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Podemos leader meets with Rajoy to confirm his party won’t lend support

Pablo Iglesias tells PM his legislature was characterized by inequality and corruption

Mariano Rajoy, Presidente del Gobierno en funciones, recibe a Pablo Iglesias, líder de Podemos en La Moncloa.
Mariano Rajoy, Presidente del Gobierno en funciones, recibe a Pablo Iglesias, líder de Podemos en La Moncloa.

After the briefest of breaks for Christmas, Spain’s political leaders were back before the cameras on Monday, as discussions continued between parties in the wake of last week’s general elections, at which no group emerged with an absolute majority.

The winner of the elections in terms of seats, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP), met with the leader of left-wing anti-austerity group Podemos on Monday. During the meeting, the pony-tailed politician laid out his party’s refusal to support a PP government.

Speaking after the 90-minute meeting, Iglesias told reporters that he had explained his reasons to Rajoy as to why he should not continue in power, including the fact that, in his opinion, the last legislature was characterized by inequality and corruption. The only possible change, he added, was the formation of an alternative government.

The Podemos said that a meeting he held with Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez on Christmas Eve was “massively disappointing”

The Podemos leader also stated that a meeting he held with Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez on Christmas Eve was “massively disappointing,” and explained that Podemos was unwilling to back down on its demand for an independence referendum in Catalonia in exchange for support in the fragmented Congress.

“I am yet to receive a response,” said Iglesias, in reference to a series of social measures that his party wants in exchange for lending its support. He called on the PSOE to take a decision on Rajoy’s investiture. “What we are seeing is that the party barons are in charge,” he said. “I believe that the PSOE should stop with the theatrics,” he added, in reference to the theory that the Socialists have already decided to support Rajoy’s investiture.

“We are open to any alternative that allows for the PP not to govern,” added the Podemos general secretary. “But for that to happen we need to talk about Spain, take a position on Law 25 [the battery of social measures aimed at dealing with home evictions, utilities being cut off for those who can’t pay their bills and subsidies for prescription medicines], end the presence of former government ministers on the boards [of big companies] and understand that the reality of the country is that only when we recognize its diversity, can we work to ensure the country remains united.”

As for the possibility of new elections, Iglesias explained that his party would “deal with that if necessary and I believe we have a strong chance of winning.”

English version by Simon Hunter.