MADRID (Reuters) - Prolonged political paralysis in Spain’s pivotal southern region of Andalusia after inconclusive elections in March ended on Tuesday when the mainstream Socialist party formed an alliance with market-friendly newcomer Ciudadanos.
The move marks the first major regional pact between one of Spain’s two establishment parties and new groups that have arisen to appeal to a public jaded by a long-running recession and string of corruption scandals.
The split of the Andalusia vote was echoed on May 24 in local elections, cooling enthusiasm for Spain’s economic recovery as investors contemplate an uncertain outcome in the November general election.
Tuesday’s coalition pact means the leader of the Andalusian Socialists, Susana Diaz, will be sworn in as president of the populous agricultural region on Thursday, nearly three months after she failed to win an absolute majority .
“The agreement reached with Ciudadanos is based on three pillars: employment, social cohesion and political regeneration,” Socialist spokesman Juan Cornejo told a news conference after the pact was signed.
Ciudadanos, led by 35-year-old Albert Rivera, demanded the Socialists agree to conditions such as fighting against corruption after a series of graft scandals involving senior Socialist politicians in the region.
Rivera’s party is also in coalition talks with Spain’s ruling conservative People’s Party in the region of Madrid after a May 24 election that left the PP unable to form a government without help.
Ciudadanos’s ability to team up with both the left and the right of the political spectrum has underlined its agility and strengthened its role of kingmaker compared to leftist Podemos, which is often compared to Greece’s Syriza.
Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Mark Heinrich