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POLITICS

Spain’s hard-left deputy PM to step down to run as Madrid leader

Pablo Iglesias, leader of the hard-left party Podemos and a deputy prime minister in Spain's ruling coalition, said Monday he was stepping down from the government to run as head of the Madrid region.

Spain's hard-left deputy PM to step down to run as Madrid leader
Photo: Pablo Blazquez/AFP/POOL

“I have informed (Prime Minister) Pedro Sanchez about my decision to leave my post in government when the campaign begins,” he said in a video message posted on social media referring to elections scheduled for May 4.

The pony-tailed former professor of political science took up his position as one of four deputy prime ministers in January 2020, leading Podemos into the government for the first time since it was formed in 2014.

His surprise announcement came a day after a regional court confirmed the snap poll, which was called last week after the collapse of the region’s ruling coalition, which groups the rightwing Popular Party (PP) and the centre-right Ciudadanos.

The decision to call early elections was taken by the PP’s Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who resigned as Madrid’s regional leader on Wednesday, breaking the coalition deal with Ciudadanos and raising questions as to whether other regional rightwing tie-ups would follow suit.

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POLITICS

Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

A summit grouping nine southern European countries that was due to take place in Alicante on Friday has been postponed because Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has continued to test positive for Covid-19, his office said Thursday.

Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

The EuroMed 9, which groups Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, was to have gathered in the southeastern city of Alicante on September 30th.

Sánchez, who was to host the summit, had on Sunday confirmed having Covid, and by Thursday he was still testing positive, his office said.

“This morning, Prime Minister Pedro S├ínchez took a diagnostic test and was still positive for Covid-19,” it said.

“As a precaution, the decision has been taken to postpone the MED-9 summit which was going to be held in Alicante tomorrow.”

It did not give a new date for the summit.

Sánchez tested positive several days after flying back from the UN General Assembly in New York.

He has since suspended much of his agenda but has continued attending events online.

Nine heads of state and government had been due to attend Friday’s summit, among them French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU council President Charles Michel were also due to attend for a summit focused on the energy crisis facing Europe as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The EuroMed group was created in 2016 to strengthen the cooperation between Mediterranean and southern EU member states.

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