What to expect in Spanish elections?

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Spanish PM and PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez. Credit: https://www.psoe.es/


1. It seems PSOE will win Spanish elections but do they have a path to creating a government? 

2. What is your opinion on Vox, is this far-right party changing the Spanish politics and how?


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

1. All survey polls indicate that the PSOE will be the most voted party, but its parliamentary majority won’t be sufficient to govern on its own. Neither is certain that an eventual coalition with the leftist ‘Podemos’ would be enough to form a government with a majority parliamentary support. In such a situation, they would need the support of minor parties (Basque and Catalan Nationalists). The only alternative to form a ‘stable’ coalition government would be for the PSOE with the centre-right Ciudadanos. But the latter aims at becoming the largest party in the right and get the support of the PP. If these two wouldn’t get a parliamentary majority they’d need the support of the extreme-right party VOX (see below)

2. VOX is already changing the politics in Spain. Recently they managed to have a strong presence in the regional parliament of Andalusia (the most populated ‘Comunidad Autónoma’ of Spain, 8,5 million people) and their votes allow the PP-Ciudadanos coalition to govern there. So a possible extreme-right, right, and centre-right could be an option in the aftermath of the General elections if they manage to get enough votes, something which is doubtful because of the D’Hont system of proportional representation in Spain (with provincial constituencies). This means that the distribution of seats at the provincial level penalises the competition among themselves of the three parties (VOX, PP and Cs).

Francisco Romero SalvadoReader in Modern Spanish History, University of Bristol

1. This is the million dollar question. The two-party state is finished. Now the problem is to get a working governing coalition This looks bad. We have a possible PSOE-led coalition depending on far too many parties (including Basque and Catalan separatists) or a Popular-Ciudadanos Coalition depending on Vox. Both are horrible. Despite what they claim and the hostile relation between their leaders, the best possible outcome would be a PSOE-Ciudadadanos coalition

2. It is a far right party, created mostly by former PP people who thought their party was far too weak. It may change politics. It is drawing the programme of PP towards more intransigent points. I believe it is playing on PSOE’s hands by splitting the right’s vote. The PP used previously Podemos to divide the left’s vote. Spain had enjoyed, unlike most of Europe, many years without a far right party.

Alejandro QuirogaReader in Spanish History, School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University

1. If opinion polls are right and there are no surprises then the Socialists will win the elections but will remain far from an absolute majority. They could probably form a government with right-wing Ciudadanos, yet Ciudadanos has bowed not reach any agreements with the socialists. We will see, Ciudadnos said they would never support a government of the PP and Mariano Rajoy and then did for 3 years.

A second option for the PSOE is to reach a deal with Podemos and to form a left-wing government. Podemos is willing but the PSOE will certainly receive a lot of pressure from the economic and media elites not to do it. Also they might need the votes of some Basque and/or Catalan nationalist MPs to reach a majority in parliament. So this option is possible but more precarious.

2. Again, if opinion polls are right, Vox will get around 12% of the vote and 35 MPS. This is very shocking in a country where far-right voters traditionally voted for the conservative party (a bit like in the UK before UKIP). Vox are somehow shaping the political agenda of the right. Both PP and Ciudadanos have radicalised their positions moving further to the right in an attempt to compete with Vox. This is a very risky strategy because the centre of the political spectrum is now up for grabs for the socialists and the radicalization of PP and Ciudadanos is unlikely at this stage to gain them back those conservative voters who are potentially voting for Vox. Perhaps more importantly,   the radicalization of PP and Ciudadanos has somehow normalise a far-right rhetoric (anti-women, anti-gay, anti-workers, anti-immigrants, nostalgic of the Franco dictatorship…) utterly unacceptable a few years ago.


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