► Pedro Sánchez & Pablo Iglesias met for two hours Tuesday afternoon
► Parties form negotiating teams, first task to agree Congress ‘Mesa Directiva’
Leaders of the incumbent Socialist party (PSOE) and its left-wing rival Unidas Podemos (UP) have agreed to tentative negotiations toward forming the country’s next government, following 28th April national elections won by the PSOE with 28.68 percent of the vote and 123 seats in Spain’s 350-member Congress.
Although the largest vote share among parties competing in the election, the PSOE’s total number of seats fall short of the absolute 176-seat majority in Spain’s lower house of parliament needed to form a government.
President Pedro Sánchez and Podemos’ general secretary Pablo Iglesias met for more than two hours on Tuesday to discuss possible road maps to formation of a progressive government, after which Iglesias told reporters simply that the two leaders had agreed their parties should work together: “If there is anything that we’ve agreed upon, it is that we’re going work toward reaching an agreement”.
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To form a government, Sánchez’s party will need the 42 seats won by Unidas Podemos on 28th April, along with 11 additional votes from smaller parties represented in Congress. Unidas Podemos suffered a loss of 29 seats in Congress in the recent election, falling from 71 seats in the last session of Congress to just 42 in the next session of the legislature.
How a PSOE-UP agreement might work appears to be still far from clear. Iglesias and other Unidas Podemos leaders having insisted since election night that the party should have a definite role and possibly ministerial posts in a coalition government.
Socialist spokespersons have reiterated that the incumbent party is not interested in a coalition government, but would seek a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the smaller party, whereby Unidas Podemos would agree to invest Sanchez as Spain’s next president in exchange for joint programmatic agreements in specific policy areas.
The two parties revealed Wednesday that negotiations to move forward would be led by the PSOE’s congressional spokesperson Adriana Lastra and UP’s spokesperson in Congress, Irene Montero.
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