Spanish Parties Break Cardinal Rules of Coalition Politics

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Pedro Sánchez, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, January 22, 2016
Pedro Sánchez, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, January 22, 2016 (PSOE)

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.

But if either sticks to its guns, the Socialists would either have to nominate another candidate (unlikely) or call snap elections in the autumn. Read more “Spanish Parties Break Cardinal Rules of Coalition Politics”

Spanish Politicians Need to Come to Grips with Coalition Politics

Analysis, Top Story

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)

Spanish politicians are still coming to grips with coalition politics.

Both at the national and the regional level, parties are reluctant to make compromises and blaming each other for making deals with different parties. Read more “Spanish Politicians Need to Come to Grips with Coalition Politics”

Leaders of Spanish Far Left Split

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Podemos deputies Iñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias listen to a debate in Spain's parliament in Madrid, April 12, 2016
Podemos deputies Iñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias listen to a debate in Spain’s parliament in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (Podemos)

The relatively moderate number two in Spain’s left-wing Podemos party, Iñigo Errejón, has broken with the leader, Pablo Iglesias, weakening the far left in a potentially crucial election year.

Errejón, who failed to unseat Iglesias in a leadership election in 2017, has formed his own pact with the incumbent mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, for the municipal elections in May.

Errejón wants the whole of Podemos to team up with Carmena, but Iglesias has ruled this out — and accused Errejón of betrayal. Read more “Leaders of Spanish Far Left Split”

Spain’s Socialists, Podemos Eye Deal

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)

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”

Spanish Left Pays Price for Choosing Purists Over Pragmatists

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015 (PSOE)

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.

The left, El País points out, seems unable to exploit Rajoy’s unpopularity. Support for the mainstream Socialist Party is virtually unchanged at 20-22 percent. The far-left Podemos is down several points. Read more “Spanish Left Pays Price for Choosing Purists Over Pragmatists”

Spanish Far Left Takes Rajoy to Task for Catalan “Repression”

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks at a rally in Madrid, May 20
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks at a rally in Madrid, May 20 (Podemos)

Pablo Iglesias, the head of Spain’s far-left Podemos movement, has criticized Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for his handling of the Catalan separatist challenge.

In a series of tweets, Iglesias takes Rajoy and his government to task for their “fear of democracy”.

Defending Spain requires providing political solutions to historical problems. Prison and repression will only compound the problems.

Iglesias accuses Rajoy of aggravating support for independence by refusing to negotiate with the Catalans and argues that the only way out of the crisis is to let them vote. Read more “Spanish Far Left Takes Rajoy to Task for Catalan “Repression””

Why Spain’s Podemos Now Supports Catalan Referendum

Explainer

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias appears at an event in Málaga, May 17, 2014
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias appears at an event in Málaga, May 17, 2014 (Cyberfrancis)

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.

It’s probably not for them that Podemos has changed their minds, though. Read more “Why Spain’s Podemos Now Supports Catalan Referendum”

Podemos Endorses Hard-Left Course of Leader Iglesias

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Iñigo Errejón Pablo Iglesias
Podemos deputies Iñigo Errejón and Pablo Iglesias listen to a debate in Spain’s parliament in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (Podemos)

On Saturday, I wrote that the smart thing for Spain’s Podemos party to do was embrace the pragmatic vision of its number two, Iñigo Errejón.

So of course they did the opposite the following day.

At a party congress in Madrid, Pablo Iglesias was reelected as leader with 90 percent support

His loyalists also retained 60 percent of the seats on the party’s leadership council while his policy platform was backed by 51 percent of members against 34 percent who voted for an alternative proposal introduced by Errejón. Read more “Podemos Endorses Hard-Left Course of Leader Iglesias”

Spanish Left Needs to Decide Between Power and Principle

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Pablo Iglesias
Pablo Iglesias and other members of Spain’s Podemos party listen to a debate in the European Parliament in Brussels, July 9, 2014 (GUE/NGL)

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.

Sánchez in particular, who was the party leader until October — when he was forced out by regional bosses like Díaz — believes the Socialists must take the fight to the right in order to consolidate their left flank. Read more “Spanish Left Needs to Decide Between Power and Principle”

Defeat Splits Podemos Between Moderates and Hardliners

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias gives a speech in Vitoria-Gasteiz, June 21
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias gives a speech in Vitoria-Gasteiz, June 21 (Podemos)

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.

The outcome was especially bitter because Podemos had teamed up with the United Left in order to grow its parliamentary faction. It effectively lost seats, because the United Left’s were folded into Podemos. Read more “Defeat Splits Podemos Between Moderates and Hardliners”