Elections Uncertainty

In these recent General Elections, the four main parties got what they wanted, but not enough of it to be of any good. The PP won, but not by far enough, and PSOE didn’t implode.

The governing party knew that they would be taking a tumble from their previous 186-seat majority and in their worse case scenario reckoned on 130 seats – they got 123 losing 63, which was the second biggest election loss in recent Spanish history.

They were hoping that the shortfall could be made up by the new centre-right party, Ciudadanos, but they came up with only 40 seats, leaving the PP in a coalition alliance still 25 seats short of a working majority.

And that’s the problem you see; as the PP has spent the last four years bludgeoning everybody else with their absolute majority they have no political friends: after Ciudadanos, there’s no other door to knock on.

Which brings us to the socialist (PSOE) and the left in general. The left is truly fragmented, so although that there might be more left-wing voters than right-wing ones in Spain, owing to the lack of right-wing alternatives it is a mathematical certainty that the Partido Popular is going to be the most voted for party just about anywhere in Spain outside Andalucía. In other words, whilst the left vote might be spread across a whole host of vying parties, the right vote will end up with the PP.

The PSOE continues in its spiraling descent into political obscurity so that even though it lost fewer previously held seats than the PP, it still lost around 20 ending up with 90. The new party leader for the PSOE is a desperate man, who is thinking about joining hands with the radical left (Podemos) even though his barons (regional leaders) are dead against it. He wants the Prime Minister’s office just as badly as Mariano Rajoy is desperate to keep it, because their respective party leadership hangs on it.

The old PSOE left-wing ally, IU has been whittled down to only two parliamentary seats, down from their heady days of 1996 when they won 21, yet those two seats could make all the difference to the PSOE, scrabbling around for a workable majority alliance.

In brief, for the PSOE to form a viable government, they will need to be able to count on Podemos and several other smaller parties, some of whom are politically toxic because they are either republicans or regional separatists. So, apart from such a coalition government being unwieldy, it would probably be the final nail in the credibility coffin of PSOE.

Now we come to Ciudadanos and Podemos. The latter were predicted to take a tumble and the former to break through to be in the third-political-force position – the opposite happened in both cases – so much for polls.

From the Ciudadanos’ point of view, their 40 seats are both a let down and a triumph, as they started from scratch a couple of years ago, so although their achievements fell short of their expectations, they still have cause to slap each on the back in congratulations.

Finally, Podemos. This newly arrived political party, fruit of massive discontent amongst the populace and forged in the mass occupation of public squares in Madrid, started off their political career with a bang thanks to the 2014 European Elections, when they sprang from street banners to five parliamentary seats out of the 54 occupied by Spain.

However, their programme was radical, calling for an end to Nato membership and the scrapping of the Defence Ministry, amongst other left-wing nuggets. Even though they toned it down for the General Elections, they campaigned for the Catalans to be able to decide their own fate in a referendum, which might sound tame for other Europeans but for the Spanish it is tantamount to shaking the very foundations of modern Spain.

And looming over it all is the very real possibility of going to the polls again as these results are considered unviable – unviable, we might add, because politicians don’t pay for their elections from their own pockets; if they did, you can bet you grandmother’s rocking chair that they would very soon be considered “viable.”

Anyway, all the political wranglings must be concluded by the 13th of January and a new Prime Minister sworn in – let’s see what happens.

(Editorial: 2015 General Elections)

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