Spain’s political deadlock continues and, despite the nearing deadline to avoid repeating the April 28 election, no signs of finding a way out are to be seen. Acting Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, rejected again a coalition with left-wing Unidas Podemos in a political conference held on Tuesday afternoon, thus moving Spaniards one step closer to ballot boxes again.

Sánchez not only needs Unidas Podemos’ support, but also at least one pro-independence party’s abstention, and in his conference he didn’t get any closer to this possibility either. The Socialist head called for “dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish governments” but ruled out a referendum and made clear this had to be “within the constitutional framework.”

“No to a self-determination referendum which breaks the basis of coexistence and places societies in a cul-de-sac as we’re seeing in a certain country close to us,” he said in an implicit reference to the UK and the Brexit referendum. Sánchez argued that self-determination was already ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Insufficient offer

The affiliate of Unidas Podemos in Catalonia, En Comú Podem, welcomed Sánchez’s willingness to talk with the Catalan government, but dismissed the acting president’s proposals for greater coordination as “insufficient.” Party spokesman, Jaume Asens, called the proposals a “rhetorical formula” and an “act of electoral marketing,” and instead suggested setting up a forum for “multilateral dialogue” with all of the main social and political players involved in the Catalan conflict.

Unidas Podemos is willing to form a coalition government with Sánchez’s Socialists, despite talks between the two leftwing parties breaking down at the start of the summer. However, on Tuesday, the acting president appeared to have ruled out an alliance. Rejecting the idea of a governing coalition with Unidas Podemos as “not feasible,” Sánchez said he preferred Unidas Podemos to support a minority Socialist government in order to push through his progressive policy agenda.