AS SPAIN'S north-eastern region of Catalunya seeks to break away from the mother country in the eyes of the world's media, the fact that a chunk of national territory has already 'left' Spanish soil this...
“No means no” to left-right 'mega-coalition', Sánchez tells Rajoy
SOCIALIST leader at national government level Pedro Sánchez has reiterated that his party, the PSOE, will not enter into a coalition with the PP, who led the country for four years until December 20.
Whilst acting president Mariano Rajoy (PP) says the 'most sensible' way forward would be a coalition between centre-right independent party Ciudadanos, the PSOE and the PP – since the latter holds 119 seats out of the 176 required for a majority – the PSOE refused point-blank on December 21 and has reiterated its decision again today (Monday).
The PSOE has 89 seats, Ciudadanos 40, and left-wing independents Podemos – set up just two years ago – has 69.
“No means no,” insisted Sánchez (pictured).
“The PP only wants to get the PSOE and Ciudadanos on board to make up the numbers so Rajoy can continue in power, but what the PSOE wants to do is reach an agreement with the left so as to create a progressive government and resolve the problems of the general public.
“Our party will meet its electoral pledges and, if it is what the rest of the progressive left wants, we will form a changed government in order to rebuild the welfare State.”
Podemos and the PSOE remain in deadlock, however, because the PSOE has refused to negotiate with any party which 'supports Catalunya's independence', whilst Podemos will not budge in its backing of a referendum.
“Rather than forcing Catalunya to stay in Spain, the key lies in creating the democratic environment where it would choose to do so of its own volition,” Podemos' leader, Pablo Iglesias stresses.
The independence bid has gained support in the last few years, mainly due to Rajoy's having flatly refused to enter into any type of discussion about it, or even allow a non-binding public opinion poll.
As a result, the Catalunya regional elections in September have now led to an even more pro-independence president than Artur Mas – his successor, Carles Puigdemont, is said to be the most radically pro-secession member of the reigning party in Catalunya.
Sánchez has spoken to Puigdemont and said he is willing to talk about solutions satisfactory to both Catalunya and the rest of Spain with the aim of the region remaining part of the country.
Concerning Spain's national government, the PSOE leader says he hopes the rest of the left-wing and centre parties 'stick to their pledge' so that 'very shortly' a new, progressive government would come into power.
Sánchez admits that Spain's current situation is 'very exciting' and that 'changes are in the air', having started last week when Parliament formed with a socialist member – Patxi López – as chairman, the first time in Spain's democratic history that the party with the most seats has not had a member as Parliamentary chair.
With the PSOE now leading Parliament, despite the PP having earned the highest number of MPs, the left-wing party aims to push for the schools reform and the labour reform – which has forced wages down and made it easier and cheaper for companies to sack employees – to be scrapped, a minimum guaranteed income in State benefits for the poor agreed, and the approval of a new Workers' Statute.
Sánchez said these will be first priority if his party gets into government, but with a PSOE member as Parliamentary spokesman, they will be aiming to drum up majority support for the moves in any case.
If Sánchez gets into power, his government will 'say no to job insecurity' – the majority of employment, including 95% of new jobs, are temporary contracts, some as short as two weeks long – because 'this only creates poverty and in-work poverty'.
New labour legislation would reactivate 'social interaction', improve income for the workers, eliminate wage inequality and end the proliferation of temporary job contracts, as well as restoring the right to training, healthcare and proper safety conditions for employees, says Sánchez.
He stresses that 'the majority of Spaniards' have said 'change is necessary', and that a new left-wing government would allow all its members active roles in that change – as well as being free from corruption, accusations of which have dragged down the PP's reputation over the past few years.
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