surinenglish

Talks continue between the PP and Ciudadanos over new Junta government

Who will be king? Cs's Marín and PP's Moreno in a file photo.
Who will be king? Cs's Marín and PP's Moreno in a file photo. / EFE
  • The Cs party appears to have ended its demand that its leader should be regional president and technical discussions on a pact began on Thursday

Talks got under way this week between the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and centre-right Ciudadanos (Cs) over a possible coalition to take control of the Junta de Andalucía regional government.

On Tuesday, senior national and regional members of both parties met in Seville to agree broad cooperation and on Thursday different teams sat together to look at the fine print of policies and ministerial positions. By next Monday they are expected to announce a draft agreement.

The meetings follow the recent regional election which saw the vote of the ruling PSOE Socialist party decline, leaving parties right of centre with enough regional MPs to possibly oust regional president, Susana Díaz. The PSOE party has governed in Andalucía for 36 years and both the PP and Ciudadanos have said they want to reach a deal to "deliver the change" that they believe voters have asked for.

However, at the start of the week, there were two main sticking points in the outcome of any agreement between the two parties. Firstly, which one of the two parties the new regional president would come from, and secondly, what to do about the 12 new regional MPs of far-right Vox. The surprise rise in that party, to 11 per cent of the vote, means their MPs' votes, or abstentions, are now needed to add to those of the PP and Ciudadanos in order to achieve the majority to oust the PSOE.

Ahead of Tuesday's first meeting between the two parties, Ciudadanos appeared to back down on its earlier insistence that its regional leader, Juan Marín, should be the president. They had argued that as Cs' number of MPs had jumped the most, from 9 to 21, it should be the leader of "the change".

However it now seems likely that the PP, which came second to the PSOE, will be allowed to take the lead in any coalition. "For us the [negotiating] red line is the promise to the people of Andalucía that the PSOE will not form part of a government," said Ciudadanos on Monday.

Meanwhile Susana Díaz has been rebuffed by the left-wing Adelante Andalucía group. Díaz, who has the right to try to form a government first in the investiture debate beginning on 27 December in the Andalusian parliament, was told that she would first need to get Cs' support, which is unlikely, before talking to Adelante Andalucía about any left-of-centre coalition.

In the election on 2 December for the 109-seat regional parliament, PSOE won 33 seats, the PP 26, Cs 21, Adelante Andalucía (Podemos and IU) 21 and Vox 12.