Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday that he wants the country to have a new government with “full powers” by December. In an interview on the Ana Rosa show on the free-to-air television channel Telecinco, Sánchez said the results of the November 10 general election will “break the deadlock and allow Spain to move forward.”
This statement echoes comments made by the leader of the Socialist Party (PSOE) at the weekend, when he promised that, if he were re-elected, December and January would be “working months.” He said that a spending ceiling would be set by January in order to “approve a new budget plan by March.”
Pedro Sánchez wants to have new budget plans approved by March
Spain has been dogged by political deadlock since the inconclusive results of the April 28 general election, when the Socialists won the highest number of seats in Congress but fell short of an absolute majority. Despite months of negotiations, Sánchez was unable to secure enough support to be sworn back into office as prime minister at an investiture vote. The biggest stumbling block was with the anti-austerity party Unidas Podemos, which said it would only vote for Sánchez if the PSOE agreed to form a coalition government with the party. The Socialist leader rejected this demand and a repeat general election was called for November 10.
In the interview on Wednesday, Sánchez said that Portugal is the role model to follow. “There the Socialist Party has won. And given that there is no alternative, neither from the left or the right, the rest of the political forces are going to allow for there to be a government,” he said.
Sánchez added that he wants Spain to have a “progressive” and “stable” government after November 10, one that does not depend on “pro-independence forces,” in reference to Catalan separatist parties and Basque nationalist groups.
According to Sánchez, the three biggest challenges facing Spain are “the [Catalan] independence drive, Brexit and the economic slowdown.” In the interview with Telecinco, the caretaker prime minister added that Spain is facing multiple “challenges” including “guaranteeing decent work, the ecological transition, equality between men and women, the fight against social exclusion and creating strong social harmony thanks to the statues of regional powers.”
On the future of a possible Socialist executive, Sánchez said he would like the same ministers to continue in their positions – Nadia Calviño as economy minister, María Jesús Montero as finance minister; Pedro Duque as science minister; Margarita Robles as defense minister; and Fernando Grande-Marlaska as interior minister.
English version by Melissa Kitson.