Spanish parties have broken the cardinal rules of coalition politics. As a result, the country may need to go to elections for the fourth time in as many years.
Outgoing prime minister Pedro Sánchez has one last chance to stay in power. If the far-left Podemos supports him after all, and the Catalan independence parties abstain from today’s investiture vote, he could scrape by with the smallest possible majority.
Spain’s ruling Socialist Party and the far-left Podemos are closing in on an agreement that could allow Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to stay in power until 2020.
Sánchez does not have a majority of his own. He came to power with the support of Podemos and small regional parties, but they have since voted against his 2019 budget proposal, putting his minority government in limbo. Read more “Spain’s Socialists, Podemos Eye Deal”
Spain’s ruling People’s Party continues to fall in the polls. Its support is down from 33 percent in the last election to under 25 percent in most recent surveys. The reasons are corruption scandals and the ongoing Catalan independence crisis.
The liberal Citizens, who support — but are not a part of — Mariano Rajoy’s government, are up. Some polls even have them as the largest party of Spain. Their promise to clean up politics, and the hard line they have taken against the Catalan separatists, is resonating with center-right voters.
Spain’s Podemos party has come out in favor of a Catalan independence referendum, making it the first major national party to break with the government of Mariano Rajoy on the issue.
The anti-establishment movement remains opposed to Catalan independence and argues that a referendum should not be legally binding, but the new policy is a win for Catalonia’s separatists all the same.
Spain’s two left-wing parties need to decide if they want to stick to their principles and keep their hands clean — or if they’re willing to make compromises in order to get into power.
At a party conference this weekend, members of the anti-establishment Podemos movement are asked to endorse one of two visions: either stay the hard-left course under Pablo Iglesias, the current leader, or switch to the more pragmatic policy of his deputy, Iñigo Errejón.
The mainstream Socialists face a similar choice in their leadership election. Patxi López and Pedro Sánchez advocate opposition to the minority right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy. Susana Díaz, the president of Andalusia, represents the moderate wing of the party, which argues against blowing up an accord that has kept Spain governable since October.
The outcome of the struggle in Podemos could have an effect on the Socialist Party contest later this year.
Last week’s disappointing election result has exposed a fissure on the Spanish far left.
The debate is a predictable one: hardliners insist the Podemos alliance with the communist-led United Left wasn’t left-wing and principled enough; moderates recognize that it was perceived as too radical.
Preelection polls had shown Podemos surpassing the mainstream Socialists to become the biggest party on the left. But on election day, they got exactly the same number of seats as they did in December. The Socialists lost five but still came in second.