Sánchez and Iglesias agree to meet amidst renewed uncertainty over possible PSOE-Podemos agreement

PSOE's Pedro Sánchez and Podemos' Pablo Iglesias during November debate. Photos: El País
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• Unclear whether or not embattled Podemos now more willing to negotiate •

Preliminary talks toward forming a left-of-center, progressive coalition government appear to have begun again, as Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist party (PSOE) and Pablo Iglesias of anti-austerity party Podemos spoke briefly by telephone Wednesday and agreed to meet privately and without their respective negotiating teams prior to next week’s Semana Santa holiday break.

The two leaders’ tentative move toward re-opening stalled discussions comes just days after a running internal leadership crisis at Podemos that culminated with Iglesias’ sacking of the party’s regional organization coordinator, which some observers say has weakened the pro-coalition position of those aligned with party’s number-two leader, Íñigo Errejón, and strengthened the hand of hardliners pushing for an open break with the Socialists that would spur new elections.

What is likely to be the outcome of the Sánchez-Iglesias meeting appears to defy consensus among observers, however. Two Spanish dailies whose editorial pages are generally aligned with the Socialists,El País and El Periódico, have cited unnamed PSOE sources for evidence that hardliner pressure inside Podemos makes a Socialist-Podemos pact less likely, while the conservative daily ABC sees a Podemos weakened by internal battles making Iglesias more willing to enter into a pact wiith PSOE than prior to Sánchez’ failed investiture bid in early March.

► Read More in Spanish at El País and 20minutos …

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