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Spain's Socialists announce political deal with centrist Ciudadanos party

Nearly ten weeks after elections in Spain, the country's Socialists have announced a deal with the centrist Ciudadanos party. The political stalemate in the country is far from over, however.

On Wednesday, Spain's Socialist party announced it had struck an agreement with the centrist Ciudadanos party that would provide a boost to the Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as he seeks to collect enough votes to become prime minister.

Despite the support of Ciudadanos, Sanchez would unlikely carry enough votes to be elected prime minister.

Watch video 02:02

Spain's Rajoy declines to form government

Sanchez faces difficulties

in including one of the

two new upstart parties

- anti-austerity Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos - that came in third and fourth in the general election.

Podemos has outright rejected building a minority government with the Socialists if Sanchez also reaches out to Ciudadanos, which the leftists consider right of center.

Though it came out of December's elections with a plurality of seats, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) lost its absolute majority in the lower chamber.

Last week, Rajoy said

new elections were likely in June

.

Sanchez called this capitulation by Rajoy "pitiful" as he still believed a minority government was possible.

Rajoy's PP has rejected taking part in any government that it does not lead.

A parliamentary vote of confidence is scheduled for early March.

mz/jil (AFP, AP)

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