January 23, 2016 / 2:02 PM / in 2 years

Spain's Socialists urge Rajoy to seek confidence vote or step aside

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Socialist Party called on Saturday for the center-right People’s Party (PP) to try and form a government first or step aside, after PP leader Mariano Rajoy on Friday said he would not seek a confidence vote in parliament for now.

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reacts during a news conference at Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The PP won a Dec. 20 ballot but like rivals fell far short of a majority, leaving it to try and thrash out alliances.

In a surprise move on Friday, Rajoy said he was not in a position to seek the confidence of the parliament for now as he lacked support from other parties, though he insisted he was still a candidate to form the country’s next government.

“We believe that Rajoy is obliged ... to present himself as the candidate to be invested (as Prime Minister) or to renounce his right to do so for good,” the Socialists Party said in a statement on its website.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Emma Pinedo

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