Sánchez Walks Fine Line Between Left and Right

Analysis

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

With support from the pro-independence Catalan left weakening, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez is reaching out to the center-right.

The liberal-nationalist Citizens, who are shifting back to the center under their new leader, Ines Arrimadas, after a disastrous lurch to the right in the last election, have largely supported Sánchez’ emergency measures to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed at least 28,000 Spaniards. The party has pledged to vote for three out of four proposed recovery programs, except the one for social policy.

Even the conservative People’s Party, which only a few months ago called Sánchez a “traitor” for doing a deal with Basque and Catalan separatists and then accused him of lying about the true death toll of the pandemic, has suggested it could support some of the policies, which include tax hikes and loans to small businesses.

With tourism, normally one-sixth of the economy, drying up, unemployment is projected to reach 19 percent. (It would be worse without the furloughing system ERTE.) The central bank expects the economy will contract between 9 and 15 percent this year before growing 7-9 percent in 2021. Read more “Sánchez Walks Fine Line Between Left and Right”

Now the Hard Part: Convincing the Catalans

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (PSOE)

21 seats short of a majority in Congress, Spain’s Pedro Sánchez still need either the support or acquiescence of smaller parties to serve a second term as prime minister.

So far, the signs are not encouraging. Read more “Now the Hard Part: Convincing the Catalans”

Spanish Socialists Offend Parties They Need to Govern

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
José Luis Ábalos, organizational secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, June 17
José Luis Ábalos, organizational secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, June 17 (PSOE/Eva Ercolanese)

Last night, I argued the problem in Spain is that the country has a multiparty system but the two major parties, the Socialists and the conservatives, still have a two-party-system mindset.

Look no further than José Luis Ábalos, organizational secretary of the Socialist Party, who on Monday insulted the very parties his needs to form a government. Read more “Spanish Socialists Offend Parties They Need to Govern”

Hard Line Against Catalans Doesn’t Help Sánchez in Polls

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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 “Hard Line Against Catalans Doesn’t Help Sánchez in Polls”

Spain Will Almost Certainly Have to Call Elections Again

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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)

A possible last-minute deal between Spain’s ruling Socialist Party and the liberal Citizens collapsed on Tuesday, forcing caretaker prime minister Pedro Sánchez to either attempt a stitch-up with the far left or call elections in November, which would Spain’s fourth in as many years.

The Citizens, who had for months ruled out voting in Sánchez’ favor over his willingness to negotiate with the ruling parties in Catalonia, offered to abstain from an investiture vote if the Socialist ruled out taxes increases on the middle class and pardons for Catalan leaders who are on trial for organizing an unauthorized independence vote two years ago.

Sánchez claims he agreed to the terms; the Citizens insist he did not.

Polls suggest the Citizens could lost a quarter of their support in an early election. Their indecisiveness is causing them to lose voters to both the Socialists on the left and the People’s Party on the right.

But the Socialists are unlikely to gain enough support for a majority, meaning in two months Spain could be back where it is now. Read more “Spain Will Almost Certainly Have to Call Elections Again”

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”

Spain’s Social Democrats Buck European Trend

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal greets his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, in Lisbon, July 2, 2018
Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal greets his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, in Lisbon, July 2, 2018 (Governo da República Portuguesa/Clara Azevedo)

Spain’s are among few social democrats in Europe who have figured out how to thrive in a new political reality.

Although the 30 percent support Pedro Sánchez is projected to win Sunday night is a far cry from the 48 percent support the Socialists won at the peak of their popularity in the 1980s, it is a significant improvement on the last two election results (22 percent in both 2015 and 2016) and almost double what the conservative People’s Party, for decades the dominant party on the right, has managed. Read more “Spain’s Social Democrats Buck European Trend”

Sánchez Is the Reasonable Choice in Spain’s Election

Endorsement

Atlantic SentinelAtlantic Sentinelis a transatlantic opinion website.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez arrives in Salzburg, Austria for a meeting with other European socialist party leaders, September 19, 2018
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez arrives in Salzburg, Austria for a meeting with other European socialist party leaders, September 19, 2018 (PES)

As long as Spain’s mainstream right would rather do a deal with the far right than the center-left, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ Socialists are the most reasonable choice in the country’s general election on Sunday.

Sánchez’ only possible partners are the far-left Podemos and regionalists from the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Catalonia and Valencia. Even if, as the polls predict, the Socialists expand their plurality in Congress, the next coalition government could be unwieldy.

Podemos will require concessions and its platform is full of unwise proposals, from abolishing spy agencies to nationalizing energy companies to withdrawing from international trade deals.

If the regionalists end up as kingmakers, they can be expected to leverage their position to extract more money from Madrid. The two largest parties in Catalonia insist they will only back Sánchez if he comes out in favor of a legal independence referendum. Sánchez insists he won’t.

But those complications are preferable to the alternative: a hard-right government that would need the Franco apologists in Vox for its majority and exacerbate the separatist crisis in Catalonia by once again suspending self-government in this part of Spain. Read more “Sánchez Is the Reasonable Choice in Spain’s Election”

Spanish Socialists Benefit from Division on the Right

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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)

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez is benefiting from a three-way fight on the right. With the conservative People’s Party, the liberal Citizens and the far-right Vox splitting the right-wing vote, Sánchez’ Socialist Party is likely to come out on top in elections later this month.

The question will be if Sánchez can form a coalition government with the far-left Podemos and regionalists from the Basque Country — or if he will need the support of Catalan nationalists, who sunk his previous government when Sánchez refused them a legal referendum on independence. Read more “Spanish Socialists Benefit from Division on the Right”