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Realistically, if Sanchez wants a stable government with a secure overall majority, the only way to do so is to form a coalition with Podemos and Republican Left of Catalonia-Sovereigntists (ERC-Sobiranistes) (15 seats) for a total of 280 seats. Coalition with Ciudadanos would be acceptable to neither party supporters.

If the PSOE and the ERC-Sobiranistes cannot agree on a common programme, a minority government seems inevitable, and the best he could do is link up with Podemos and the more respectable Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) (6 seats) plus Compromís (1 seat) and perhaps a couple of regional party deputies - not enough for an overall majority.

It is questionable whether a government made up of 165 PSOE and Podemos deputies will be any less stable than a government including some additional minor party deputies but still short of an overall majority. And without Podemos on board, no one else matters - you might as well go with a minority Socialist administration.

I don't know how hardline and inflexible ERC-Sobiranistes are on Catalan Independence. If they are prepared to accept a lesser form of autonomy in the lifetime of the current Parliament then forming a coalition with them may help to reduce tensions and pave the way for a more constructive relationship in the future.

If not, they would simply undermine the legitimacy of the Socialist government in the rest of Spain and Sanchez is better off leaving them out in the cold.  He would then be relying on a lack of cohesion in the opposition to remain in power.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 29th, 2019 at 10:24:00 PM EST
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