Spain's caretaker prime minister starts talks to form govt

Spain's caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with conservative leader Pablo Casado on Monday in his first encounter with opposition politicians in efforts to form a government

MADRID -- Spain's caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with conservative leader Pablo Casado on Monday in his first encounter with opposition politicians in efforts to form a government.

Despite losing more than half its seats, Casado's conservative Popular Party was left as the leading opposition force in parliament.

Casado said after Monday's meeting at the Moncloa presidential palace in Madrid that while his party will not back Sánchez staying in office, it will remain open to agreements for future legislation regarding issues such as pensions, gender-based violence and national security.

Sánchez tweeted that the talks with Casado were "cordial" and that it "normalized the relationship" between the two rivals after a heated electoral race.

On Tuesday, Sánchez will see the leader of the center-right Citizens party, Albert Rivera, and the leader of the far-left United We Can party, Pablo Iglesias.

All the stakeholders are expected to hold off on striking deals for a government until after May 26 European and local elections.