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Spain: Aspiring coalition government touts 'new deal'

Progressive program could be carried out if government is formed, something as yet out of reach since November election

Alyssa McMurtry   | 30.12.2019
Spain: Aspiring coalition government touts 'new deal'

OVIEDO, Spain

Higher taxes on the wealthy, a minimum wage hike, and an end to the so-called gag law are among the political goals that Spain’s aspiring coalition government announced on Monday.

Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Socialist Party, and Pablo Iglesias of the far-left Unidas Podemos party presented the 50-page progressive program called “A new deal for Spain” that the parties hope to carry out as Spain’s first coalition government.

On Monday, it was announced that the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) would support the progressive coalition.

However, politicians remain in negotiations with the ERC, a far-left Catalan nationalist party, whose support, which is needed to form a government, has yet to be won.

The coalition government aims to raise taxes by between two and four percentage points on the country’s wealthiest earners, or those who make over €130,000 ($145,800) per year.

The plan also aims to significantly boost the minimum wage, undo the labor reforms enacted during the financial crisis, and eliminate a controversial law passed by the conservative government said to limit freedom of speech.

“The program combines the experience of the Socialist Party with the freshness of Unidas Podemos. We must convert our nation into a reference point for feminist politics that combat climate change,” Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Unidas Podemos party, told reporters on Monday.

He has been leading the party since it was created out of the anti-austerity protest movement known as 15-M.

The coalition government hopes to pass a law on climate change that sets the target for 100% of the country’s energy to be renewable by 2050.

The plan also pushes for increased dialogue with the separatist leaders of Catalonia and new measures to promote gender equality.

Whether or not this highly progressive plan will be carried out remains to be seen.

Following the November election, Sanchez aimed to have a government formed by the end of December, but that deadline appears to be unreachable.

However, negotiations with the ERC have been progressing and a government could be announced in January.

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