Far-Left Voters Reject Coalition in Spain

A majority rejects a proposed coalition government led by the mainstream Socialists in a party referendum.

Podemos deputies Iñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias listen to a debate in Spain's parliament in Madrid, April 12
Podemos deputies Iñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias listen to a debate in Spain’s parliament in Madrid, April 12 (Podemos)

An overwhelming majority of Podemos supporters rejected a proposed Socialist Party-led government in Spain over the weekend.

Fewer than 150,000 Spaniards out of the five million who voted for the anti-establishment movement in December participated in an online referendum. But a convincing 88 percent sided with the party leadership to turn down the proposed coalition agreement, which would have seen Podemos throw its support behind the mainstream Socialists and the liberal Ciudadanos.

The two center-left parties are 47 seats short of a majority. Without the far left’s support, they would be unable to form a government.


Spain has been without a proper government since December when neither the Socialists nor the outgoing People’s Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy won an absolute majority.

Although Rajoy’s conservatives placed first, the other parties refused to give him a second term.

The Socialists’ Pedro Sánchez was tasked by King Felipe VI instead to find a majority, but his party is reluctant to involve Podemos in a formal coalition. Its far-left policy proposals, from nationalizing major industries to restructuring Spain’s debt, could discredit the Socialists with moderate voters.

However, the failure to form a left-wing pact could also persuade more voters to switch from the Socialists to Podemos next time.


The polls so far show little movement. If anything, it looks like Podemos is being punished for its intransigence.

If no government is formed by May 2, Spain will have to call reelections.

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