Small Victory for Catalan Separatists in Spanish Coalition Talks

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 center-left Socialist Party has agreed the independence crisis in Catalonia requires a “political” solution.
  • This is a small victory for the separatists, whose support the Socialists need to form a government.
  • The Socialists and the far-left Podemos won 155 out of 350 seats in the lower chamber of Congress on November 10. Regional parties hold the balance of power.
  • The two intend to form a coalition government with the Socialists’ Pedro Sánchez as prime minister and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias as deputy prime minister. Read more

Spain Better Get Used to Multiparty Democracy

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez greets Albert Rivera, leader of the Citizens party, outside his residence in Madrid, October 16
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez greets Albert Rivera, leader of the Citizens party, outside his residence in Madrid, October 16 (La Moncloa)

With no party or bloc winning a majority in Spain’s Congress on Sunday, the country’s politicians need to finally come to grips with coalition politics.

The center-left Socialists and center-right People’s Party are used to alternating in power. They split 80 percent of the votes as recently as 2011. But Spain hasn’t been a two-party system since 2015, when Podemos (“We Can”) on the far left and the Ciudadanos (“Citizens”) on the center-right took one out of three votes between them.

This pattern has now been confirmed in four elections in as many years and still the old parties continue as though nothing has changed. Read more

No Party or Bloc Wins Majority in Spain

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and Pablo Iglesias
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and Pablo Iglesias (PES/PP/Vox España/Podemos)
  • Neither the left nor the right has won a majority in Spain. Catalan and other regional parties will hold the balance of power in the new Congress.
  • The only options for a majority government are a grand coalition of the center-left Socialists and center-right People’s Party, which has never been tried, or a coalition of left-wing and regional parties.
  • The Socialists remain the largest party, although they are down three seats. This will be a disappointment to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who called the election in hopes of breaking the deadlock in Congress.
  • He is expected to try to form a minority government. Read more

Spanish Center-Right Makes the Same Mistake Again

Spain's Pablo Casado attends a meeting with other European conservative party leaders in Brussels, June 30
Spain’s Pablo Casado attends a meeting with other European conservative party leaders in Brussels, June 30 (EPP)

Spain’s center-right parties haven’t learned anything from the last election.

When they tried to outflank the far right, it only helped Vox. The neo-Francoist party got 10 percent support then and polls as high as 15 percent now. And still the mainstream parties try to best it.

This is hopeless. Vox is always willing to go a step further. Read more

Give Regional Parties the Balance of Power in Spain

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12, 2018
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12, 2018 (PSOE/Eva Ercolanese)

There doesn’t seem to be market in Spain for a political party that is both liberal and pragmatic on the issue of Catalonia. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Election in Spain

The Palacio de las Cortes, seat of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, in Madrid, August 16, 2017
The Palacio de las Cortes, seat of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, in Madrid, August 16, 2017 (Shutterstock/Vivvi Smak)

Spaniards return to the polls on Sunday for their fourth general election in as many years. The outcome may not be very different from the election in April. Read more

Hard Line Against Catalans Doesn’t Help Sánchez in Polls

Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party January 30, 2016
Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party January 30, 2016 (PSOE)

If Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez was hoping that taking a harder line on the Catalan independence crisis would give his Socialist Party a boost in the next election, a look at the polls must give him second thoughts.

Since the Supreme Court convicted nine Catalan separatist leaders of sedition against the Spanish state for organizing an unsanctioned independence referendum in 2017, support for the Socialists has fallen from 28-29 to 24-25 percent.

The conservative People’s Party is up, from around 20 to 22-23 percent in the last month. The far-right Vox, which got 10 percent in the last election, is up to 13-14 percent.

Elections are due on November 10. Read more