PP gives Rajoy ‘freedom to decide’ over Ciudadanos’ anti-corruption conditions as parties plan Thursday meeting

rajoyActing president Mariano Rajoy is due to meet with Ciudadanos’ leader Albert Rivera Thursday lunchtime to discuss the latter’s six ‘non-negotiable’ conditions for supporting Rajoy’s bid to be invested as president.

Meanwhile, Rajoy’s party, the right-wing PP, has given its leader carte blanche to agree what he feels he needs to agree with Rivera.

Ciudadanos’ vice-secretary general, José Manuel Villegas, said his centre-right party had ‘always understood’ that the conditions, which concern stringent, no-nonsense anti-corruption measures including a full inquiry into how the PP is financed, would have to be put to the vote among the top-flight members of the acting government.

But he says it is ‘regrettable’ how Rajoy’s prevaricating has led to a delay of yet another week in urgently-needed negotiations in an attempt to avert a third general election in less than a year.

And although the PP has allegedly told Rajoy to do what he has to do in negotiations with Ciudadanos, Rajoy has not responded to Rivera about the six terms laid down as yet.

Rajoy, as a president, has never been known for his decisiveness or clarity, and has often been criticised for attempting to hide in the background, refusing to face the nation during conflictive moments, such as when the PP’s ex-treasurer Luis Bárcenas was remanded in custody over under-the-mattress cash bribes the party reportedly received, and which was shared out between members and partially used to fund its electoral campaign.

Rivera says tomorrow’s meeting will be with the aim of getting a firm yes or no to the six conditions, in full and with no iffs or buts, and a concrete date for Rajoy’s in-house presidential election.

If the PP boss cannot come up with both, says Rivera, negotiations will stop there unless and until he does.

Ciudadanos has not given Rajoy a time limit, but says it would ‘reconsider’ its offer of support for his presidential bid if he dragged the situation out too long, given that the parties who gained seats in the June elections have until October to form a government before Spain is called back to the polls.

“If Rajoy’s PP signs the anti-corruption pact and gives a date for the in-house presidential vote, negotiations will open from there. If not, they will be blockading Spain politically through their own corruption,” Rivera wrote on Twitter.

Left-wing PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez has reiterated his party will vote ‘no’ to Rajoy’s presidential bid, but this time around, Sánchez has made no attempt to create an alternative coalition government.

Some of the regional parties have urged Sánchez to do just that, and left-wing independents Podemos says it is willing to sit at the table with the PSOE, but the latter party remains headstrong, continuing to nurse its wounded pride after Podemos withdrew its support due to a draft pact between the PSOE and Ciudadanos earlier this year.

Published Think Spain 17 August 2016

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