Spain’s political deadlock continues and, despite the nearing deadline to avoid repeating the 28 April general election, no clear signs of finding a way out are to be seen.
Acting Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has again rejected a coalition between his PSOE socialist party and the left-wing Podemos party led by Pablo Iglesias, thus moving Spain one step closer to ballot boxes again.
Sánchez not only needs Podemos’ support to be reinstated officially as prime minister, but also at least one Catalan pro-independence party’s abstention, and in a conference he gave on Tuesday he didn’t get any closer to this possibility either.
The Socialist head called for ‘dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish governments,’ but ruled out a referendum and made clear this had to be ‘within the constitutional framework’.
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‘No to a self-determination referendum which breaks the basis of coexistence and places societies in a cul-de-sac as we’re seeing in a certain country close to us,’ he said in an implicit reference to the UK and the Brexit referendum.
Sánchez argued that self-determination was already ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.
The affiliate group of Podemos in Catalonia, En Comú Podem, welcomed Sánchez’s willingness to talk with the Catalan government, but dismissed the acting prime minister’s proposals for greater coordination as ‘insufficient’.
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Party spokesman, Jaume Asens, called the proposals a ‘rhetorical formula’ and an ‘act of electoral marketing’, and instead suggested setting up a forum for ‘multilateral dialogue’ with all of the main social and political players involved in the Catalan conflict.
Podemos is willing to form a coalition government with Sánchez’s Socialists, despite talks between the two left-wing parties breaking down at the start of the summer. However, on Tuesday, the acting prime minister appeared to have ruled out an alliance.
Rejecting the idea of a governing coalition with Podemos as ‘not feasible’, Sánchez said he preferred Podemos to support a minority Socialist government in order to push through his progressive policy agenda.