn to vote against any coalition which includes the PP, while Sánchez has said repeatedly that he would not support any pact which would allow Rajoy to return to power.

Rajoy, in a speech before supporters today, scolded Sánchez for wasting time on a coalition which lacked enough seats to win the necessary support and called on the PSOE leader to join the PP for a new government or stand aside.

“This coalition would respect the will of the people. The first and the second (parties) plus, if we like, the fourth. Our offer is still there, and if you don’t like it, let the party which won govern,” Rajoy said.

Meanwhile, PSOE and Ciudadanos (C's), who together mustered 130 of the 350 votes, which were well short of either an absolute or simple majority, are planning on entering into joint negotiations with other parties. They are still hopeful that their pact for reform will, subject to amendment, be powerful enough to bring in other parties. They do not believe the investiture attempt was a waste of time, as the pact will be at the heart of renewed contacts. Juan Carlos Girauta of the C's said yesterday that there will not be any "horse-trading" but an attempt to arrive at agreement by which there will be a government for everyone. He was, nevertheless, non-commital about any discussions with the PP.

Some key sticking-points to any agreement will be those raised during the two investiture debates. The C's are still insisting on there being respect for the Constitution and national integrity. In other words, they remain adamant in opposing any move on independence by Catalonia, a matter which caused a great deal of the tension during the debates.

For PSOE, its spokesperson, Antonio Hernando, believed that the pact with the C's will allow for its enrichment through dialogue and involvement of other parties. He ruled out any governmental solution which would mean Mariano Rajoy remaining at the head of the government. He also said that Pedro Sánchez would continue to be the candidate for prime minister.

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