Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez leaves after a press conference at the PSOE headquarters in Madrid following his resignation as party head during an extraordinary meeting of the PSOE Federal Committee on October 1, 2016. (Photos by AFP)
The leader of Spain’s Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) has resigned in a move that may pave the way for a new government and put an end to nine months of political deadlock in the country.
Pedro Sánchez resigned on Saturday, after losing a party vote over opening up a leadership race in October. "Today, following a day of intense debates, a vote was held on whether a party conference should take place on October 23 so that the grassroots could pick their leader ... Unfortunately, I have lost this vote and I have resigned as secretary general of the party," said Sanchez after stepping down.
Sanchez had been heading a long running standoff with acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party (PP), which gained the most votes but failed to gain a majority in last two elections. The PSOE’s refusal to back the PP Party has left the country in a political deadlock for the nine months.
Supporters of Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez gather outside the PSOE headquarters in Madrid during the celebration of an extraordinary meeting of the PSOE Federal Committee, on October 1, 2016.
Following Sánchez's departure, the PSOE is now capable of finding a way to avoid a third election.
"Overall, I believe it is now more likely that Spain will not need a third general election. The mutiny against Pedro Sanchez was at least in part due to his intransigence in refusing to let Rajoy form a minority government despite it being clear that the Socialist leader could offer no credible alternative," said a political analyst at the Open Europe think tank, Vincenzo Scarpetta.
If the political deadlock continues until an October 31 deadline, the nation will face an unprecedented third election.
On Wednesday, around half of the senior members of PSOE resigned in an attempt to oust Sanchez and end the country’s political deadlock.