Podemos bases approve Castilla-LM coalition with PSOE

PSOE's Emiliano García-Page (L) with Podemos regional leader José García Molina. Photo: Ismael Herrero/EFE via El Mundo
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• Podemos members vote 78-22% in favor of entering coalition with Socialists
• Anti-austerity party expected to hold 2 cabinet seats, control social spending

The rank-and-file membership of Podemos (We Can) in Castilla-La Mancha has overwhelmingly approved the leftwing party’s decision to join a governing coalition with the Socialist party (PSOE), offered by regional President Emiliano García-Page earlier in the month in order to secure a budget approval and move forward in governing the region.

Podemos announced Tuesday the results of voting by party members in Castilla-La Mancha, with 78 percent of the 3,562 participating members casting ballots in favor of the regional party leadership’s decision to enter into a government coalition with the Socialists.. Only 22 percent voted against the regional power-sharing deal, which is the first of its kind for Podemos anywhere in Spain.

As part of the coalition accord, Podemos is expected to be granted two cabinet posts in the Castilla-La Mancha government, including a vice-presidency and possible control over social spending in the region. Podemos was launched in early 2014 on the coattails of an anti-austerity protest movement spurred by government spending cuts implemented during the 2011-2015 conservative Partido Popular (PP) government of President Mariano Rajoy.

Podemos had previously supported the governing Socialists in the Castilla-La Mancha regional parliament on a confidence-and-supply basis, but relations began to sour in September 2016 when García-Page joined a movement of regional Socialist powerbrokers seeking to oust Socialist secretary general Pedro Sánchez, with whom Podemos was negotiating a governing pact an ultimately unsuccessful governing pact at the national level. In April, Podemos triggered a crisis in the Castilla-La Mancha government, formally withdrawing its backing of García-Page over cuts to social spending that Podemos said it could not support.

After García-Page offered the regional power-sharing deal to Podemos earlier this month, Podemos leadership agreed to the deal but said they would first have to confirm participation in the regional government via consultation with the party rank-and-file members.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, El Mundo and El Periódico …

► Read Background in English at The Spain Report …

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