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Election looms in Spain as Socialists' talks with Podemos stall

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By Reuters
Election looms in Spain as Socialists' talks with Podemos stall
FILE PHOTO: Unidas Podemos' (Together We Can) leader Pablo Iglesias speaks during the investiture debate at the Parliament in Madrid, Spain, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo   -   Copyright  Sergio Perez(Reuters)

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain stood on the brink of a repeat election on Tuesday after the Socialists and far-left Unidas Podemos said they had made no progress in a new round of talks aimed at striking a government deal and overcoming major differences between the two.

Spain’s politics has been in limbo since an inconclusive election in April, which the Socialists won, but without enough seats to govern on their own.

If parliament does not vote in Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister by Sept. 23, there will be a new parliamentary election on Nov. 10.

“We see no path for reaching an agreement,” Socialist negotiator Adriana Lastra said, urging Podemos to reconsider its demand that they be made part of a coalition government.

The Socialists want Podemos to back them without being in the cabinet, which the latter refuses. Lastra said the Socialists were willing to hold new talks, but Podemos said that came with an ultimatum.

PSOE (the Socialist Party) is not moving from its idea of having a one-party government, as if it had a full majority. If we do not accept that idea they told us there’s not going to be more meetings,” Podemos negotiator Pablo Echenique said. “For us this lead us to elections.”

The two parties have regularly been at odds as the Socialists try to put together a government, but time is now running out.

(Reporting by Belen Carreno; Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrei Khalip)