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Podemos deputies to be moved from “nosebleed section” of Congress

Presiding committee backs proposal to bring anti-austerity party down from top rows

Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos has been allocated a new spot inside Congress after complaining about being sent to “the nosebleed section” of the chamber in late January.

The presiding committee, the body that regulates internal organization of the lower house, on Tuesday agreed to move Podemos deputies down from the upper left rows. Some of them will now be seated just behind the members of government.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the PP has agreed to meet Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez on Friday

The change received backing from all other groups in Congress.

The original decision to send the 69 members of Podemos to the upper rows was taken by committee representatives belonging to the Popular Party (PP), Socialist Party (PSOE) and Ciudadanos on January 26.

Before that, at the constituent session of Congress on January 13, the Podemos delegation had walked in early and taken up the front rows. Their removal to the back had triggered a loud protest by party leaders. Iñigo Errejón, the number two official, called it “an arbitrary action.”

The original seating plan showing Podemos (purple) in the top rows.

Meanwhile, the negotiations to form a functioning government following the inconclusive December 20 election continue.

Following a flurry of cross-party talks that have so far failed to produce a strong alliance, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the PP has agreed to meet Socialist chief Pedro Sánchez on Friday as the latter continues his negotiations with party leaders.

PP sources said the meeting would take place at 5pm inside Congress on Friday.

Socialist sources said their leader is upset at the fact that Rajoy is meeting with emerging party Ciudadanos first, considering that Sánchez is the candidate who has been tasked by the king to create a working government.

Although the PP won the most seats at the election, it was not enough for a congressional majority, and so far Rajoy is refusing to stand for reinstatement.

Now, the runner-up Sánchez is trying to build enough cross-party consensus to ensure he gets voted into the prime minister’s office in late February or early March.

English version by Susana Urra.

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