PEDRO Sánchez, leader of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE), has his work cut out after winning the snap election he called when pro-indy Catalan MPs blocked his budget proposals last year.

His party still does not have enough votes to form an administration and, while he said he would talk to others about a coalition, his deputy went on record as saying he would go it alone.

READ MORE: Spanish election: Catalan pro-independence parties win big

Last May, he relied on Esquerra (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) votes to help him pass a no-confidence motion to oust Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) government, which saw him become prime minister. But the deal unravelled when Sánchez refused point-blank to entertain any discussion about Catalan self-determination. There is new excitement in the indy camp after ERC and JxCat won more representation than ever before in a Spanish election.

Forming a minority administration is a tricky option is fraught with difficulties.

Passing non-consequential laws might be possible where there is agreement on its principles, but where there are significant political or ideological differences, it could become a minefield.

There are coalition choices, but they could be hard to swallow.

Sánchez’s PSOE could approach the Citizens party, but its leader Albert Rivera would have little chance of selling it to his own people after the pair traded insults in the election campaign.

For a similar reason any approach to Pablo Casado’s PP would be unlikely to win favour with its members.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Sanchez might have to consider pairing up with Unidas Podemos (Together We Can), a left-wing, anti-austerity platform, whose leader Pablo Iglesias has said he is willing to talk.

However, Podemos leans towards a self-determination referendum and Iglesias has called for the jailed Catalan leaders on trial in Madrid to be freed.

In any case the party has only 42 seats, which means Sánchez would have to turn to the ERC, JxCat and indy-supporting Basque MPs – an arrangement similar to that of the last parliament.

That could work in theory, but as Catalan President Quim Torra told me before the election, their support is conditional: “We won the elections, we are still there and we still want to talk. After 18 months we are ready again to defend the same ideas.”