Center-Right Parties Explore Accord in Spain

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

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 “Center-Right Parties Explore Accord in Spain”

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 “Spanish Parties Need to Get Their Act Together”

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 “Rajoy Gets Closer to Second Term as Liberals May Abstain”

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 “Spanish Pact Combines Worst of Both Worlds”

Agile Sánchez Seen Putting Together Coalition in Spain

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)

If outgoing Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy was waiting for his Socialist Party rival to fail at forming a coalition government, he may have underestimated Pedro Sánchez’s agility.

The left-wing party leader was reported to be close to reaching a deal with the liberal Ciudadanos on Tuesday, which would be the first step toward finding a majority in parliament.

The Ciudadanos and the Socialists do not command a majority between them. Nor does Rajoy’s People’s Party, which went down from 187 to 123 seats in December’s election.

A right-wing pact between Rajoy’s conservatives and the forty members of the Ciudadanos would come close to the 176 seats needed for a majority. But it now seems more likely that Sánchez will succeed in getting the third- and fourth largest parties to support him instead. Read more “Agile Sánchez Seen Putting Together Coalition in Spain”

Spain Should Seize Opportunity of More Liberal Government

Albert Rivera, leader of the Spanish Citizens party, poses for a photo in Madrid, August 6, 2013
Albert Rivera, leader of the Spanish Citizens party, poses for a photo in Madrid, August 6, 2013 (Ciudadanos/Jordi Esteban)

Polls suggest no party will win an outright majority in Spain’s election this weekend. For the first time since democracy was restored, the country may need a coalition government.

Provided it’s one between Mariano Rajoy’s conservatives and the liberal Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), we think Spain should welcome the prospect.

A political duopoly is unhealthy. For more than thirty years, Rajoy’s People’s Party and the Socialists have alternated in power. Corruption and nepotism, while not at Greek or Latin American levels, are too common. When it comes to economic and social policy, the two main parties, for all their campaign rhetoric, really aren’t that far apart. Read more “Spain Should Seize Opportunity of More Liberal Government”

Spanish Punish Traditional Parties, Split Vote Four Ways

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, December 18, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, December 18, 2014 (EPP)

Spain’s traditional parties did poorly across the country in municipal and regional elections on Sunday. Populist leftwingers and a liberal Catalan party benefited from the disillusionment in national politics.

According to early projections, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party went down 10 percent from the elections four years ago to 27 percent support nationwide.

It still won nine out of thirteen regional contests but is unlikely to be able to govern on its own in most parts of the country. Read more “Spanish Punish Traditional Parties, Split Vote Four Ways”

As Podemos Falls, Spanish Liberals Rise in Polls

Albert Rivera, leader of the Spanish Citizens party, poses for a photo in Madrid, August 6, 2013
Albert Rivera, leader of the Spanish Citizens party, poses for a photo in Madrid, August 6, 2013 (Ciudadanos/Jordi Esteban)

Spanish voters disillusioned about their country’s left- and right-wing parties are moving away from radical leftists who look to Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza for inspiration. The centrist Ciudadanos party is gaining popularity instead as Spain prepares for parliamentary elections later this year.

Only nine years old, Ciudadanos is originally from Catalonia, where it opposes the regional independence movement. Its leader, Albert Rivera, attributes the party’s nationwide appeal to its sensible policy proposals.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Rivera says he shares the radical Podemos party’s diagnosis of what ails Spain. But their solutions are obsolete, he argues.

They stand for a very interventionist model, for more state control. They blame the system. We blame the people who have corrupted the system.

Read more “As Podemos Falls, Spanish Liberals Rise in Polls”