The idea of re-running a vote when the first result is unsatisfactory has been getting a bad press recently. But Spain’s second general election in six months, on June 26th, showed that if the goal is to break a political deadlock, do-overs can be useful. The big winners were Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, and his centre-right People’s Party (PP). Though they failed to get an absolute majority, they took 33% of the vote, up from 29% in the December election, which was so splintered that no party could form a government. Now, with 137 seats in the 350-member Cortes (parliament), Mr Rajoy is set to remain prime minister, albeit at the head of a coalition or minority administration. The election’s big surprise was that Podemos, a new far-left party dedicated to reversing austerity and defenestrating the traditional political class, stalled. Contrary to all poll forecasts, it failed to overtake the more moderate Socialist Party to become the largest force on the left. Podemos had merged with the old Communists of the United Left party for this election, but the merged force won 1m fewer votes than its constituent parts did last time.
Spain is heading for its second election in six months on June 26 after party leaders failed to piece together a governing majority from the deadlocked parliament. While polls suggest that the result will be broadly similar to December’s ballot, small variations in the voting could lead to significant changes in the outcome. Here are some of the issues that could trigger such a shift. The anti-establishment party signed an alliance with the former communists of the United Left last month. By pooling their votes, the two groups minimize the number of ballots wasted in an electoral system which is skewed against smaller parties.
In the zero-sum game of parliamentary math, the result is a double whammy: Podemos gets more seats for its vote, while also pushing up the threshold its rivals will have to cross to elect each lawmaker. Podemos could add as many as 21 lawmakers to its 71-strong delegation in parliament while boosting its vote by just 1.3 percentage points, the state pollster CIS said Thursday. Spain’s political system allocates state funding to parties based on their representation in parliament — a rule that tilts the playing field in favor of established parties.
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.