Rajoy Lays Claim to Lead Government to Give Spain Stability

  • Spain to grow 3.2% in 2015, down from 3.3% Government target
  • Rajoy met leaders of Socialists, Podemos and Ciudadanos

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he’s the best person to lead a broad-based government to guarantee Spain the stability it needs to ensure economic growth and attract investment.

While the result of Spain’s general elections will create a fragmented parliament, there is enough common ground on matters such as the need to guarantee Spain’s national sovereignty to make a People’s Party-led government possible, Rajoy said in a news conference in Madrid Tuesday. He said Spain needed to safeguard its recovery with the economy set to grow about 3.2 percent this year, less than the government’s official 3.3 percent estimate.

Spain is in the midst of multi-party negotiations to form a government after Rajoy’s People’s Party lost about a third of its parliamentary seats in elections held Dec. 20. Rajoy met leaders of the Socialists, anti-austerity party Podemos and the liberal Ciudadanos party in an initial round of conversations ahead of the first session of Spain’s new parliament slated for Jan. 13.

“The most reasonable outcome and the closest to the will of the majority of Spaniards would be form a government backed by a parliamentary wide spectrum,” said Rajoy. “A government that generates confidence in Spain and abroad and that brings stability and certainty to social and economic agents.”

The Socialists will seek to block the formation of a new government led by Rajoy and his People’s Party, leader Pedro Sanchez said Monday. His party, which placed second in the elections with 90 seats to the PP’s 123, wants to explore its options for governing Spain if Rajoy fails to build enough support in parliament.

Sanchez also said he wouldn’t negotiate with parties proposing a vote on independence for Catalonia. That complicates any contacts with Podemos, the anti-austerity party that won 69 seats in the elections on a platform that includes a pledge to push for a Catalan referendum.

Support for the PP exceeded that for the Socialists by almost 7 percentage points, an advantage that’s equivalent to about 1.7 million of votes, Rajoy said.

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