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PP rejects debates with S?nchez as little time left to form left-wing pact

Spain’s Popular Party (PP/EPP) refused to hold a series of debates proposed by acting Prime Minister and Socialist leader Pedro S?nchez as little time remains to form a left-wing alliance to counter a possible alliance on the right before the general election on 23 July.

At a conference in Madrid, S?nchez proposed that he and PP leader Alberto N??ez Feij?o hold a weekly debate until the general election, but PP rejected the idea, as did the candidate of the new progressive platform Sumar, Labour Minister Yolanda D?az.

PP’s campaign spokesman, Borja S?mper, claimed that S?nchez’s idea is an “eccentricity”, to which the PSOE leader responded that debating “is not an eccentricity, but a democratic obligation”.

“S?nchez is more comfortable on a television set than in the street”, said S?mper, rejecting the notion that Sanchez’s “anxiety” is what sets the pace of the election campaign.

D?az claimed that the “face-to-face” debates are “out of touch with reality” and represent the “old bipartisanship”.

D?az is in a race against time to try to reach an agreement with Unidas Podemos (EU Left). The aim is to form a left-wing bloc that can support the PSOE in case S?nchez needs them to form a new coalition government in the face of the “spectre” of a government between the PP and the far-right VOX party.

The legal deadline for reaching an agreement is Friday, and time is running out.

The clashes of accusations heard on Monday between the PSOE and the PP are a new example of the great tension in the Spanish political arena when the electoral campaign for 23 July has not even officially begun.

The tense and harsh tone seems to indicate that the next two months will be very bitter, with no ‘fair play’: criticism and reproaches between the PP and the PSOE are expected to be almost constant.

Nervousness is tangible in the PSOE after the heavy defeat in the municipal and regional elections of 28 May. The polls are not very favourable to the left.

In the meantime, the Spanish media continues to analyse the reasons for its heavy defeat.

In a debate on RNE on Monday, an analyst asked why PSOE was so severely punished in the ballot box when the government’s economic record is generally positive. The answers are manifold, and many point to the pacts with pro-independence Catalan and Basque parties, among other reasons.

Encouraging poll for the left camp

According to a new survey by the polling company 40dB, the general elections would be won by PP though a Podemos-Sumar agreement would not allow it to govern.

The 40dB poll for El Pa?s and private radio station Cadena SER, with a sample of 800 interviews, was carried out between 31 May and 1 June, after the regional and municipal elections, and using both scenarios: that of a union of the left and that of the fragmentation of the left, El Pa?s reported.

However, if Sumar and Podemos run separately, the PP and Vox would have 177 seats, one more than the absolute majority in the Spanish parliament, while the PSOE would have 111, Sumar 22 and Podemos three.

S?nchez could be sworn in by a simple majority in the second ballot by gathering the support of at least another 23 MPs, according to the poll.

(Fernando Heller EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

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