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Spain's Socialists still hopeful of coalition deal with Podemos

Published 10/04/2016

A potential independence referendum for Catalonia could be a stumbling block
A potential independence referendum for Catalonia could be a stumbling block

Spain's Socialist Party says there is still a chance of arriving at an agreement with far-left Podemos to form a coalition government.

Socialist negotiator Antonio Hernando said there is a 70% agreement with a 20-point proposal submitted by Podemos aimed at breaking "the political logjam and enable a government".

Mr Hernando said the Socialists objected only to two points related to Podemos' commitment to allowing north-eastern Catalonia to hold a secession referendum, and its insistence on excluding business-friendly Ciudadanos from a coalition.

The Socialists reached a coalition agreement with Ciudadanos in February and the two parties could form a government with Podemos's votes, or abstentions, in the 350-seat lower house of parliament.

A new government must be in place by May 2 or another election will be held on June 26.

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From Belfast Telegraph