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Spain's Ciudadanos party says wants government with conservatives, socialists

Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera gestures upon arriving at a news conference at the party's headquarters in Madrid, Spain, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s liberal party Ciudadanos (“Citizens”) on Thursday said it was ready to take part in a three-way government with the conservatives and the socialists in a bid to unblock Spain’s seven-month political stalemate.

The party’s leader, Albert Rivera, who met the king on Thursday, said conservative caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should step aside if needed to make a deal possible.

Rivera also said that an alternative solution if a three-way agreement could not found would be for other parties to abstain to allow a minority government of Rajoy’s People’s Party.

“There are two options: a strong government built on consensus or a minority government of the party with the most votes,” Rivera told journalists.

Ciudadanos finished fourth in a June 26 general election, which like a previous ballot held in December produced a hung parliament.

Reporting by Julien Toyer and Carlos Ruano; Editing by Sarah White