#VIDEO: Sánchez, Iglesias agree tri-party talks with Ciudadanos, but major obstacles to coalition remain

PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez (left) walks with Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias following meeting. Photo: Luis Sevillano / El País
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• Iglesias drops Vice-President demand, won’t join gov’t with Ciudadanos •

Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist party (PSOE) and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos appeared to break a logjam Wednesday in talks aimed at forming a coalition government, with Sanchez welcoming Podemos’ agreement to negotiate with centre-right party Ciudadanos and withdrawal of Iglesias’ demand to be named first Vice-President — a welcome tempered by Sánchez’ acknowledgement that reaching a final accord remains difficult, if not nearly impossible.

In exchange for Podemos’ concessions, Iglesias said his party wants to negotiate on the basis of the general election campaign programmes of PSOE and Podemos, the latter presumably to include Podemos’ campaign call for an independence referendum in Catalonia, which remains anathema for PSOE and Ciudadanos; the 200-point PSOE-Ciudadanos accord reached prior to Sánchez failed investiture vote in early March and rejected at the time by Podemos remains the preferred basis of negotiations for both PSOE and Ciudadanos.

Despite Sánchez’ hopes to cobble together a tripartite PSOE-Ciudadanos-Podemos coalition, Iglesias made clear that Podemos is only interested in securing Ciudadanos’ abstention in Congressional voting to enable a PSOE-Podemos leftwing government devoid of Ciudadanos participation; likewise, Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera said his party will not join a government with Podemos and will participate in three-way negotiations in the hope of reaching sufficient consensus on programme points to convince Podemos to abstain and enable PSOE and Ciudadanos to form the next government.

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

► Read More in English at El País and The Local …

► #VIDEO: Pedro Sánchez press conference following meeting with Iglesias [in Spanish]

► #VIDEO: Pablo Iglesias press conference following meeting with Sánchez [in Spanish]

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