MADRID (Reuters) – The main contenders in Spain’s parliamentary election traded verbal blows over jobs and national identity on Tuesday, as Socialist frontrunner Pedro Sanchez said he had no plans to include center-right Ciudadanos in any governing alliance.
A day after an inconclusive first televised debate, the leaders of the four main parties represented appeared to step up efforts to grab extra votes ahead of Sunday’s ballot – and tempers frayed.
Election - Country - Decades - Party - Close
The election is the country’s most divisive in decades and, with no single party close to winning a parliamentary majority, its outcome is uncertain. Polls have showed that up to four in 10 voters have yet to decide whom to cast their ballot for.
Outgoing Prime Minister Sanchez looks best placed to form a government if his Socialist Party wins the around 30 percent of the vote that surveys have suggested.
Party - Majority - Tuesday - Option
But he would need to team up with one or more other party to form a parliamentary majority, and on Tuesday he distanced himself from one option.
“Entering an alliance with a party that has put cordon sanitaire around the Socialist Party is not part of my plans,” he said in reference to Ciudadanos at the start of the debate.
Ciudadanos - Coalition - Sanchez - Leader - Albert
Ciudadanos has previously said it will not join any coalition led by Sanchez, and its leader Albert Rivera – together with Conservative Partido Popular’s (PP) Pablo Casado – renewed the two-pronged attack they had directed at the prime minister on Monday.
The economy made a late appearance as an election topic in a wide-ranging and at times chaotic debate that also took in immigration, housing and gender equality.
Monday - Issues - Catalonia - Region - Independence
But as on Monday, one of the most emotive issues remained Catalonia and the region’s botched 2017 independence bid, which came close to triggering a constitutional crisis.
Casado called Sanchez “the favorite candidate of the enemies of Spain” and...
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