Spain's anti-austerity Podemos proposes forming govt with Socialists

22nd January 2016, Comments 0 comments

The leader of Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, on Friday proposed forming a government with the Socialists, making a left-wing governing alliance more likely after last month's inconclusive election.

Iglesias told a news conference he had informed King Felipe VI of "our desire to form a government of change with the Socialists and the United Left" and that he would seek the post of deputy prime minister.

Podemos, which came third in a general election on December 20, had up until now not said if they would agree forming a government with the Socialists.

Last month's general election produced a hung parliament in which a ruling majority cannot easily be formed.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won the most seats, 119, but fell well short of an absolute majority in the 350-seat parliament.

Rajoy has called for a "grand coalition" of the PP, the Socialists who came in second place winning 89 seats, and new centre-right party Ciudadanos which took 40 seats.

But he has so far won implicit support only from Ciudadanos.

The Socialists have rejected the PP's advances and wants left-wing alliance of "progressive forces" that includes new anti-austerity party Podemos and its allies who have 65 seats along with the United Left with two seats.

Iglesias said a left-wing government would adopt measures within the first 100 days to prevent evictions of homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages and do more to help the long-term unemployed whose benefits have run out.

He also said a left-wing government would honour Spain's debt but would "reduce the deficit at a slower rhythm".

© 2016 AFP

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