What’s next for Spain, Europe after the elections?

Many observer are talking about political uncertainty in Spain after the election. What do results mean for future of Spain, do you think they might have an impact also on European politics? Read few comments.

Carsten Humlebæk, Associate professor, Department of International Business Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Marie Curie Research Fellow at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville

Yes, uncertainty is certainly part of the political agenda, but I would not exaggerate the problem. Spaniards have been preparing for this scenario for a long time now – at least the last almost two years – and they know that it is a normal situation in a European context and not necessarily a sign of political destabilization. Therefore I don’t think it will have major repercussions. What do results mean for future of Spain? Well that is a big question, that I cannot answer of course 😉 But I think the new Parliament and the negotiation that the parties are now facing over Christmas to form a government is a sign of good ‘political health’ and that Spain and Spanish politics is heading towards tackling the largest problems on the political agenda – Catalonia and structural reform of the territorial organisation of the Spanish state and the high structural unemployment and the necessary long-term structural reforms of the economic architecture of the State to make Spain more competitive .

I doubt it whether it will have a direct impact of any importance on European politics. I think the uncertainty of the new Spanish political situation will be contained to Spain and thus have no measurable impact on European politics, and as I said above I think the Spaniards can handle it. In the long-term, if the Spanish politicians succeed in organising the large-scale structural reforms they should also be able to begin to look towards Europe again and make the influence of Spain be heard again, after a 4-year period where Spain has been largely absent from European politics except as a problem. And when that turn comes, it will have a positive impact on European politics.

Luis MorenoResearch Professor, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Institute of Public Goods and Policies

The results leave a political future for Spain very open in the next weeks to come. Unless there is an unlikely agreement by the two main parties (Popular Party and Socialist Party) to form a gran coalition, the most plausible scenario would be to have new elections in e few months. These two main parties have collected about 50% of the total votes, but according to the electoral system they have reached 60% of the parliamentary seats. The irruption of Podemos (We can), a Syriza-type of left-wing formation, and Ciudadanos (Citizens) a new pro-active centrist party, have brought about a fresh input to Spain’s political system. Only time will tell if the new Parliament would be able to pass new far-reaching legislation, or even to initiate a reform of the 1978 Constitution.

Yes, I think that the results might have an impact on European politics because, in particular, young voters seem to turn to new emergent parties away from the traditional Christian-Democrat and Social-Democrat parties, but please note that both Podemos and Ciudadanos are pro-EU parties.

Francisco Romero Salvado, Reader in Modern Spanish History, University of Bristol

Well, uncertainty and confusion are good words to describe the electoral spectrum in Spain. The outcome is really unpredictable. We are into unchartered waters.

The conclusions are the following:

1. The two party system has been defeated but not destroyed. The clear rotation between the two main parties is history. However, the `emerging’ new forces are not as strong as some predicted.

2. The PP has won the elections. But it s a very bitter victory. Far from an overall majority, it has lost over 60 MPs and cannot find support anywhere to form a new administration. It will have first go but most likely it is bound to fail.

3. The irony is that the PSOE after having had its worst result in history (down from already an awful last elections to only 90 MPs), has then the opportunity to decide the outcome BUT it is a poisoned chalice. They can either let the PP rule. This solution probably supported in Brussels would hand the real role of opposition to Podemos (the extreme left) and the Spanish version of Syritza. The other solution is to form a government in coalition or supported by Podemos and what is most shocking by the pro-independence parties in Catalonia and the Basque Country. This could lead to internal civil war in the PSOE and the break up of Spain. Additionally, the economic recovery would stall and Spain find itself like Greece.

4. Podemos has done really well but not as fantastically as others once thought. Besides the party has done so well by promising referendums (right to self-determination) to whoever wants it.

In conclusion, a real mess. Of course, there can always be new elections in Spring.

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One Response

  1. I need little help. Do you recommend a book/books to understand Europe politics & reason behind unrest in the region ? I just watched ” Winter on Fire” . Thanks in advance !

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