Spanish Parties Rule Out Centrist Coalition After Election

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera speak in Madrid, February 4, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera speak in Madrid, February 4, 2016 (PSOE)

Spain’s liberal Citizens have ruled out a pact with outgoing prime minister Pedro Sánchez while the Catalan branch of his Socialist Party has said it will not support a deal with right-wing parties — making a centrist coalition after the election in April impossible. Read more

Catalan Liberals Start Language War to Woo Conservatives

Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia's Citizens party, gives a radio interview, February 1
Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia’s Citizens party, gives a radio interview, February 1 (Ciutadans)

Spain’s liberal Citizens party has proposed eliminating the Catalan language requirement for civil servants in the region.

Catalan would be plus, but no longer a prerequisite for most jobs in the public sector.

The idea is unlikely to go anywhere. Although the Citizens made their proposal in the Spanish Congress, which could attempt to overrule the separatist majority in the Catalan parliament, national parties would be foolish to aggravate relations with the province.

So why bother? Because it’s another way for the Citizens to prove to voters in other parts of Spain that they are a national party now. Read more

Spanish Liberals Take Rajoy’s Place in Polls

Jordi Cañas and Albert Rivera of the Spanish Citizens party talk in Madrid, August 6, 2013
Jordi Cañas and Albert Rivera of the Spanish Citizens party talk in Madrid, August 6, 2013 (Ciudadanos/Jordi Esteban)

The liberal Citizens party has risen to the top of the polls in Spain, receiving 26-27 percent support in two recent surveys against 23-25 percent for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party.

Support for the mainstream Socialists is unchanged at 22 percent while the far-left Podemos has gone down from 21 to 15 percent since the last election. Read more

Center-Right Parties Explore Accord in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015 (La Moncloa)

Chances of Spain’s two right-wing parties teaming up to form a coalition government improved on Wednesday, when Mariano Rajoy, the acting prime minister, agreed to submit the demands of the smaller Ciudadanos party to a membership vote.

Rajoy told a news conference that he would ask his party’s executive committee, which is made up mostly of loyalists, to vote next week on whether or not to accept six political reforms demanded by Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera.

Rivera’s proposals include ending judicial privileges for elected officials, canceling amnesties and pardons in corruption investigations and limiting the prime minister’s mandate.

He also wants Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party to expel members who have been implicated in graft scandals. Read more

Spanish Parties Need to Get Their Act Together

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is about to deliver a news conference in Madrid, July 13
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is about to deliver a news conference in Madrid, July 13 (PP)

It’s exactly one month after Spain’s second election in half a year and zero progress appears to have been made toward forming a government. There are even suggestions of calling a third election to break the gridlock.

That shouldn’t be necessary. Mariano Rajoy, the acting prime minister, has twice now won the most seats in parliament. His conservative People’s Party expanded its plurality last month, although it once again fell short of an absolute majority.

Spain’s parties aren’t used to coalition government, but the mainstream Socialists and the liberal Ciudadanos showed initiative in February when they formed a center-left pact. The alliance failed, but it should be possible for one of the two parties to team up with the conservatives this time. Read more

Rajoy Gets Closer to Second Term as Liberals May Abstain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and members of his cabinet attend a session of parliament in Madrid, June 11, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and members of his cabinet attend a session of parliament in Madrid, June 11, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, edged closer to winning a second term on Tuesday when the head of the fourth largest party in parliament suggested they might abstain in a confirmation vote.

Albert Rivera, the leader of the liberal Ciudadanos, told reporters after a meeting with Rajoy that the country needs to “get moving” and cannot have a third election.

“We’re not going to be in government,” he said, “but we’re realistic, responsible and constructive.” Read more

Spanish Pact Combines Worst of Both Worlds

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera sign a coalition agreement in Madrid, February 24
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera sign a coalition agreement in Madrid, February 24 (PSOE)

Spain’s Pedro Sánchez may have been clever to form a pact with the liberal Ciudadanos on Tuesday and dare the other parties to reject the deal; the coalition agreement itself is the worst of both worlds.

This website argued yesterday that the Socialist Party leader had outmaneuvered both his far-left rivals and the man he hopes to succeed as prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

The latter, whose People’s Party lost its majority in December’s election, was waiting for Sánchez to fail at forming a government, assuming that the left-wing leader would never bridge the gap between the pro-business Ciudadanos and the anti-establishment Podemos movement. The Socialists need the support of both for a majority.

By doing a deal with the Ciudadanos first, Sánchez puts pressure on Podemos to either back the most progressive government Spain is likely to get or make common cause with Rajoy’s conservatives — whose austerity policies they have reviled. Read more