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the euro zone

Deal with it

We now know that Pablo Iglesias' Unidas Podemos (UP) didn't support Pedro Sánchez's Socialists (the PSOE) in Thursday's second investiture vote. The two party leaders have been trying to form a coalition government ever since April 29th's inconclusive general election, but on Wednesday evening, sources close to the PSOE revealed that the negotiations had failed. Sánchez maintains that Iglesias is too far to the left of the Socialists when it comes to economics, although it's debatable whether the difference here is as significant as he makes out. The failure of their negotiations also proves that neither politician has realised the importance of compromise in Spain's fractured political landscape.

Throughout his talks with Sánchez, Iglesias has been pushing for cabinet positions for UP members as well as control of the ministry for Work. But the PSOE leader said this week that handing crucial economic departments to his potential partner would risk alienating businesses. The Socialists are hardly "Party Number One" in this respect, though: shortly after winning April's election, Sánchez announced his intention to raise billions more per year in revenues, partly by increasing corporation tax. Podemos and the PSOE differ only in degree when it comes to how to deal with companies, which in principle should make it easier, not harder, for the two parties to form a coalition.

Not that such a partnership would go down well in Spain's business world, accustomed as it is to years of corporate-friendly conservative rule. Indeed, it's mainly to reverse Mariano Rajoy's labour market reforms - which favoured employers over employees - that Iglesias wants to control the ministry of Labour. Instead, in the latest deal presented by Sánchez, the UP was offered a deputy prime ministerial role and control of the departments of Housing and Social Economy, Health and Social Affairs and Consumer Affairs and Equality - ministries that the PSOE leader clearly isn't too concerned about.

There's also a more fundamental reason that Sánchez is unwilling to go halves with Podemos when it comes to running the country. After winning the last election, the Socialist leader promised businesses that he wouldn't allow Iglesias to destabilise the Spanish economy, just as he promised his supporters that he'd keep the right out of national office. But if he wants to govern, he can't do both. With time running out, Sánchez should look to Albert Rivera's centrist Ciudadanos - the only other party with which the Socialists would possess a parliamentary majority - to form a government. The PSOE leader is understandably concerned that such a coalition would be defined by compromise, as all coalitions are - but if he wants a second term as prime minister, he'll have to deal with imperfection. In modern Spanish politics, there's simply no other way to govern.