As the process of forming local and autonomous governments continues in the aftermath of Spain's May 26th elections, the right-wing Ciudadanos (Cs) party has been involved in contrasting political moves in Madrid - where the party has now opened the way for an agreement with the far-right Vox - and Barcelona, where the efforts to keep pro-independence Ernest Maragall out of the mayoralty have led Cs-backed Manuel Valls to announce he will offer his support to the left-wing incumbent, Ada Colau.
In the contest to control Madrid's autonomous regional government, Ciudadanos has lifted the veto on the extremists Vox after two weeks without contact. The leaders of the two groups, Rocío Monasterio (Vox) and Ignacio Aguado (Cs) met this Sunday to negotiate possible agreements to ensure that the presidency does not fall into the hands of the socialist PSOE.
Monasterio and Aguado have confirmed that today they held an initial meeting to establish contact between the two candidates, without giving more details on what was discussed. If Vox does not add its votes to those of the Partido Popular (PP) and Cs to form an absolute majority of the three parties of the right, the presidency of the Madrid community would fall to the PSOE by a simple majority. However, in the two weeks since the May 26th election, Ciudadanos has refused to sit down for talks with Vox, at least in public. The PP has been pressuring strongly for Cs to find "points in common" with the extremists, but until today Aguado had rejected the idea.
For her part, Monasterio has expressed confidence that the three forces will reach an understanding. "In a negotiation, all three parties have to give ground, but the first thing to do is talk," she said.
Valls, with Colau
Meanwhile, in the Catalan capital, the Cs-backed candidate Manuel Valls could support a municipal government led by Ada Colau's Barcelona en Comú. Colau has said she "will not get involved in agreements or pacts with Valls or Ciudadanos" but despite this, has not ruled out or rejected that she could be voted in as mayor due to the votes of the Valls campaign. "The positions that Mr Valls takes are Mr Valls's responsibility," was Colau's comment on the matter on Saturday.
But Cs' support to the Commons is not without controversy. This week, the Ciudadanos spokesman in the Catalan parliament, Lorena Roldán, rejected the situation, declaring her opposition to voting for Colau in the council vote to select the new mayor.
In fact, a likely outcome is that Cs will split its vote, with three votes for Colau and three against. The Valls candidature for the Catalan capital's mayoralty, Barcelona pel Canvi-Cs, obtained 6 councillors in the election, three who are members of the Ciudadanos party along with three independents, including Valls himself. The former French prime minister has already said that he would vote in favour of Ada Colau. The three Cs councillors are set to vote against the incumbent mayor, but this would not block the Valls initiative, since three Valls independent votes in favour of Colau, added to those of the Socialists (8) and the Commons (10), would provide the required absolute majority on council of 21 seats.