Spain’s Socialist prime minister refused Thursday to rule out including centre-right group Ciudadanos in any governing alliance if his party wins a weekend general election.
Polls suggest the Socialists will win the most seats in Sunday’s snap polls but will lack a majority to govern on their own and will once again have to form alliances with other parties to stay in power.
“My commitment is to talk to all political parties, within democracy…democracy is not ‘vetocracy’,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during an interview with public television TVE when asked if he would be willing to govern with Ciudadanos.
Sanchez came to power in June 2018 after wining a surprise no-confidence vote against his conservative predecessor with the support of far-left party Podemos and Catalan separatists and Basque nationalist parties.
But several surveys show the Socialists and Ciudadanos could together win a majority of seats in Spain’s lower house of parliament on Sunday.
Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has ruled out an alliance, repeatedly urging voters to “oust Sanchez” because of his willingness to seek dialogue with Catalan separatist parties who attempted to break Catalonia away from Spain in 2017.
Ciudadanos has governed at the local level with both the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party (PP).
Rivara’s party allied with the PP and upstart far-right formation Vox to remove the Socialists from power in Andalusia following a regional election there in December. But before the election Ciudadanos had propped up the minority Socialist government in the southern region.
The Socialists and Ciudadanos tried and failed to form a governing alliance following an inconclusive general election in 2016.
PP leader Pablo Casado said he was “certain” that if the Socialists and Ciudadanos obtain a parliamentary majority in the weekend election they will once again try to reach an agreement to govern.
“I don’t have any doubt,” he added during an interview published Thursday in daily newspaper El Mundo.
Another post-election option for Sanchez would be to form a pact with Podemos but polls suggest the two parties together would not have a majority.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, who has called for a post-election alliance with the Socialists, told radio Cadena SER that Sanchez was not being “clear”.
He said that if the Socialists and Ciudadanos obtained a majority “there would be enormous pressure by economic powers and part of the Socialist party” for the two parties to reach an agreement.