Spanish Socialist Leader Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday there were too many disagreements with far-left Unidas Podemos to form a coalition government but offered an option that would see the parties agree on policies and give non-cabinet positions to Podemos.
However, Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said that a coalition government was the only option.
Sanchez, acting prime minister since an inconclusive election in April, said repeatedly in a speech that he was rejecting Podemos’ demand for a coalition government, but proposed the alternative deal.
The Socialists won April’s vote but failed to win enough seats to govern without the support of other parties. Pressure is building for a deal to be reached on a government — if no agreement is reached by Sept. 23, a repeat election will be held on November 10.
“While today the conditions to become government partners are not met, that’s no reason to be enemies. It’s possible to be loyal allies as we’ve been in the past,” Sanchez told Socialist party members, unions and NGOs in the speech.
Podemos backed the previous Socialist government last year without being part of it.
In a hard-hitting speech, Sanchez insisted a coalition government would not work and talked about the mistrust between the two parties, showing how hard it will be to reach any potential deal.
Iglesias said just before Sanchez’s speech that his party wanted to share power with the Socialists.
After the speech he tweeted: “Politics cannot be based on trust, but on guarantees. A coalition government is the only guarantee to carry out the policies that can change people’s lives. That is what is at stake.”
A government source said that Sanchez’s offer could go as far as offering vice-ministerial positions to Podemos or high-level positions in public companies.
Sanchez also offered to set up independent mechanisms to ensure any deal with Podemos on policies was respected.