What’s next for Spain?

The major Spanish parties can no longer use the regional elections in Galicia and the Basque country as an excuse for not forming a national government. The spotlight has been put on the weakened socialist party, as the citizens in both ‘communities’ have grown tired of seeing the parties failing to come to an agreement throughout the country.

On Sunday, 25 regional elections took place in two ‘communities’ characterised by very different political situations.

The top headlines talk of the defeat of the socialist party, who was overtaken by the left-wing Podemos and Galician movement En Marea in both areas. This decline can be primarily attributed to Pedro Sánchez, PSOE´s Secretary-General, who finds himself in a difficult situation trying to form a government with just 85 out of 350 seats in Congress.

In contrast, Popular Party (PP) has strengthened its position thanks to Alberto Núñez Feijoo, a protégé of the (acting) President Mariano Rajoy, who won with nearly 2% more in Galicia. Despite having lost nearly the same amount of votes and one seat in the Basque Country, the decline of the conservatives in this community is balanced by the loss of seven members of the socialist formation and four from the left-wing nationalists, EH Bildu.

The party in government, PNV (centre-right nationalists) achieved the best results in the Basque Country, winning two seats. They will be able to count on socialist support – as they are traditional allies. Thus, an agreement with the PP that would have counterparts at the National Parliament is not necessary for the PNV.

Finally, Ciudadanos (centre party), the only one to negotiate with PP in order to form the national government, failed to enter the regional parliaments. As in other European countries, the voters were polarised and radicalised. The centre-left party in Spain is dissolving, being crushed up by the nationalists and more radical left-wing.

In light of these results and other surveys that indicate a possible rise of PP and decrease of PSOE, in future general elections, Ciudadanos and Podemos will only have two choices:
1. Let the conservatives form the government and maintain a strong opposition from the left-wing by reaching legislative agreements
2. Vote again

The first solution seems to be very complicated, because it would require the abstention of at least six deputies from PSOE. The second and more probable solution will result in an unprecedented situation bringing Spain into its third election in December this year. Spain’s socialist party will crumble, as their leadership crisis continues to flourish.

Words Yolanda Vega (Burson-Marsteller Spain)
Photos CC/Flickr Bobo Boom

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