- Protests have erupted in Iran after the government admitted responsibility for shooting down an Ukrainian passenger jet on the same night as it fired missiles into Iraq to avenge the death of its top military commander, Qasem Soleimani.
- Soleimani, who led Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force, was killed in an American drone strike on President Donald Trump’s order.
- No Americans or Iraqis were killed in the reprisals. All 176 passengers and crew aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, including 82 Iranians, were killed when the plane crashed outside Tehran on Wednesday morning. Read more “Iranians Take to Streets After Government Admits It Shot Down Passenger Plane”
- Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez has won a second term as prime minister of Spain.
- He fell short of a absolute majority in Congress on Sunday but needed only more votes in favor than against a the second ballot on Tuesday.
- Left-wing separatists from the Basque Country and Catalonia abstained, allowing Sánchez to scrape by with a majority of two — the smallest ever for a Spanish prime minister.
- Sánchez’ will be the first coalition government since the Civil War and the most left-wing government since the fall of the Republic. Read more “Sánchez Wins Second Term as Prime Minister of Spain”
- Boris Johnson has promised to lead a “people’s government” after winning the Conservatives’ biggest parliamentary majority since 1987.
- Jeremy Corbyn has announced he will resign after leading Labour into its worst election since 1935.
- Scotland’s National Party has won most seats in the region and is demanding a second independence referendum. Read more “British Post-Election Analysis and Opinion Blog”
- Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is on track to win its biggest parliamentary majority since 1987.
- The election on Thursday was the worst for Labour since 1935. Jeremy Corbyn has announced he will resign.
- Scotland’s National Party is expected to win almost all seats in the region and demanding a second independence referendum.
- The Liberal Democrats fell short of expectations. Party leader Jo Swinson even lost reelection in her own constituency. Read more “Conservative Landslide in British Election”
British politics hasn’t given liberals hope in recent years.
In 2015, we called for another Conservative-Liberal coalition. When the Conservative Party won an outright majority that year and veered to the right, embracing Brexit with a gusto, we switched to the Liberal Democrats. We still supported Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives in Scotland in 2017, but she is gone and with her any hope of moderation on the right.
Boris Johnson, who once described himself as a liberal, has made common cause with the reactionaries in his party to take power; forced out 21 principled moderates who opposed his Brexit policy, including ten former cabinet ministers, two former chancellors and one former deputy prime minister; and unlawfully suspended Parliament in an attempt to prevent debate on his Brexit deal, which, for all his bluster, is essentially the deal the EU offered two years ago.
Worst of all, Johnson frames this election as a choice between “the people” and Parliament. That is the sort of insidious rhetoric which paves the way for the erosion of liberal democracy. Read more “Liberal Democrats Are Least Bad Option in British Election”
- 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 “No Party or Bloc Wins Majority in Spain”
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 “Give Regional Parties the Balance of Power in Spain”
- 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 Wins in Spain But Could Need Separatists for Majority”
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 “Sánchez Is the Reasonable Choice in Spain’s Election”
- 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 “Rutte Loses Senate Majority, Gains for Dutch Far Right”