Spanish Parties Rule Out Centrist Coalition After Election

Pedro Sánchez Albert Rivera
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 “Spanish Parties Rule Out Centrist Coalition After Election”

Catalan Liberals Start Language War to Woo Conservatives

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 “Catalan Liberals Start Language War to Woo Conservatives”

Spanish Liberals Take Rajoy’s Place in Polls

The liberal Citizens have 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. The far-left Podemos (We Can) has gone down from 21 to 15 percent since the last election. Read more “Spanish Liberals Take Rajoy’s Place in Polls”

Budget Deal Puts Spain’s Centrists on the Spot

Spain’s liberal Ciudadanos (Citizen) have no good options when it comes to this year’s budget.

If they vote for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s spending plan, it could cost them support in their home region of Catalonia, where the conservative leader is deeply unpopular.

But if they vote against it, it could make it harder for them to grow nationally.

Without the Ciudadanos‘ support, Rajoy would fall short of a majority and could be forced to call snap elections for a second time.

Center-right voters, desperate for stability, could then leave the Ciudadanos in droves.

They lost 1 percent support and eight seats to Rajoy between the 2015 and 2016 elections. Read more “Budget Deal Puts Spain’s Centrists on the Spot”

Center-Right Parties Explore Accord in Spain

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

Mariano Rajoy
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

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

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

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

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”