Spain's Socialists, short of majority, weigh partners for forming gov't
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez faces a choice between a complex alliance with fellow leftists Podemos or joining forces across the political divide with the Centre-right Ciudadanos.
The Socialists won 123 seats in April 28's election, up from 84 in the outgoing parliament as they saw off the challenge from the right, which was splintered by the rise of the far-right Vox.
With nearly all the votes counted, the Socialists together with the far-left Podemos were 11 seats short of a majority in the 350-seat parliament.
That could mean Sanchez having to rely on pro-independence Catalan parties or Basque nationalists to govern.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesais said on April 28 his party would happily enter a coalition with the Socialists, but Sanchez has yet to comment.
Another possibility that Sanchez has not ruled out is an alliance with Ciudadanos. The two parties would have enough seats to govern without other partners - an alliance favored by many in in the business and financial world.
However, a Socialist-Ciudadanos deal appeared unlikely on April 29.
Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera told supporters his party would lead the parliamentary opposition to Sanchez.
Ines Arrimadas, head of Ciudadanos in Catalonia, added on Monday: "Everyone who voted for Ciudadanos did so knowing that we would not ally with Sanchez."