Spanish Prime Minister and Popular Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy .
Photograph by Denis Doyle—Getty Images
By Claire Zillman
February 19, 2016

The Eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy is going to need new elections to break the deadlock caused by December’s poll, according to Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The poll in December was a complete mess, shattering the traditional duopoly of Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party and the center-left social democrats of the PSOE. Rajoy’s PP won the most votes but failed to secure a majority. Parliament was left fractured along four party lines, with none of them having enough seats even to form a coherent coalition with politically sympathetic parties.

There have been steps to break the impasse, which has been a black eye for the nation whose economy was the Eurozone’s best performer last year. King Felipe VI earlier this month appointed Pedro Sanchez, head of the PSOE that finished second in December, to try to form a minority government, but Sanchez has yet to make any significant progress. He was the king’s second choice after the other parties refused to work with Rajoy.

 

Rajoy, whose party has been plagued by scandal, was dismissive of Sanchez’ prospects of forming a government by a deadline of March 2. At the the E.U. Summit on Thursday, he was caught on camera telling British Prime Minister David Cameron that the nation would “most likely” hold a new election on June 26.

On Twitter, Sanchez responded to Rajoy’s slip-up by saying that he is working for Spain to have a progressive government “while other in Brussels already talk of new elections.” He called the situation “pitiful.”

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