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REGIONAL ELECTIONS

Parties scramble to hammer out pacts in Andalusia and Asturias

Rajoy rejects notion of defeat in Andalusia Rubalcaba wants to extend possible IU link to Extremadura

With the political scenarios in Andalusia and Asturias still unclear one day after regional elections, the ruling Popular Party and opposition Socialists on Monday rushed to find coalition partners to form governments in both regions.

At the same time, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was downplaying the PP’s lukewarm results in Andalusia, where the party won the popular vote but fell short of an absolute majority by five seats. Speaking on his arrival in Seoul, where he is attending the nuclear security summit, Rajoy said he didn’t see it as an election loss. “Our party has obtained the best result ever in Andalusian elections,” he told reporters. “We won that election — elections that we have never before won.”

While the Socialists lost nine seats, it will be up to the local party boss and regional premier José Antonio Griñán to seek a pact with the United Left (IU) coalition, which doubled its number of seats, to remain in office.

Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba has given Griñán and Guillermo Fernández Vara — the secretary general in Extremadura who lost the premiership last year when IU deputies abstained from voting for him — carte blanche to negotiate with their local United Left coalitions. Rubalcaba feels confident that he can win back Extremadura, which is in control of the PP under the leadership of José Antonio Monago. “The situation in Extremadura is a peculiar one,” Rubalcaba said. “The PP are in power because of an abstention from the IU. If we can do something about it, it will be up to Guillermo to decide,”

In Asturias, the Socialists were also confident they will win the region once the vote count from abroad was received on Wednesday. That could get the party at least one additional seat.

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