Spain: one step closer to fresh elections

EPA/CHEMA MOYA

Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader, Pedro Sanchez, delivers his speech during the the second session of the investiture debate, at the Lower House of Spanish Parliament, in Madrid, Spain on 02 March 2016. This session will end with the first votation to find out if Pedro Sanchez obtains support enough for being elected Prime Minister. If Sanchez does not obtain support from other parties, a second round of votations will take place on 04 March, being this his last chance to form a new government. Spain will hold new elections the upcoming 26 June if Sanchez does not obtain a simple majority.

PSOE not likely to secure vote of confidence


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Pedro Sánchez delivered a speech in the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday, intended to convince Podemos to join the Socialists (PSOE) and the liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens) in a three-party coalition on Tuesday. The leader of PSOE aspires to becoming the next Prime Minister of Spain to succeed Mariano Rajoy. Podemos had excluded cooperation beforehand.

On Wednesday, Sánchez will subject his proposal to form a government to a vote of confidence. That is confidence his is lacking and he is not likely to get. Sánchez does not expect more than 130 MPs voting in his favor (90 PSOE plus 40 Ciudadanos); that is short of 176 required and there is little room for surprises. Spain is likely to go to the polls on June 2016.

Most polls since December suggest that there are no major shifts in public opinion, although there have been fluctuations from company to company and week to week. Most polls in fact suggest that the main loser of fresh elections would be PSOE, becoming a pool from which parties draw votes left (Podemos) and right (Ciudadanos) of the political spectrum. However, it is not certain whether fresh elections will resolve the Spanish political deadlock.

Ciudadanos are the most willing to join a coalition, putting forward demands for reforms that would lead to transparency and cost-savings.

On Tuesday, Sánchez was trying to convince Podemos that a new government is needed to address the current political impasse, but also to rectify the consequences of the Popular Party (PP) administration. He underlined that there are not enough votes for a government of the left alone and that a third-party was necessary. He interpreted the hung parliament that came out of the December 24 legislative elections as a message of disruption, that is, the electorate not wanting a PP-led government. He once again ruled out an alliance with the party that came first in these elections, which is the PP.

Appealing specifically to Podemos, he spoke of policy proposals already approved by Ciudadanos. Amongst them, an emergency plan for 750,000 families in need, which would entail free water supply in households that is cut off and targeted welfare support.

Sánchez did not talk about cost-saving measures agreed upon with Ciudadanos, including streamlining local with regional government, thereby slashing local administration competencies from Spain’s 50 provinces.

PP has refused to join a three-way coalition in which Rajoy would not be the Prime Minister, placing instead a Socialist at the helm of the government, as Ciudadanos suggest. PP estimates that many of the voters of Ciudadanos will be “repatriated” to the center right in an event of new elections.

(El Pais, La Sexta, La Razon)

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