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Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez meets with opposition leader


Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez meets with opposition leader

Sanchez and opposition leader
Photo: EFE

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to meet with opposition leader Pablo Casado of the right-wing People’s party (PP) in Madrid today to discuss “depoliticising” Spanish politics as Spain struggles with the lasting effects of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Sanchez’s Socialist-led administration has faced mounting criticism of its response to the pandemic, with the government deferring to a decentralised regional response to the crisis amid charges of federal overreach by the PP.

Healthcare is likely to be the linchpin of negotiations. While Spain has a single-payer healthcare system, it remains far from unitary. Reluctance from regional hospitals to transfer patients elsewhere, along with disparities in case reporting, have complicated Madrid’s efforts to adequately fight COVID-19.

In the possible but unlikely case that an agreement between the opposition and Sanchez to update and reconsider the country’s existing healthcare legislation is reached, this would likely lead to a short-term lessening of political vitriol, but also would set up a considerable medium-to-long-term battle over healthcare reform. Such a fight is likely to be less over maintaining the single-payer system and more over the extent to which the national government is involved with regional policy and procedures.

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