Talks aimed at the formation of a Spanish coalition government are currently underway in Waterloo, Belgium, multiple reports have claimed. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


Spain’s fate may be decided in Waterloo


Talks aimed at the formation of a Spanish coalition government are currently underway in Waterloo, Belgium.

The strange location is reportedly down to the fact that the country’s July 23 elections have made a kingmaker out of a man who is currently in self-imposed exile: Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont.

According to a report by El País, representatives from the left-wing Sumar party have started discussions with Puigdemont and his Junts party in Belgium.

Sumar is aiming to help create a grand left-wing coalition to rule Spain, which would operate under the leadership of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and its incumbent Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.

Such a task requires at least the tacit support of the right-leaning separatist party. If they refrain from voting against a grand coalition of the left, it may be able to achieve power.

Some outlets claim these negotiations have been blessed by Sánchez himself, who is said to believe that Puigdemont could help him stay in office despite his party’s election losses.

Sumar’s leadership has reportedly tasked a former Catalan national congressman, Jaume Asens, with getting the negotiations started.

The former official has “good relations” with the Catalan separatist, something the Spanish left seems to be banking on to get a deal on the table.

“Asens has demonstrated his capacity to find consensus,” Sumar said regarding the decision, adding that his knowledge of local politics “will make it easier to reach an agreement”.

Sumar has been keen to push the talks, arguing that a failure to make a deal could risk “giving the Partido Popular (PP) and Vox parties a second chance with a new general election” after the two right-wing groups failed to amass enough seats to govern the country.

Such a result has left Sánchez with an outside shot at staying in office, despite the fact his PSOE has fallen behind PP in seats.

The cost of getting Puigdemont to agree to such a neutrality clause could end up being quite large, with the separatist likely to demand amnesty for himself and other separatist figures, who are currently the subject of criminal proceedings in Spain over their activism.

He will also likely demand Spain pardons the €70 billion in debt Catalonia owes the country.