FOLLOWING a whistle stop visit to Lisbon on January 7 to meet the Portuguese socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa, himself the leader of a coalition government whose party did not receive the largest number of votes, Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez, gave a brief press conference saying that, “If the Popular Party fails to form a government, the Spanish Socialist Party will be responsible and it will call together all of the forces of progress to bring about the changes that our country needs”.
He repeated his rejection of Mariano Rajoy and the idea of an establishment coalition with the Popular Party: “We will vote no to the appointment of Rajoy and any other PP candidate. We will say ‘yes’ to a progressive government”.
Mr. Sánchez said his idea was to form a “grand progressive coalition” in Spain, and that “we will come together on ideas, not on party names”.
A left-wing coalition led by the PSOE would require the support of Podemos and at least one regional nationalist group to make up the 176 seats required for an overall majority in the Spanish Congress, but the PSOE and Podemos are opposed over the idea of a referendum on Catalan independence and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has recently criticised the PSOE leader for changing his mind about the referendum.
If this basic difference between the two leaders and their parties cannot be overcome, then there is very little likelihood of an alliance and a new election will be inevitable, which could even lead to an increase in Podemos support.