“If Mr Sanchez (Socialist party chief) continues to say no, we will go to repeat elections” said Spain’s interim President Mariano Rajoy.

Rajoy has been formally attempting to form a coalition or a minority government following June elections. Partido Popular (PP), his right-wing party, obtained 137 seats out of 350 at the repeat election of June 26. It needs 176 for a majority in the lower house.

Although King Felipe VI asked Rajoy to run for the presidency as the most voted candidate at the election, the PP leader has not confirmed yet whether he will do it.

If he pursued reinstatement and failed to obtain it, there would be a run-off in which the PP would only need more yes votes than no votes. An abstention from other parties would be then sufficient to be appointed Spanish president.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez met Rajoy earlier on August 2 to discuss the deadlock. Sanchez maintained that his party would vote against a conservative-led government. However, the debate within the Socialist Party (PSOE) is ongoing. Some shadow ministers claimed that PSOE should vote for the combination which represents the “most parliamentary majority” or cast an abstention vote.

In the elections aftermath, new liberal party Ciudadanos claimed that it would not negotiate with PP unless Rajoy and some ministers were replaced by new politicians not involved in multiple cases of corruption within the party. However, Ciudadanos has adopted a more enabling approach. After meeting Pedro Sanchez, Rajoy met Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera and confirmed they “opened up a permanent communication channel” between both of them.

PSOE-Ciudadanos had come to an agreement in the previous and ever shortest legislature. 150 proposals were made as a guideline for a future government although investiture debate failed and second elections were called. Now, PP is considering of those proposals to forge an agreement with Ciudadanos. The elimination of provincial authorities (diputaciones) and specific measures for democratic regeneration to avoid corruption have not been included in the draft document.

Anti-austerity party Podemos has not got on board of negotiations as other main parties considered it “a non-constitutional party that defends the unity of Spain and equality for all Spaniards” as PP said.

One of the main points of Podemos electoral manifesto was the commitment to hold a referendum in Catalonia and face territorial debate acknowledging the national diversity within Spain.

For now, Podemos keep regular contact with PSOE. Its leaders Pablo Iglesias and Iñigo Errejón have confirmed that they try to building momentum to be ready for an alternative parliamentary majority if Rajoy is not successful with his attempt to form a conservative-led government with Ciudadanos.

– Joan Isus, Correspondent (Europe)

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