Spanish Socialists open door to coalition government with Podemos
Pedro Sánchez to consider "all possible scenarios" while party of Pablo Iglesias consults membership on power-sharing option
In the efforts to form a new Spanish government after winning the April 28 general election without a majority, acting president Pedro Sánchez is willing to look at "all possible scenarios," including giving cabinet places to members of leftwing ally, Podemos.
Reported by the 'eldiario.es' digital newspaper on Thursday, and backed up by sources in the Spanish Socialist Party, it seems Sánchez is considering offering Podemos members minor cabinet posts while still ruling out a role for Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias.
Citing "deep discrepancies" - Iglesias supports a self-determination referendum in Catalonia, while Sánchez refuses to discuss the issue - sources in the Socialist Party suggest that Sánchez believes allowing Iglesias into the cabinet could destabilize the executive.
Podemos sources welcomed the possibility of a leftwing coalition government as "excellent news," but warned that the Socialists would first have to remove all objections to certain candidates it might propose for potential cabinet positions.
Furthermore, Podemos says it is "absurd" that ministries should not be headed by "people who were chosen by the people in the election," and while accepting that it would be offered technical rather than political posts, insists that this "must be reflected" in the government.
Podemos to consult membership
However, before taking any further decisions, Podemos will first consult its membership to see whether they are in favor of a coalition with the Socialists. The vote began on Friday and will continue until Thursday, when the party leadership will evaluate the results.
Since Sánchez ousted the conservative People's Party from power last year with a no-confidence motion Podemos has supported the Socialists in parliament, but relations have been strained since the election, with the Socialists reluctant to share power.
Sánchez's motion also passed with the votes of the Catalan pro-independence parties, but the Socialists want to avoid repeating that formula because the price for their support this time around would be negotiations for a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.