Acting Spanish President Pedro Sánchez kicked off his ruling Socialist party (PSOE) election campaign at the weekend, pledging that the PSOE will not form any “grand coalition” government with the conservative Partido Popular (PP) following the 10th November general election and warning against what he said is the rightward slide of PP policies under the influence of Spain’s ultra-right VOX party.
Sánchez’s comments were an obvious counter to claims by Pablo Iglesias, leader of the PSOE’s leftw-wing rival Unidas Podemos coalition, that the PSOE was moving toward a centrist coalition with the PP in order to avoid forming a post-election governing pact with Unidas Podemos and other parties to the Socialists’ political left.
The Spanish Socialist leader’s vow to steer clear of a post-election pact with the PP is a reflection of his longstanding rejection of a German-style “grand coalition”, whereby political and economic stability has been maintained through a coalition between German Chancellor Agnela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and the smaller Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The Social Democrats’ political clout shrunk dramatically during the nearly 15 years in which the coalition pact was in place.
Underscoring his commitment that there would be no pact between the PSOE and the PP following the elections, Sánchez blasted what he said is the PP’s steady rightward shift over the past year. In a clear reference to the the PP’s pacts with the far-right VOX in several regional government’s across Spain, he said that the conservative party had “linked its fortunes to the ultra-right instead of isolating it”.
The PSOE, he said, will not to deals to form a new government with any party that collaborates with the far-right in Spain, vowing that the Socialists will continue “condemning Franquismo, machismo, xenophobia and the banalization of gender violence”, all of which are emblematic of the rhetoric on which the ultra-right is campaigning in the general election.
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