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.
Spanish politics until recently had been characterised by the political intrigue resulting from indecisive elections. At first the shift change in politics was between the old major parties and the new populist forces of the Left and Right. After the PP managed to remain in power after the second general election in June 2016, the Left have attempted to revitalise their grassroots campaigning. The latest example of this took place last week when PSOE and Podemos joined the CCOO and UGT unions for a protest through the streets of Madrid. Approximately 30,000 people attended the protest in the Spanish capital against government spending cuts.
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.