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article imageSpain PM deplores Socialist rapprochement with far-left

By AFP     Jun 5, 2015 in World

Spain's prime minister lashed out Friday against the rapprochement between the main opposition Socialists and new anti-austerity party Podemos to try to oust his conservative government in several areas, calling it a "tremendous mistake".

The ruling Popular Party suffered heavy losses during regional and local elections on May 24 while Podemos made strong gains, making them kingmakers in post-electoral government negotiations ahead of a general election due in November.

Pablo Iglesias, the pony-tailed leader of Podemos, had dinner on Wednesday with the leader of the Socialists, Pedro Sanchez, fueling speculation that the two were seeking a coalition of left-wing parties that could oust the Popular Party from several of its longtime bastions including Madrid city hall.

Sanchez appears to have ruled out any sort of alliance with the Popular Party against Podemos, as some on the right have sought, claiming the new far-left party is a threat to democracy and Spain's economic recovery.

"I think it is profoundly undemocratic to build coalitions of four or five extreme-left forces," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said when asked about the possible alliance at a news conference with his Moroccan counterpart Abdelilah Benkirane.

"It seems to me deeply undemocratic and incongruent" that the Socialists take these sort of decisions, he added.

"These sort of policies only generate uncertainty and instability. It is a tremendous mistake that due to the frivolity of some, all Spaniards can pay a stiff price," Rajoy said.

Socialist parties in other European nations "reach agreements with the Popular Party not with the extremists", he added.

Rajoy's party has ruled Spain since December 2011. In local elections four years ago, it snared absolute majorities in eight regional governments, allowing it to run them without making political alliances. This time, it won no region outright.

Podemos came in third place in 12 of the 13 Spanish regions that voted last month, alongside more than 8,000 towns and cities, after campaigning hard against corruption and economic inequality in a country where one in four workers is unemployed.

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