Andalusia premier-elect finds support in exchange for anti-corruption pledge

Socialist Susana Díaz has reached investiture deal with emerging party Ciudadanos

Susana Díaz and Ciudadanos regional representative in Andalusia, Juan Marín.
Susana Díaz and Ciudadanos regional representative in Andalusia, Juan Marín.MARCELO DEL POZO (Reuters)

Nearly three months after winning regional elections in Andalusia, yet running into a flat refusal by the new assembly to support her investiture, the Socialist premier-elect Susana Díaz has finally found the backing she needs to win power in the region.

Emerging party Ciudadanos, which secured nine seats at the March 22 elections, has agreed to lend its votes to ensure Díaz is invested. But the deal comes with a price tag: the Socialist leader has been forced to sign a commitment to several measures that she initially resisted.

These include limited terms for premiers, lower regional income tax, and an end to the legal immunity (aforamiento) enjoyed by assembly members.

Minority governments will still have to seek vote-by-vote arrangements with other groups to get legislation passed

Ciudadanos’ list of demands also states that officials involved in corruption inquiries will be stripped of all their public positions. While no names are mentioned, this item is aimed at former Socialist premier Manuel Chaves, currently a national deputy and a target in the ERE layoff fund corruption probe, which has ensnared a number of high-profile Socialists.

Ciudadanos, which ran on a program of national democratic renewal, is also in talks with the Popular Party (PP) in the Madrid regional assembly, where it may end up supporting conservative nominee Cristina Cifuentes if she accepts similar terms. These talks began after two members of the Madrid regional government involved in the Púnica graft case announced their resignation last week to facilitate the negotiation.

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In Andalusia, the deal was clinched after the Socialists signed three documents, including an anti-corruption action plan. While no deadlines have been set, after 100 days of government Ciudadanos will demand action aimed at changing election laws, increasing transparency and acting as plaintiffs in political corruption cases being seen by the courts.

The investiture session will be held on Thursday at 6pm inside the Andalusian assembly.

Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has underscored that these alliances do not imply entering into a ruling coalition over the next four years with either the Socialists or the PP conservatives, but simply a “yes” vote at the investiture sessions. Once in power, the minority governments will have to seek vote-by-vote arrangements with other assembly groups to get regional legislation passed.

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