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Senior members of Spain's socialist party resign in bid to oust leader

By Julien Toyer and Blanca Rodríguez

MADRID (Reuters) - A group of senior members of Spain's socialist party offered on Wednesday a mass resignation in a bid to force party leader Pedro Sanchez out and help break the country's nine-month political deadlock, Spanish media said.

The reports in Spain's leading newspapers El Pais and El Mundo as well as Cadena Ser radio said 17 members of the 38-strong executive committee of the party had stepped down.

A source familiar with the matter had earlier told Reuters such a plan was under way but could not confirm it had already been carried out.

Given that two other members had already resigned months ago while another member died, the committee would now have less than half of its members, technically dissolving the body, ushering in an interim management and forcing a party conference to pick a new leadership in a few weeks.

Most analysts believe the move would pave the way for the socialist party to allow a minority government of the ruling conservatives, thus ending a political stalemate that started in December last year.

The socialist party was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer, Editing by Sarah White)