Elections to the Generalitat have thrown up a result that will only continue the ongoing political crisis. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament back in October by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Regional elections were scheduled to take place as a result of this invocation and Rajoy hoped that this would undermine the ability of separatists to claim that they were acting on behalf of the Catalan people. The election results, however, have thrown a spanner in the works as the Catalan people have endorsed parties opposed to the status quo.
Throughout the entirety of the Catalan independence push of the last few months, the Spanish state has said that all its actions against Carles Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders has been justified because they are enforcing the constitution. Whilst this is a true statement, it has become apparent that many people in Catalonia are opposed to some aspects of this constitution, especially in cases where its rigid enforcement can cause such bloodshed. The Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis has signaled that this impasse may be resolved by allowing greater direct democracy in the country.
On 1st October the people of Catalonia will go to the polls to vote on whether or not the autonomous community should secede from Spain. There have been many challenges to this process, chief among which is that it isn’t actually legal, but the Catalan government are treating it as politically binding despite the protestations of Madrid. There has been much talk about the political divisions between both the Catalan and Spanish governments, and Mariano Rajoy and Catalan politicians in a personal capacity. However there is an important aspect of this issue that has not been considered.
On 25th September there will be a vote in the Congress of Deputies. This vote will confirm who is to be the next Spanish Prime Minister. The problem is that after two separate elections, no party has a majority and coalitions haven’t been formed between different organisations. Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) is the largest in the Congress of Deputies but all other political parties have repeatedly said that Rajoy cannot be allowed to continue as Prime Minister. If this impasse isn’t broken the country may be on the verge of a third general election.
In December, Spain went to the polls to decide the composition of the Cortes Generales however this resulted in an election with no clear winner. After months of wrangling and negotiations, the time expired and new elections had to be called. The results are in, and nothing really changed. Spain’s second elections threw up results that still leave all parties and potential coalitions short of forming a government. Indeed for leftists, this election was a step backwards, and we need to re-evaluate our strategy in order to make substantive electoral progress in the near future.
At the end of 2015 the Spanish people went to the polls and the result was inconclusive. The centre-right Popular’s Party won the most seats but there were no parties that were willing to join them in a coalition government. PSOE, Spain’s centre-left party finished second and also couldn’t form a government. After weeks of intransigence a second general election was called and will be held on 26th June. The campaign has recently restarted but already there are lessons that can be learned for parties overseas.
In December 2015 the Spanish people went to the polls and the results were…inconclusive. The largest party was Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s centre-right Popular Party however they were 53 seats short of forming a majority government. All of the other parties refused to enable the PP to continue ruling as a senior member of a coalition, which would mean that the most likely outcome would be that Pedro Sánchez, the leader of centre-left PSOE, would be the next PM. Unfortunately for Sánchez the only route to do this would be to form a coalition with the centre-right Ciudadanos Party as well as the left-wing populists of Podemos. Spoiler alert, not much has happened.