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Popular Party offers two deputy PM posts to Socialists and Ciudadanos

Source: El Pais - Thu 18th Feb 2016
Popular Party offers two deputy PM posts to Socialists and Ciudadanos

The Popular Party (PP), which has been struggling to find support to form a coalition government after the December general election, has offered Socialist secretary general Pedro Sánchez and the leader of Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, positions as deputy prime ministers in a broad partnership for a new government.

Interim PM Mariano Rajoy did not have a problem working with Sánchez as a deputy leader even after the Socialist chief attacked him personally during the campaign debates, said Javier Maroto, national sectorial deputy secretary for the PP on Thursday.

Maroto also said Rajoy was willing to offer a 2nd Deputy PM post to Rivera, whose party was quick to reject the offer.

Ciudadanos deputy secretary general José Manuel Villegas told EL PAÍS that its priority was to negotiate with the Socialists, whose leader is the person charged by King Felipe to try to form a government.

“Rajoy is not the candidate. There is nothing to talk about,” he said.

For his part, Socialist leader Sánchez has insisted that he will not join a government led by Rajoy. The two met briefly in Congress last week but no agreements were hammered out.

Sánchez has been holding talks with the different parties after King Felipe charged him to form a government when Rajoy told the monarch that he did not have enough support for a coalition.

The first investiture session in Congress will be held on March 2.

Rajoy has been pushing for a “grand coalition” between the Socialists and Ciudadanos after failing to win an absolute majority in the December 20 election.

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, which is now the third political force in Spain, has demanded that he serve as deputy prime minister and take over 15 ministries as part of his proposal to form a leftist coalition with Sánchez.

The Socialists have publicly rejected this offer, but Sánchez said he would meet one more time with Iglesias before the investiture session.

During a news conference, Maroto said the PP had “no problem” with the Socialists and Ciudadanos taking two deputy prime minister posts – with Rajoy at the helm – because it considered “it reasonable to share in a coalition.”

A third position of deputy PM would go to a member of the PP, he explained.

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