Rajoy to parley with Catalan independence party

CDC/PDC's Carles Puigdemont (L) with former Catalan President Artur Mas at party congress. Photo: Joan Sánchez / El País
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• PP leader schedules discreet meeting with CDC party leader Francesc Homs
• Re-minted CDC now called Partit Demòcrata Català in image makeover attempt

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) will reportedly meet today with the Congressional leader of the Catalonia’s centre-right, pro-independence CDC party on Wednesday as part of his gambit to negotiate votes from parliamentary party that will enable him to form a new government, following an inconclusive 26th June general election that left the PP short of the number of votes needed to rule with an absolute majority.

Rajoy, whose party sharply criticized Socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez for meeting with Catalan independence parties earlier in the year in the Socialist’s attempt to form a government, will reportedly meet today with Francesc Homs, who leads the congressional delegation of the CDC party of former Catalan regional President Artur Mas, which rechristened itself in a party Congress over the weekend as the Partit Demòcrata Català (PDC, or Catalan Democratic Party).

The Catalan party’s renaming is part of an attempted makoever of the party’s public image, tarnished by several years of allegations and court cases over corruption and illegal financing that have contributed to its sharp drop during the past year in public opinion polls and in voter preference at the ballot box.

Rajoy is seeking an abstention from the Catalan party in his bid to return to the post of Prime Minister. Though party leaders agreed to the meeting, they have said publicly they cannot support Rajoy, given his rejection of the holding of a referendum on Catalan independence and his ongoing antagonism with the CDC since 2011 over issues ranging from independence to federal financing of the region’s budget.

► Read More in Spanish at El Norte de Castilla and La Vanguardia …

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