Rajoy Steps Down as Party Leader. Here Are His Possible Successors

Then-Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría of Spain gives a news conference in Madrid, October 13, 2017
Then-Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría of Spain gives a news conference in Madrid, October 13, 2017 (La Moncloa)

Mariano Rajoy has stepped down as leader of Spain’s center-right People’s Party.

Resignation was inevitable after Rajoy became the first prime minister in Spanish democratic history to be removed from office last week. The opposition Socialists cobbled together a majority consisting of left-wing and regionalist parties to end the conservative’s six-and-a-half year tenure. Read more

Spain Isn’t Italy

The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011
The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011 (Wendy Rauw)

Given the timing over the political turmoil in Italy and Spain, it’s tempting to lump the two together and see one big threat to Europe’s political stability emanating from the south. (One example here.)

That’s not the wrong interpretation for Italy. The new government, of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League, really is opposed to EU principles of liberal democracy and shared sovereignty.

In Spain, though, the change in government could work out in Europe’s favor, as I explain in my latest contribution to the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Read more

Five Star, League Reach Deal to Form Government in Italy After All

Luigi Di Maio, the leader of Italy's Five Star Movement, answers questions from reporters in Rome, April 12
Luigi Di Maio, the leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement, answers questions from reporters in Rome, April 12 (Presidenza della Repubblica)

The leaders of Italy’s Five Star Movement and League have reached a deal to stave off early elections.

Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini still want Giuseppe Conte, an academic, as prime minister. But they are willing to relent on the selection of finance minister.

Paolo Savona, whose nomination sparked a constitutional crisis, would still join the cabinet, but as European affairs — not finance — minister. That post would go to Giovanni Tria, an economics lecturer. Read more

Spain’s Rajoy Forced Out, Sánchez Elected Prime Minister

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has lost a confidence vote in parliament in the wake of a corruption scandal in his conservative party.
  • The Socialist Party’s Pedro Sánchez takes his place with the support of far-left and regionalist parties. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Confidence Vote in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Spanish lawmakers are debating whether or not to remove Mariano Rajoy as prime minister. A no-confidence motion introduced by the opposition Socialist Party is due to be voted on tomorrow.

Here is everything you need to know about the vote, including its chances of success. Read more

Catalans Again Compromise. Will Spain Too?

Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region's president, May 14
Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region’s president, May 14 (Miguel González de la Fuente)

Catalonia’s separatists have again compromised, withdrawing four proposed regional ministers who were unacceptable to Spain.

The question now is: will Spain restore autonomy? Or will it find yet another reason to maintain direct rule? Read more

Italy in Crisis After President Blocks Anti-EU Government

Italian president Sergio Mattarella delivers a news conference in Rome, April 5
Italian president Sergio Mattarella delivers a news conference in Rome, April 5 (Presidenza della Repubblica)
  • Italian president Sergio Mattarella has blocked a government of the Euroskeptic Five Star Movement and League by vetoing its candidate for finance minister.
  • A technocratic government, led by Carlo Cottarelli, is due to take power until new elections can be held. Read more