Electoral alliances up in the air at all levels in Spain

Electoral alliances up in the air at all levels in Spain
Electoral alliances up in the air at all levels in Spain

MADRID/BARCELONA, June 17 (Reuters) - As Spain's Socialists seek a partner to form a national government two months after a parliamentary election, the splintering of Spanish politics is being felt right down to regional and municipal level.

The far-right Vox party on Monday suspended coalition talks with the conservatives over the Madrid region after a row over the Madrid municipality.

And the centre-right Ciudadanos, another relative newcomer, broke with its unsuccessful candidate for Barcelona mayor, who had criticised its policy of making alliances with Vox.

Meanwhile, senior Socialist Jose Luis Abalos said outgoing prime minister Pedro Sanchez would ask parliament "soon" to give him a new term, but without saying when, or with whose support.

For decades, Spain's Socialists and the conservative People's Party (PP) were able to govern alternately with stable national majorities. But years of recession and austerity and the success of anti-establishment parties elsewhere led to the rise of Vox and Ciudadanos on the right, as well as the far-left Podemos, with all the complications that entails.

"Those who want to be our partners need to fulfil agreements," Vox representative Rocio Monasterio told reporters to explain why her party had suspended talks meant to secure PP leadership of the Madrid region for the PP.

Vox was protesting against not getting any executive position in the Madrid municipality, which was the subject of a separate deal last week between the same three parties - PP, Vox and Ciudadanos.

Ciudadanos' dalliance with Vox alienated their candidate for Barcelona mayor, former French prime minister Manuel Valls, with whom they broke on Monday.

Valls, for his part, helped far-leftist Ada Colau to be re-elected mayor of Barcelona on Saturday - in a deal aimed at addressing another fracture by preventing the job going to a leader of the Catalan independence cause.

While there are tensions among the right-wing parties, it is also unclear whether left-wing parties will strike a deal to allow Sanchez to remain prime minister.

Sanchez won a parliamentary election in April but fell short of a majority, meaning he needs the support of several smaller parties to form another government.

On Monday, the leader of Podemos said negotiations with the Socialists for further pacts at regional and national level were continuing after they reached deals at the weekend to govern some cities.

"I think we are also going to achieve this (a government deal) at the national level," Pablo Iglesias told La Sexta TV.

But the Socialists' Abalos told a news conference only that Sanchez would seek confirmation by parliament "soon". (Reporting by Sam Edwards and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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