Socialists and Podemos Announce Coalition Deal in Spain

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)
  • Spain’s center-left Socialists and far-left Podemos have agreed to form a coalition after no party or bloc won a majority in the election on Sunday.
  • The agreement would see Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias become deputy prime minister.
  • With 155 out of 350 seats in the lower chamber of Congress, the two still need the support of other, possibly regional parties to form a government. Read more

No Party or Bloc Wins Majority in Spain

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and Pablo Iglesias
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and Pablo Iglesias (PES/PP/Vox España/Podemos)
  • Neither the left nor the right has won a majority in Spain. Catalan and other regional parties will hold the balance of power in the new Congress.
  • The only options for a majority government are a grand coalition of the center-left Socialists and center-right People’s Party, which has never been tried, or a coalition of left-wing and regional parties.
  • The Socialists remain the largest party, although they are down three seats. This will be a disappointment to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who called the election in hopes of breaking the deadlock in Congress.
  • He is expected to try to form a minority government. Read more

Give Regional Parties the Balance of Power in Spain

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12, 2018
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12, 2018 (PSOE/Eva Ercolanese)

There doesn’t seem to be market in Spain for a political party that is both liberal and pragmatic on the issue of Catalonia. Read more

Sánchez Wins in Spain But Could Need Separatists for Majority

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera and Pablo Iglesias
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera and Pablo Iglesias (PES/PP/Ciudadanos/Podemos)
  • Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez won the election on Sunday with 29 percent support for his center-left Socialist Party.
  • But his alliance with the far-left Podemos does not have a majority, forcing Sánchez to negotiate with parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia.
  • The conservative People’s Party imploded, losing half its votes to the center-right Citizens and the far-right Vox, which enters Congress for the first time. Read more

Sánchez Is the Reasonable Choice in Spain’s Election

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez arrives in Salzburg, Austria for a meeting with other European socialist party leaders, September 19, 2018
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez arrives in Salzburg, Austria for a meeting with other European socialist party leaders, September 19, 2018 (PES)

As long as Spain’s mainstream right would rather do a deal with the far right than the center-left, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ Socialists are the most reasonable choice in the country’s general election on Sunday.

Sánchez’ only possible partners are the far-left Podemos and regionalists from the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Catalonia and Valencia. Even if, as the polls predict, the Socialists expand their plurality in Congress, the next coalition government could be unwieldy.

Podemos will require concessions and its platform is full of unwise proposals, from abolishing spy agencies to nationalizing energy companies to withdrawing from international trade deals.

If the regionalists end up as kingmakers, they can be expected to leverage their position to extract more money from Madrid. The two largest parties in Catalonia insist they will only back Sánchez if he comes out in favor of a legal independence referendum. Sánchez insists he won’t.

But those complications are preferable to the alternative: a hard-right government that would need the Franco apologists in Vox for its majority and exacerbate the separatist crisis in Catalonia by once again suspending self-government in this part of Spain. Read more

Rutte Loses Senate Majority, Gains for Dutch Far Right

Dutch government buildings in The Hague
Dutch government buildings in The Hague (Shutterstock/Michael Regeer)
  • Dutch voters elected provincial deputies on Wednesday, who will elect a new Senate in May.
  • The four parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling coalition are projected to lose their majority in the upper chamber.
  • Far-right partied posted their best result to date, taking 21 percent of the votes. Read more

Theresa May Survives Leadership Challenge from Brexiteers

British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017
British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)
  • British prime minister Theresa May has survived a confidence vote called by members of her party who feel she has mishandled Brexit.
  • In a sign of how deeply Britain’s departure from the EU has divided Conservatives, 200 lawmakers voted for May and 117 against. Read more