Spain's Socialists accuse far-left of blocking govt formation

8th April 2016, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Socialists accused the far-left Podemos party of scuttling the formation of a coalition government with centrist upstart Ciudadanos, increasing the likelihood of fresh elections in June.

Socialist spokesman Antonio Hernando said Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias had "closed the door on the change that millions of Spaniards hoped for," less than 24 hours after the three groups held their first coalition talks since the inconclusive December election.

He was speaking after Iglesias urged his party members to reject a government programme agreed by the Socialists and Ciudadanos when Podemos holds an internal referendum on April 14-16.

"We have noted with surprise and indignation that Iglesias never intended" to reach an agreement, Hernando added.

Negotiators from the three parties -- which have a total of 199 lawmakers in the 350-seat parliament -- met for two hours for the first time on Thursday to try to end more than three months of political stalemate.

Unless parties can agree on a power-sharing agreement by May 2, fresh polls will be called on June 26.

The December poll put an end to the traditional two-party system as voters fed up with austerity, unemployment and corruption scandals flocked to new parties, leaving a hung parliament divided among four main groupings, none of them with enough seats to govern alone.

© 2016 AFP

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