Spanish Left Rules Out Keeping Rajoy in Power

Spain’s two largest left-wing parties reject another conservative-led government.

Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias gives a speech in Valencia, January 25
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias gives a speech in Valencia, January 25 (Raimon PS)

Spain’s two largest left-wing parties on Monday said they would not support another conservative administration led Mariano Rajoy, complicating the formation of a coalition government in a country that has only seen one-party rule since democracy was restored.

Rajoy’s People’s Party won the most seats in an election on Sunday but lost its overall majority.

Ruled out

The Socialists, who came in second and have alternated in power with the right since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, said they would not go into coalition with the outgoing prime minister.

Such an alliance would have been the only one that could easily secure a majority in the new parliament.

The far-left Podemos, an anti-establishment party that has become Spain’s third largest, similarly ruled out a pact. Leader Pablo Iglesias told reporters he would not permit another People’s Party government, “either actively or passively.”

Chaos

The liberal Ciudadanos, the fourth party, suggested that the People’s Party should form a minority government, arguing that a coalition of various leftist and regional parties would be unstable.

“Spain cannot allow itself to be Greece,” party leader Albert Rivera said. “Spain cannot allow itself to be a chaotic country.”

But an informal alliance between the conservatives and the Ciudadanos — who share a pro-business platform — would be thirteen seats short of a majority, leaving it at the mercy of small parties, including Basque and Catalan nationalists.

Ciudadanos, originally a Catalan party, may be more sympathetic to the northern region’s demands. Rajoy, by contrast, has refused to even negotiate more autonomy.