Socialists' meeting could end Spain's standoff

Opposition party to decide Sunday whether to form government with conservative rivals or trigger yet more elections

Socialists' meeting could end Spain's standoff

World Bulletin / News Desk

 On Sunday Spain’s main opposition Socialist Party will make one of the most difficult decisions in its history.

It will choose whether or not to abstain in an upcoming parliamentary vote which could allow their traditional conservative rivals to govern.

If the Socialists vote “no” in the investiture, they will essentially drag Spain into a third round of national elections in less than two years.

The country has been without an agreed government since December 2015 and has until Oct. 31 to form an administration. If not, Spanish voters will be forced to go the polls again this December.

After months of political chess, the burden has fallen squarely on the center-left Socialist Party to make the compromise.

Currently, the Socialist Party, like Spain itself, is in the hands of a caretaker administration.

The party’s former leader, Pedro Sanchez, stepped down earlier this month after a party “coup.” Several high-level committee members suddenly quit in protest at his stance on a firm “no” to a conservative-led government.

The mass resignations forced a chaotic meeting in which Sanchez failed to win the support of the majority of the Socialists’ ruling body, forcing him to finally step aside.

Sanchez, now returned from a California vacation, will attend the party’s executive committee meeting on Sunday.

Most Socialist voters back Sanchez and do not want to see the conservative Popular Party (PP) in power. A recent poll conducted for Spanish television channel La Sexta found 71 percent of Socialists preferred third elections to a government led by caretaker PP Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Although the move to abstain is likely to alienate many Socialist voters, the other argument is that yet more elections would probably be disastrous for the flailing party.

They have seen increasingly poor election results and may lose even more seats to Rajoy or the more left-wing Podemos party.

Proponents of abstention argue it would be better for the country to have an agreed government, regardless of who leads it.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ekim 2016, 15:44