The center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) party announced on Monday that it was ruling out any negotiations with far-right party Vox to form governments. The decision was taken by the party’s executive committee today, and will mean that the group will try to do deals firstly with the conservative Popular Party (PP), and “exceptionally,” with the Socialist Party (PSOE).
“There will be no three-way talks,” said José Manuel Villegas, the party’s general secretary, during a press conference on Monday after the meeting, at which the more progressive wing of the party called for the chance of deals with the Socialists to remain on the table and for there to be limits laid down for the far right.
Ciudadanos general secretary José Manuel Villegas
After the inconclusive regional elections in Andalusia last December, a government was eventually formed by the PP and Ciudadanos, with the support of the votes from Vox (see sidebar). Thanks to more polls with no clear winners, a similar scenario has since been replicated all over Spain, with not only a general election on April 28 that saw the PSOE win but without a majority, but also at many of the May 26 regional and municipal polls. Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera had vowed not to support Pedro Sánchez’s bid to be voted back in as prime minister at an investiture vote, but it appears that the party’s position is softening with regard to doing deals with the PSOE elsewhere in Spain.
The social-liberal wing of the executive committee on Monday expressed its reticence to repeat the deal that was done in Andalusia in other parts of Spain. Such an agreement would be necessary in regions such as Madrid, Murcia and Aragón. In Castilla y León, the PP and Ciudadanos have enough seats to form a government between them.
The strategy is aimed at forcing Vox into accepting deals that the party negotiates with the PP – if the far-right group refuses, the left would be able to take power
The more centrist wing of the Ciudadanos executive committee, meanwhile, is calling for deals to be done with the PSOE. Despite their insistence, however, the party’s position has not moved significantly. The “preferential partner” for the party – which began in Catalonia as a reaction to the pro-independence movement, but soon became a national group – will still be the PP, Villegas explained, and only “where deals can’t be reached with the PP will exceptional attempts to make agreements with the PSOE.”
The party leadership also agreed today that they would “not negotiate three-way governments with Vox or Podemos,” the latter a left-wing, anti-austerity party. The strategy is aimed at forcing Vox into accepting deals that the party negotiates with the PP – if the far-right group refuses, the left would be able to take power.
Villegas added on Monday that Ciudadanos would not refuse to appear in a photo with representatives of Vox, but only at a meeting where they would be presented with the agreements reached with the PP, and not as part of a negotiation.
English version by Simon Hunter.