With the new year just begun, Spain is facing an unprecedented political situation. “The most likely scenario right now, with a much higher probability rate than any other, is that we are headed towards a new general election,” said one high-ranking official from the Popular Party (PP), which continues to hold the reins of power following an inconclusive election on December 20. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has so far failed to secure enough support to get himself reinstated to a second term in office, has ordered his ministers to keep holding meetings and managing day-to-day affairs. The point is to avoid conveying the sense that the Spanish executive is on hold.
Spain’s Socialists said they’ll vote against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy if he seeks parliamentary approval for a second term, signaling drawn out negotiations over the shape of the next government. With anti-austerity party Podemos making clear they’ll vote against Rajoy’s People’s Party in all circumstances, the Socialists’ opposition means it’s almost impossible for the prime minister to renew his mandate at the first attempt. The Socialists’ deputy leader, Cesar Luena, declined to comment on what his party might do in a second round of voting, when an abstention from the group’s 90 lawmakers could be enough for Rajoy to get through. The Socialists and Podemos set out their positions in Madrid Monday after meetings of their respective party leaderships to chart a way forward following an inconclusive election that saw Rajoy’s PP lose its majority. With Sunday’s vote resulting in four main parties in parliament without any clear government constellation, jockeying has begun as the parties seek to adapt to the new political landscape.
Spain is set for a period of difficult coalition-building after Sunday’s elections in which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy‘s conservatives came first, but were far short of a majority and with no obvious coalition partner after the centrist Ciudadanos (Citizens) did worse than expected, finishing fourth. With 99.6 percent of votes counted, Rajoy’s Popular Party had 123 seats in the 350-seat national parliament, way beneath the 186-seat majority they secured in 2011. The Socialists (PSOE), who have alternated in power with the PP for nearly four decades, were second with 90 seats, while far-left Podemos (We Can) had 69 seats — including the regional coalitions they have forged in Catalonia, Galicia and Valencia — and the centrist Ciudadanos came fourth with 40. “We are about to begin a period that won’t be easy,” said 60-year-old Rajoy, who was first elected in 2011 and has earned the approval of the euro zone’s most powerful country, Germany, for tightening the reins on Spain’s spendthrift economy..
Spain faces its most uncertain national election in 40 years on Sunday with newcomer parties poised for big gains against the traditionally dominant conservatives and socialists, complicating efforts to form a stable government. The ballot will mark the end of the established two-party system that has held sway since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco ended in 1975, ushering in an untested and potentially volatile era of consensus politics. It will also offer the latest snapshot of the willingness of European electorates to abandon the mainstream center-right and center-left, following significant gains by populist parties since October in elections in France and Portugal. Opinion polls show the governing conservative People’s Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will win Sunday’s vote but fall well short of an absolute majority.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, facing a likely slim win at the election on Sunday according to opinion polls, said on Wednesday he would consider a political pact to assure a stable government over the next term. Rajoy’s conservative ruling People’s Party (PP) which, over the last four years, has presided over one of the worst economic slumps in decades, is seen winning the election but well short of the parliamentary majority it has enjoyed since 2011. The PP’s three political rivals are close behind, with the traditional left-wing Socialists (PSOE) and newcomers including the liberal Ciudadanos and anti-austerity Podemos running neck and neck in the polls.