With the clock ticking down towards a new election in Spain, parties are renewing their efforts to reach deals that will break the months-long gridlock.
After Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez failed to get voted in as prime minister at the recent investiture vote, several regional forces are waiting to see if he comes up with an acceptable proposal in return for their support.
“When we receive the PSOE’s proposal we will analyze it, but our no to Ciudadanos is categorical En Comú sources
Two groups that ran jointly with Podemos at the December 20 election – Catalonia’s En Comú Podem and Galicia’s En Marea – are open to talks with the Socialists and have underscored that they are free to vote their own way despite being part of the Podemos group in Congress.
Although the Catalan coalition will not meet bilaterally with national PSOE leaders, it has already been in touch with the party’s Catalan branch, the PSC.
And En Marea has expressed a willingness to meet directly with the federal party.
Both regional groups have also rejected the Socialists’ recent deal with reform party Ciudadanos, which they say must be dropped if Sánchez wants to make any headway with them.
“The agreement with Ciudadanos is making negotiations unfeasible,” said Alexandra Fernández, En Marea’s congressional spokeswoman.
“When we receive the PSOE’s proposal we will analyze it, but our no to Ciudadanos is categorical,” added other sources in En Comú.
The PSOE-Ciudadanos alliance only represents 130 seats in Congress – 90 for the former and 40 for the latter – far from the 176 required for an overall majority. The Canaries Coalition recently added its single seat to this group.
National Podemos leaders have asked their regional partners “not to fall into the trap” that they believe the PSOE is setting
En Comú Podem has 12 deputies and En Marea has six.
Meanwhile, national Podemos leaders addressed their regional partners on Monday to ask them “not to fall into the trap” that, in their view, the PSOE is setting for them.
The anti-austerity party has been struggling with internal division and a lack of clear leadership in Madrid. A series of resignations have underscored the growing rift between followers of party leader Pablo Iglesias and supporters of his number two aide, Iñigo Errejón.
While national Podemos leaders are expecting some kind of move by the PSOE in the coming days, they are also wary of this new strategy of seeking bilateral talks with its regional partners.
“There is only one Podemos: the one that clearly says that the policies of cuts and austerity must be a thing of the past,” reads a recent party report. “We are still advancing, and nobody should think that we are going to take a step back, no matter how much they try.”
To Podemos, this “step back” means abstaining in a new congressional vote, thus paving the way for Pedro Sánchez to become the new prime minister of Spain.
English version by Susana Urra.