A THREE-WAY meeting between the Socialist Party (PSOE), Ciudadanos and Podemos, aimed at breaking Spain’s political deadlock, has ended in failure. Before the get-together on Thursday April 7 there was hope that the three parties would be able to work towards building an alliance, but this now seems impossible.
The Podemos delegation, which has repeatedly stated that it will not consider forming a government with Ciudadanos, provided a list of demands that they apparently knew would not be accepted by the others.
Their proposals included a massive hike in public spending, despite the recent news that the next Spanish government will need to make further cuts having missed its EU deficit target. The anti-austerity party also favour Catalonia’s right to a referendum for self-rule, a non-negotiable issue for the PSOE and Cuidadanos, both of whom support national unity.
Podemos also insist on forming part of the next Cabinet alongside the PSOE and “independent consensus figures”, which are not thought to include Ciudadanos.
At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, PSOE spokesman Antonio Hernando indicated that it had served only to allow party members to confirm that their positions are incompatible. Ciudadanos spokesman Jose Manuel Villegas added: “The outlook is that there will be no agreement.”
The developments would appear to strengthen the position of Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, since if no governing alliance can be formed before May 2, parliament will be dissolved and new elections held in late June. A new survey of Spanish voters has revealed that holding a fresh election would result in lower turnout and damage Podemos, which has the lowest voter loyalty among the four parties.