Spain’s King Felipe VI invited acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to attempt to form a government and end the country’s prolonged political gridlock.
Parliament speaker Meritxell Batet announced the monarch’s decision in a televised statement. In a news conference, Sanchez said he’d accept Felipe’s invitation “with honor and enormous gratitude.”
In elections held last month, Sanchez’s Socialists again emerged as the biggest party in Spain’s 350-seat parliament but well short of an overall majority.
Sanchez says Spain needs a government to safeguard economic growth and press on with the progressive political agenda that he says the majority of voters want. The country has been without a majority government since 2015 and has held four elections in as many years.
After being invited to form a government, Sanchez still has time to shore up support before seeking a date for an investiture vote. Following elections in April, Felipe asked Sanchez to form a government on June 6, but the first vote in parliament didn’t take place for more than six weeks.