PEDRO Sanchez has withdrawn the offer of a coalition to the far-left United We Can (Podemos) after it blocked his attempt to be confirmed as Spanish prime minister – but his Socialist party (PSOE) may end up in bed with the conservative People’s Party (PP) as he tries to hold on to his job.

Deputy PM Carmen Calvo yesterday criticised the other three major parties in the Spanish parliament and was scathing of Podemos, which had been the PSOE’s “preferred partner”, and its leader Pablo Iglesias.

She said: “We have tried to have a coalition government and Podemos blocked it. There is no path in that direction ... Other formulas can be explored, but not the coalition.

READ MORE: Edinburgh's Scottish-Catalan Centre launches Catalan speaking lessons

“We have moved in five positions, from wanting a solo government to offering a vice-presidency and three important portfolios,

“Mr Iglesias has not wanted to talk about content. Iglesias has a record with the figure of two failed endowments that have coincided in the person of the same candidate, Pedro Sanchez.

“He will have to meditate.”

A snap general election three months ago – called after pro-Catalan independence and Basque parties refused to support his budget – left the PSOE with most votes but short of a majority, and consigned Sanchez to a limbo amid an increasingly fragmented political landscape.

The fragility of his government – during his time as acting prime minister while trying to win parliamentary backing to form a government – was demonstrated this week when he lost two votes after Podemos withheld support.

Theoretically Sanchez has until mid-September to win parliament’s backing, but failing that a new election would have to be called in November.

Calvo said Sanchez “will keep on working with the rest of political leaders so as to have a government and avoid a new election”.

READ MORE: REVEALED: Scottish MPs have been watched by Spanish spies

In an interview following his defeat on Thursday, Sanchez said he wanted to continue negotiating towards a second investiture in September with the leaders of the three main Spanish parties – PP, Citizens and Podemos.

Sanchez’s difficulties came as a new poll revealed that pro-independence parties would hold on to their majority in the Catalan parliament in an election.

The poll, from the Centre for Opinion Studies (CEO), indicated that Esquerra (the Republican Left) would win between 38 and 40 seats, with the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) garnering between 25 and 27.

While the poll suggests JxCat would lose up to nine seats, the pro-indy, far-left CUP would increase its share of the vote, rising from four seats to seven. That would leave the three pro-independence groupings holding up to 74 seats, above the 68 required for a majority in the chamber. They now have 70.