Global Independent Analytics
Enric Ravello Barber
Enric Ravello Barber

Location: Spain

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Spanish Elections: Spain Becomes Ungovernable

The most notable results from the elections on December 20 are that the scene has changed from having two major protagonists (PP and PSOE) to four (PP, PSOE, PDEOMOS, C's):

Political stability has been the key issue since the return of democracy to Spain in 1975. Alternating governments have been formed by the right (UCD- PP) or by the socialists (PSOE) with absolute majorities in some cases, and in others with broad parliamentary groups that only needed the support of small Basque or Catalan minorities to govern with stability. If something changed in Spain following the recent elections, it is that now we have a "stable bipartisanship."

End of two party system

The most notable results from the elections on December 20 are that the scene has changed from having two major protagonists (PP and PSOE) to four (PP, PSOE, PDEOMOS, C's)

PP (conservatives) won again the elections with 28.72% of the vote gaining 123 seats. A victory that does little, as they cannot form a government with the support of C’s, the other center-right party,

PSOE (socialists) achieved its worse result since 1975, but not as badly as the polls showed: 22.01% and 90 MPs. Its biggest problem is PODEMOS that threatens to become the leading party of the Spanish left

PODEMOS[1], similar to the Greek Syriza, is critical of the presence of Spain in NATO and of the neo-liberal policies. If there is any winner in this election, it is PODEMOS, with its 20.66% and 69 seats gained.

C´s[2] (center-right liberal), is a new party just as PODEMOS. It won 13.93% and gained 40 Deputies. This is a good result for a new party but well below what they expected and what polls announced.

No way out

In this situation, there are basically two possibilities to form a government:

The possibility of the center-right coalition: the sum of PP and C's is not enough to form a government.  Such a government would require that the PSOE does not vote against the appointment of PP to lead the government but PSOE has already announced that it will not do it. So the possibility that PP could form a government is really difficult.

The possibility of a left-wing coalition: PSOE and PODEMOS haven´t the sufficient majority to form a government. In trying to form a government PODEMOS has made a condition: to authorize a referendum in Catalonia on independence with binding results, that would give them the support of Basque and Catalan minorities and a sufficient number of MPs who could vote for a PSOE-PODEMOS government. The PSOE has already announced that it firmly opposes this referendum.

Impasse in Spain and Catalonia.

The Spanish law states that the first party to try to form a new government has to be the one that received the largest number of votes and must win approval in two parliamentary sessions.  This would be PP. If it fails, the second largest party, PSOE, has one parliamentary session to get it and if it also fails, Spain will have new elections. In such new elections, the results are not expected to vary significantly from the current Parliament. A period of great instability therefore commenced in Spanish politics. The only exception is that the King can propose a different person after the first two have failed, but this has actually never happened.

The situation is further complicated, considering that so far the Catalonia regional government failed to form after the Catalan elections on 27th September.  The Catalan Parliament is the second largest Spanish State Parliament, and is also in a deep crisis of instability. In Catalonia, if there is no agreement before next January 9th there will be new elections in March. If no one is able to solve the current impasse in Spain, it may take a few months after the celebration of the latest Spanish elections’ results.   

 

[1] PODEMOS means WE CAN.

[2] Ciudadanos, lit Citizens.

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