MADRID – Spain’s Acting Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, has accepted with “enthusiasm” and “responsibility” the commission from King Felipe VI to attempt to form a new government.
Following the monarch’s decision, announced on Tuesday through the President of the Congress, Francina Armengol, Sánchez addressed the issue from La Moncloa. “I do it with the excitement of knowing all that Spain can achieve in the next four years with a progressive government of the PSOE and Sumar,” he added. However, he did not set a date for the investiture (he has until November 27 as the legal deadline) while acknowledging that negotiations with various groups “won’t be easy.” Nevertheless, he called upon the different forces in the parliamentary spectrum with whom he aspires to reach an agreement to lead the government: “It’s a moment for politics, generosity, and leadership. We start today, and I can’t guarantee a date, but we will work seriously.”
Acepto, con ilusión y responsabilidad, el encargo de SM el Rey como candidato a ser investido presidente del Gobierno.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) October 3, 2023
No ‘sham investiture’
The leader of the PSOE does not intend to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor in this task, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, whose investiture attempt failed last week. “I’m not going for a sham investiture,” he criticised. In this regard, he announced that he will begin the round of consultations with all parliamentary groups, except the far-right Vox, starting this Wednesday, and he will do so in the Congress since he is the socialist candidate.
Progressive coalition government
Therefore, on Wednesday, he will begin with Yolanda Díaz, with whom he aims to reestablish a progressive coalition government, and he invites Feijóo to a meeting. Not to “ask for his support” or “make calls for defection,” but to propose “something common sense”: “That he complies with the laws and the Constitution,” namely, that the PP unblocks the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), whose mandate has been expired for nearly five years.
Sánchez will also meet with representatives in the Congress of the other potential allies for his investiture. This includes ERC, Junts, and EH Bildu. Once he has heard from all political groups, Sánchez will establish “a position,” although all agreements reached will be “within the framework of the Constitution.”
Regarding amnesty for those prosecuted in the Catalan independence process, a word the socialist leader still avoids saying, Sánchez has recalled that, in the event of an agreement in this regard, it will be “endorsed” by the Congress, and finally, the Constitutional Court will have to “pronounce” on it.
Rejects self-determination referendum
“Spaniards must have the assurance that, although conversations must naturally be discreet, the agreements will be transparent and known. So much so that they must be endorsed by the legislative power, and surely, as happened in the previous legislature, even the Constitutional Court will have to rule,” he asserted.
In the case of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia, another demand of the pro-independence parties, Sánchez has expressly rejected it. He also defended the “difficult” decision he made regarding the pardons for those convicted in the procès since, today, he can ascertain that it was “correct” and made “in the interest of the general good.”
“Let’s get to work, as a country”
“I will work body and soul so that in the coming weeks, in a complex negotiation, we can have the government that the Spanish people deserve and need,” Sánchez concluded. “In short, let’s get to work, as a country, we’ve been wasting time for the past few weeks,” the President concluded his remarks. Ahead, the Secretary-General of the PSOE faces the challenge of once again assembling a majority that can invest him as Prime Minister for the third time in the Congress.