Interview: Political will, dialogue fundamental for coalition government to survive

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BARCELONA, Spain, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Strong political will and dialogue between the central and regional governments are fundamental for Spain's new coalition government to stand, a professor of political science at the University of Barcelona told Xinhua recently.

"The first challenge this government has is to maintain and ensure its own internal cohesion," Eva Anduiza said. The second is to resolve the territorial issue with Catalonia, "which is no less important than the first," she added.

The new coalition government between the Socialist Party and the far-left Unidas Podemos is Spain's first coalition government in its modern history after Spanish parliament confirmed Pedro Sanchez as prime minister, who won a tight second investiture vote with 167 votes in his favor, 165 against and 18 abstentions on Jan. 7.

According to experts, this new government is bound to face challenges due to years of polarization the country has been experiencing and a lack of practice in coalition governments.

Anduiza said Spain's major divisions lie in socio-economic differences and territorial divisions that have caused an economic and regional crisis in the country, allowing for new parties like far-right Vox, leftist Unidas Podemos and liberal Ciudadanos to emerge and polarize the country further.

The professor said this government has to keep open dialogue between the central and regional governments, especially with Catalonia, to at least stop the escalation of the crisis, which "probably won't be resolved in this legislature, but can be prevented from getting worse."

Anduiza said that "if a political will exists, it can allow for progress in the resolution of the conflict, but the fundamental key is political will."

During the announcement of his new cabinet of ministers on Sunday, Sanchez promised that his government would be a progressive one with "social, territorial and generational dialogue," to ensure the co-existence between different regions.

Besides, the economic orientation of Sanchez's government is also important to maintaining Spain's economic stance in the European Union and helping resolve regional issues, Anduiza said.

"There is a whole range of impacts that depend on the government's ability to move budgets forward," she said. "If the central government does not approve budgets, the regional governments cannot approve their own budgets either, and they are the ones that pay a large part of the social expenditure."

Nadia Calvino, Spanish vice president and economy minister appointed by Sanchez, is "a guarantee of budgetary stability," said Anduiza.

The cabinet of the new coalition government was sworn in on Monday before Spanish King Felipe VI at a ceremony at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. New ministers were also handed over their portfolios from former ones. Enditem

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