Monday, December 21, 2015


The situation in Spanish politics became a whole lot more complicated after yesterday's elections.

The PP won 123 seats in the election, with 29% of the vote, leaving them far from a majority in the 350-seat legislature.The Socialists came second, with 90 seats and 22% of the vote.
Anti-austerity Podemos finished in third place with 69 seats and 21% of the vote, while the centre-right Ciudadanos won 40 seats and 14% of the vote.

In order to be able to govern for the next four years, the PP will have to rely on other parties, suggesting a protracted process of negotiations for Spain’s political leaders.

Several scenarios are possible. In the lead-up to the election, many analysts had predicted that the new government would be made up of the PP and supported in some way by Ciudadanos. But Sunday’s election result leave the two parties together still short of a majority.

Any such alliance would now require a third partner, a scenario that shifts some of the balance of power to regional parties from Catalonia and the Basque country and will be complicated by Ciudadanos’ vehement opposition to Catalan independence and insistence on eradicating long-standing Basque tax benefits.

Another possibility is a grand pact between the PP and Socialists.  However, this option was understandably rejected by the leaders of both parties during the campaign.

An alternative would be a coalition of the Socialists, Podemos and Ciudadanos. However, Rivera said earlier this week his party would not support what he called a “grouping of losers”, diminishing the likelihood of this option.

Sunday’s results could allow the Socialists to govern with the support of Podemos and several smaller parties, such as the Republican Left of Catalonia, who won nine seats, or Artur Mas’s Convergence party, which won eight seats.

However, even if the Socialists amass enough votes to gain control of the lower house of parliament, their government’s attempts to push forward initiatives such as constitutional reform would likely be quashed by the country’s senate, where Sunday’s election left the PP with an absolute majority.

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