SIX in 10 residents in Catalunya believe the planned referendum is 'illegal' or 'invalid' and will not vote, according to a poll in national daily broadsheet – but regional president Carles Puigdemont...
Podemos' leader calls on 'sensible PSOE members' to break coalition talks stalemate
LEADER of left-wing independent party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has finally spoken out after negotiations with the socialists over forming a coalition hit stalemate.
The PSOE, led by Pedro Sánchez, has said it will not consider teaming up with Podemos to form a majority and oust the PP government if Podemos continues to support the idea of allowing Catalunya to hold a referendum on independence.
Iglesias has now called upon the 'sensible sectors' of the PSOE to 'explore the possibility of the PP not entering in government again', in contrast to those regional socialist leaders he considers are hindering talks.
Susana Díaz, president of Andalucía and her counterparts in Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García-Page and Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara are the main opponents of a referendum, which the socialists as a party have historically supported.
Whilst the PSOE has never agreed Catalunya should be an independent nation, its members have always defended the region's people's right to voice their opinion publicly and collectively.
Iglesias accuses them of going back on their word to please the three regional presidents who, he says, have set 'red lines' that have blocked any negotiation between the two parties.
“There are two PSOE parties,” said Iglesias, 37, who rose from obscurity to national fame after bursting onto the scene two years ago and winning five European Parliamentary seats.
“It's a shame the more sensible members are apparently not allowed to open their mouths, and Susana Díaz, Page and Vara seem to have taken over leadership from Pedro Sánchez.
“This sector [Díaz, Page and Vara] are singing from the same hymn sheet as the PP and [centre-right independents] Ciudadanos, leaving the PSOE up against a brick wall and leaning towards a mega-coalition with the PP.”
Iglesias insists that the 'more sensible sector' of the PSOE needs to 'understand that what we are faced with is a social emergency', and to accept that 'the unity of Spain' should be 'built on mutual discussion' and 'the assumption that this unity should be won through democracy and not through imposition'.
“The PSOE needs to state clearly whether it plans to allow [president and PP leader Mariano] Rajoy to govern, or whether they are willing to discuss things without the red lines imposed by certain members,” Iglesias adds.
“Of course Podemos supports Catalunya's holding a referendum, and our stance is exactly the same as that which the socialists maintained two years ago – both actively and passively, by defending different methods of agreed consultation.
“We're now left in doubt as to what the PSOE intends to do, and we shall continue to extend a hand to them so that the more sensible sectors of the party tell us which side they are on.
“Podemos' support of a referendum does not mean our party has its own red line; rather, the responsibility needed to accept factors that are going to play a part in Spain's future.”
Iglesias has outlined possible scenarios for the political future of the country's next four years – the first being the 'mega-coalition' of the PSOE and PP with Ciudadanos on board, either with each party taking an active role or the PP being allowed to govern 'by default' through the others simply making up the numbers; or with the PSOE changing its leader and 'hoping for better luck in a re-election this year'.
A 'mega-coalition' is, Iglesias points out, what German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Felipe VI of Spain, and the Ibex 35 companies most want.
He warns that if acting regional president of Catalunya, Artur Mas, manages to become leader after the re-election now due through his fellow pro-independence politicians refusing to invest him, this would lend weight to Catalunya's secession bid and create 'even more incentives' for the PSOE to agree to a 'mega-coalition' with the PP.
Podemos' leader says his party does not want to see Spain forced to hold a second election, but that they would 'go in for it with the aim and the possibility of winning'.
He proposed several key conditions for discussion with the socialists, including that they 'make it clear they will not let Rajoy return to government', and that they 'strive for open discussion between political parties' and 'lead the way' into talks 'despite those who impose red lines'.
The resulting government required is one which continues to encourage the people of Spain to take centre stage rather than its political leaders, which 'never again' allows a 'Parliament full of the privileged' to run the country 'behind the people's backs', and which gives priority to a 'law of social emergency', Iglesias concludes.
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