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Spain's Podemos hints at concessions in PM talks to avoid election

Spain's Podemos hints at concessions in PM talks to avoid election
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 -
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MADRID (Reuters) – The leader of Spain’s far-left Unidas Podemos called on Wednesday for a new round of government talks with the Socialist party of acting premier Pedro Sanchez to break a deadlock and avoid a new election.

“I again extend my hand to you,” Pablo Iglesias said during a parliamentary debate with Sanchez.

“You have made us an offer and we made a counteroffer. I suggest that based on these two offers we sit to negotiate.”

He said “the Spanish citizenry would win” from a deal on forming a government, even if neither party got exactly what it wanted.

Sanchez responded that his party wanted a deal.

“We are the last ones to want a new election,” he said. “What we want is that Spain has a strong government.”

The two parties said on Tuesday that talks, in which Podemos demanded cabinet posts in exchange for support, had reached a dead-end. If they fail to agree on forming a government by Sept. 23, a new election would be held on Nov. 10.

The Socialists want Podemos to back them without being in the cabinet, which Podemos rejects.

Spain’s politics have been in limbo since an inconclusive election in April, which the Socialists won but without enough seats to govern on their own. Opinion polls show that a new ballot would be unlikely to bring any more clarity.

A repeat election would be the fourth in four years, with Spanish parties struggling to find ways to govern the country in an era in which new parties have emerged to challenge a de facto two-party system dominated for decades by the Socialists and conservative People’s Party.

(Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez, Belen Carreno; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Peter Graff)

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