Spain business leaders warn against new elections
Spanish business leaders warned Tuesday that calling new elections would be an "incomprehensible failure," as a first deadline to form a government following inconclusive elections was moved forward to March 1.
Spain has been mired in political deadlock for more than nine weeks since the December elections resulted in a hung parliament split among four main parties -- none of which have enough seats to govern alone.
Socialist party chief Pedro Sanchez has been nominated by the king as prime ministerial candidate, but he needs support from other groupings to be voted through and if he fails and no other solution is found within two months, new elections will be called in June.
"This is the moment for the representatives we elected to interpret the results right and talk, negotiate and make pacts," major business associations said in a joint statement.
"Calling new elections would be an incomprehensible failure for our politics," read the statement by associations that included the Circulo de Empresarios, which represents owners and top managers of leading firms in Spain.
"We support any formation of a stable political compromise."
The statement, also signed by the business association of the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, called for a government that would work to consolidate Spain's recovery from a severe crisis.
"To consolidate this recovery and keep creating jobs, it's necessary to combine growth stimulus with continued reforms that boost competitivity, respecting the rules that derive from our membership of the eurozone."
Since his nomination as prime ministerial candidate, Sanchez has held talks with most parliamentary parties to try and garner enough support for his nomination.
The parliamentary session to examine his nomination was initially slated to start on March 2, with a vote of confidence likely held the next day.
But the whole process was moved forward to March 1, parliamentary speaker Patxi Lopez announced Tuesday.
Sanchez needs an absolute majority in the first vote of confidence.
If that fails, another vote will be held 48 hours later, where Sanchez will only require a simple majority.
If that is also unsuccessful, a two-month countdown begins from the date of the first vote, after which new elections will be called if no solution is found.
Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy -- whose conservative Popular Party won the elections but without an absolute majority, and who gave up attempts to form a government for lack of support from other parties -- believes Sanchez will fail.
He told his British conservative counterpart David Cameron at an EU summit last week that he believed Spain would "most likely" hold fresh elections in June.
© 2016 AFP