The Latest: Spain’s leader fails to create new coalition

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MADRID (AP) – The Latest on Spanish politics (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Spain’s Socialist leader says he has failed to reach a deal with the far-left rival party that is key to allowing him to form a new government.

Caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tells the lower house of Parliament on Thursday that “it has not been possible” to entice the anti-austerity United We Can party into a coalition government.

Sánchez needs more “Yes” than “No” votes on Thursday in the 350-member lower house to stay in power. His Socialists have 123 lawmakers and need the help of United We Can and other smaller parties.

The Socialists have been negotiating for a last-minute breakthrough, but Sánchez says United We Can’s demands for power in his Cabinet were too high.

A failure by Sánchez to take office Thursday would start a countdown to Sept. 23, when lawmakers have to had forged a government or face another election.

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9 a.m.

Spain’s caretaker prime minister has a second chance Thursday to win the endorsement of Parliament and form a government.

Pedro Sánchez needs more “Yes” than “No” votes from the 350-member lower house. On Tuesday, he failed to reach the more difficult threshold of a majority of all lawmakers.

His Socialists have 123 lawmakers and are struggling to strike a last-minute deal with the far-left United We Can party to forge a coalition government.

Acting vice prime minister Carmen Calvo told Cadena SER radio just hours before the vote that “it has not been possible” for her Socialists to reach an agreement United We Can.

Calvo and United We Can’s lead negotiator Pablo Echenique have said that the key stumbling block is the number of Cabinet position the Socialists are willing to cede to their would-be partners.

Even if United We Can comes on board, Sánchez would still need more help from smaller parties.

A failure by Sánchez would start a countdown to Sept. 23 for lawmakers to form a government or face another election, which would be Spain’s fourth in five years.

Sánchez could try again during that two-month period, especially given that the parties on the right cannot secure a majority by themselves.

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This story was previously corrected to show that Calvo is acting vice prime minister not acting vice president.

Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez arrives at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, July 25, 2019. Caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez faces his second chance to win the endorsement of the Spanish Parliament to form a government this week. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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