The secretary general of the Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, said on Tuesday that he was open to forming a government that counted on ministers from emerging parties Podemos and Ciudadanos. The comments, made during a radio interview on the Cadena SER network, came in the midst of the stalemate in which Spain’s politicians find themselves, after inconclusive general elections in December and the parties’ subsequent failure to reach a coalition deal.
“I am not closed off to representatives from Podemos or Ciudadanos within a cross-party government,” he said, without going into further detail as to exactly how senior these roles could be.
I am not closed off to representatives from Podemos or Ciudadanos within a cross-party government Socialist chief Pedro Sánchez
The incumbent Popular Party (PP) took most seats at the December polls, but fell well short of a majority. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was subsequently invited by King Felipe VI to try to form a government, but the conservative politician declined given his lack of support from other parties.
Sánchez was then invited by the Spanish monarch to do the same, but he failed at two investiture votes at the beginning of the month, having only secured the support of emerging center-right group Ciudadanos and falling well short of the majority needed.
Despite the flurry of cross-party talks, no coalition has emerged with enough seats to secure the required majority of 176 deputies, and the clock is ticking until new elections will have to be called if no deal is struck before May 2.
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Socialist chief Pedro Sánchez is due to meet this afternoon with Albert Rivera, the Ciudadanos leader. The latter party, however, has already ruled out any kind of coalition deal with Podemos, who, they say, are “absolutely incompatible” with their group, Juan José Mateo reports. “On no account would we be in a government in which there are Podemos ministers,” vice-secretary general José Manuel Villegas told EL PAÍS.
The Podemos deputy leader, meanwhile, Íñigo Errejón, initially called the PSOE chief’s suggestion an “advance.” We will, he said, “evaluate all the proposals that we receive.” He specified, however, that any eventual Cabinet would have to be “coherent,” and he said that it would be difficult to achieve that. “You can’t keep both happy,” he said, in reference to his own party and to Ciudadanos.
Pedro Sánchez and Podemos chief Pablo Iglesias will be meeting on Wednesday in a bid to restart negotiations that could lead to a deal to form a government. “I hope that Iglesias comes with the inclination to advance,” said Sánchez. “I am going to say to Iglesias that Spain urgently needs a new government, a change and an agreement that makes both things possible. […] I hope to find an Iglesias who genuinely wants a government in Spain.”
English version by Simon Hunter.