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Spain fails to get a government

by IdiotSavant Thu Jul 25th, 2019 at 10:07:49 PM EST

Back in April, Spanish voters went to the polls to elect a new parliament. The Socialists emerged as the largest party, with 28.7% of the vote. But despite being the only party with the possibility of forming a government, they have failed to do so:

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Spain's Socialist caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has failed at a second attempt to form a government after he could not reach agreement with his only potential coalition partner, the anti-austerity party Unidas Podemos.

Sánchez only needed a simple majority in parliament to get a deal across the line but after 48 hours of hectic negotiating the Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, announced his party would abstain during the second round of voting and the result was 124 in Sánchez's favour, 155 against and 67 abstentions.

The Socialists blame Podemos, for not accepting whatever crumbs they were offered (or better, offering them support for free). But it seems the Socialists weren't that keen on a deal in the first place, rejecting every reduced offer from Podemos. Which really doesn't seem like the basis for a successful coalition. Meanwhile, the Socialists also arrogantly demanded the support of the Catalan parties, while refusing to even discuss independence or the end of repression. Oddly, they didn't get that either.

As for what happens next, they have two more months to try and form a government, otherwise its back to the polls in November.

It is an increasingly common feature of European elections that even the largest party cannot achieve 30% of the vote and thus has difficulty in forming a viable or stable government. Increasing polarisation within and between parties is making the formation of coalitions ever more problematic. Spain is not an outlier in this regard.

Perhaps the Socialists will succeed in forming a government after a further period of negotiation, or perhaps not, and a further election will be required which may or may not produce a more decisive outcome. But we cannot wish away the real differences in policy and support bases between ever more polarised centralist, regional, left and right wing parties.

The centre left and centre right parties which have dominated European post-war politics have lost their mojo and are being pulled apart by increasingly successful Green and further right and left parties.

As WB Yeats wrote in 1919:
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

The last time this happened the outcome wasn't good. Throw in the increasing inequalities engendered by globalised capitalism and the machinations of Trump, Putin, and an increasing number of politically engaged and tech savvy billionaires and oligarchs and democracy itself is under stress as rarely before. Global corporations have an interest in splintering and weakening nation states and the EU by undermining the political and social cohesion which sustains them. Spain is by no means the worst case.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 27th, 2019 at 11:50:50 AM EST
In this case, it largely seems to be arrogance and not wanting to share power: whenever Podemos accedes to their demands, they invent new ones. It's an almost British approach. But as with the UK, the socialists are going to learn that stamping their feet and demanding to have their way doesn't actually make you any friends.
by IdiotSavant on Sun Jul 28th, 2019 at 02:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This may be why Sanchez is unwilling to compromise: Survey: Sánchez's PSOE would win new election with over 40% of the vote:
If no government is invested by late September, Spain will head to a new general election in November, its fourth in as many years. Today, results of a survey from CIS, the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research, show that PSOE would win such an election with 41.3% of the vote.

The Partido Popular (PP) would be in second position, with 13.7% of the direct voting intent in the results, just ahead of Unidas Podemos on 13.1%, and Ciudadanos (Cs) on 12.3%. Notable is Cs' fall of more than three points, going from second place in the previous poll to fourth now.

by IdiotSavant on Wed Jul 31st, 2019 at 05:28:14 AM EST
I don't know. 3% sounds very margin of error to me. But vastly better to not blow up your party by coalitioning with the neolibs.
by generic on Wed Jul 31st, 2019 at 07:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is indisputable is the 12.6% rise from 28.7 to 41.3 for the PSOE. Much of this probably just represents popular frustration with the slow coalition forming process, and perhaps a desire to avoid a coalition at all if it involves Podemos or the regional parties. With PSOE the only party in a position to lead a government, many voters who just want "strong and stable" government (remember May?) might just plump for them. It is interesting that there seems to be virtually no recovery for PP. They have lost their "natural party of government" caché.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 31st, 2019 at 06:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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