Posts in "Spain" Category

An uncertain government, but a government at last

This week marked the one-year anniversary of the provisional Spanish Government. On the 27th of October 2015, the Official Journal announced the dissolution of parliament and called for elections to be held on the 20th December. After two elections, it seems that by the end of the week, Spain will have at least a new Prime Minister, thanks to the abstention by the Socialist Party (PSOE).

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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.

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Spaniards give centre-right a second chance

Spain’s conservative People’s Party (PP) strengthened its position in parliamentary elections on 26 June, the second such poll in just over six months.

Arise in support for the centre-right had been predicted, but the increase, of 14 seats, was unexpected. The PP was the only party to win more MPs.

But the PP did not win an absolute majority, and needs an agreement with other parties to govern. However, the results give the PP more legitimacy, and a path to power – possibly backed by the centrist Citizens party (C’s) and with the acquiescence of the Socialists (PSOE).

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Crunch time in Spain

Never in Spain’s political history has the formation of government been followed with such interest and anxiety.

Spaniards continue to monitor statements from political leaders for signs of a decisive moment. None has arrived.

But the results of the election on 20 December are already transforming Spain’s politics and institutions.

When the new parliament meets next week, the old certainties of left- and right-wing ideology will be gone. Four parties will each have 40 or more MPs, a situation that has created a wide range of possibilities – none of which are easy to achieve – when it comes to forming a government.

So who will govern Spain?

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Spain braces itself for unpredictable four-way electoral battle

Spain’s rollercoaster parliament is coming to an end.

It began with increased taxes and cuts to public service budgets. Popular protests and the formation of new political groups shook the landscape.

And yet the centre-right People’s Party (PP), led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (pictured), has delivered signs of economic improvement. The markets are calm; the streets peaceful. Spain continues its long struggle towards recovery.

And now the rollercoaster is set to begin again.

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Socialists see off challengers in Round 1 of Spain’s electoral fight

Rumours of the death of Spain’s two-party system are, perhaps, exaggerated.

The main results of last Sunday’s regional election in Andalusia, the most populated autonomous community in Spain, were a win for Socialists (PSOE), led by Susana Díaz (pictured), and a surge in support for the far-left Podemos party.

But coming from a region where PSOE has been in government for more than 30 years, they probably cannot be extrapolated to the country as a whole.

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Who will be the social media champion of #TeamJunckerEU?

Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission team faces questions from Members of the European Parliament next week – but they already being probed on Twitter.

So how well are the commissioners-designate prepared to engage online – and who will be the social media king or queen of the new Commission?

Download our PDF infographic of the new European Commission on Twitter

There are more commissioners-designate on Twitter than serving commissioners – which is no surprise. Despite the fact that the Juncker team has more senior national experience than José Manuel Barroso’s team, they have fewer followers on average (19,000 in Juncker’s team as opposed to 26,500 in Barroso’s). However, their accounts should quickly gain followers – if they survive the hearings.

Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister, Commissioner-designate for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, and a relatively early adopter of Twitter, has the largest following – just over 109,000. (Barroso is the most-followed Twitter user in the current team, with 121,000 followers.)

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A five-point guide to the EU top jobs puzzle

This weekend, the European Council will meet again to decide on the holders of the EU’s top jobs.

Here’s our five-point guide to Saturday’s meeting and what it means – and have your say on one of the key issues of the summer by voting in our poll.

1. Time for action

hvr squareAfter the failure to agree on the top jobs at the last summit in July, European Union leaders are under pressure to reach an accord. The European Council is increasingly gaining a reputation as an institution that takes too long to decide anything, and whose decisions are often ‘fudges’.

Saturday is the crunch moment: if EU leaders fail to conclude a ‘package’ of appointments, it will put paid to any remote hopes of appointing the Commission on time. More importantly in the long term, it will increase popular and global perceptions of the EU as a sclerotic organisation. Herman Van Rompuy (pictured left), the President of the European Council, was criticised by EU leaders and many analysts for not preparing a watertight deal before July’s summit (although he was not helped by some prime ministers). The President will not want another failure.

The decisions are not easy: there are significant political, institutional and personal headaches for the 28 leaders. But the leaders are there to lead, and to decide. It’s time to act.

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Herman’s checklist: finding a balance for the EU’s top jobs

9157497455_724ede816a_h - UPDATEDA big week, and a careful balancing act

This time next week, Angela Merkel will be celebrating her sixtieth birthday – and short of anything better to cheer, the rest of the European Council will probably be celebrating the end of the gruelling quinquennial EU top jobs race.

Tuesday (15 July) sees the election of the new President of the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker does not quite have his feet under the desk yet, but the ‘grand coalition’ that held for Martin Schulz’s election as President of the European Parliament is expected to hold and see Juncker made President-elect.

And then, on Wednesday, the rest of the pieces of the top jobs jigsaw are expected to be put into place.

The European Council, denied a backroom deal over the Commission presidency, can (more or less) get back to old ways with its selection of a new President of the European Council and a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (although the choice for the latter position is one for leaders to take with the President-elect). A new permanent president for the Eurogroup (finance ministers of eurozone countries) is also expected to be named.

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