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Ciudadanos changes strategy and agrees to vote for Socialist chief as PM

Center-right party decides to actively support Pedro Sánchez’s bid to become Spanish leader

The leadership of center-right grouping Ciudadanos has said it will now support Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez in his bid to become prime minister next week.

The move is a major U-turn for the party that came fourth in the December 20 general election, and whose leader, Albert Rivera, has until now always insisted that he would at best abstain in the vote to install Sánchez as prime minister and would not support an administration of which he was not directly a part.

Sources within Ciudadanos have told EL PAÍS that the question of the party entering a government led by Sánchez was not discussed on Wednesday

Sources within Ciudadanos have told EL PAÍS that the question of the party entering a government led by Sánchez was not discussed at a meeting of its leadership on Wednesday morning, which approved the deal with the Socialists announced on Tuesday.

Ciudadanos has said it will now ask the Popular Party (PP), which won the most seats in the election, to abstain at next week’s investiture vote, thus allowing Sánchez to form a government.

The PP has previously said it will oppose the Socialist Party leader’s attempt to become prime minister.

Podemos, the left-leaning group that came third in the election, has also said it will not support a coalition between the Socialists and Ciudadanos.

Between them, the Socialists and Ciudadanos have 130 seats in Congress, not enough for a majority in the 350-seat house.

If no new government can be formed, Spain is scheduled to hold fresh elections on June 26.

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