Friday, 29 July 2016

Political Deadlock Extended as Spanish Socialists Reject Conservative Government Plan

Political Deadlock Extended as Spanish Socialists Reject Conservative Government Plan

Considering the political turmoil Spain is coping very well
Spaniards are thought of as being easy going when it comes to living in Spain and willing to just go with the flow. They can smile their way through summer and deal with tourists, they can find shade when the sun gets too much, and they can make the most out of any situation.

It’s probably why the Spanish people have such a disconnect with their politicians. The leaders of the country have been stuck in a political deadlock since last December with no one able to agree on who should be in charge. The country was forced to have another election last month and the end result was that there wasn’t much of a result.

Things were a little hopeful after the election in June. In the days following the election incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was left emboldened that his People’s Party increased their vote while the far-left Podemos Party saw their votes go down.

Things changed on Wednesday when the Socialists, currently the second biggest political party in Spain, said that they do not support Rajoy being the prime minister just as Rajoy was getting ready to go back to the job he’s had since 2010.

The leader of the Socialists, Pedro Sánchez ruled out a coalition between his party and the People’s Party even though he is on record saying he would do “whatever it takes” to avoid the need for a third election. Apparently joining forces with the centre-right PP is not something he can do after all.

Rajoy has been trying to convince the leaders of the smaller parties to group up and create a coalition with the PP but he’s not having an easy time doing it. This is because most of these smaller parties were created to fight the PP, not join up with them.

The alternative for these parties is the Socialists, who won the second-most number of votes in both elections. One option is for the Socialists could to join up with the liberal party Ciudadanos and Podemos. The problem here is that Ciudadanos only garnered the fourth-largest number of votes and won only 32 seats, which doesn’t equate to a lot of political clout.

Things were made worse for the socialists following the news that the leader of Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, said that he and his party would abstain in a confidence vote in a conservative government. He essentially said that if the PP were able to put together a majority government then he wouldn’t fight them.

Rivera said that he was keen to remove the deadlock and move forward and that he believes a technical abstention would be better than having a third election at this point. He also spoke of his hope that the other parties would feel the same way and do the same thing.

An abstention from Ciudadanos would mean that the PP would need to find 23 additional seats to support the 137 they won in the election in order to create a majority parliament. If the Socialists were to also abstain then the election would basically go to the PP but this seems unlikely given Sánchez’s feelings about the PP and Rajoy.

So Spain is still where they were last December. Well, the economy is doing better, as is the job market and the cost of living in Spain is still relatively low. In fact outside of the political deadlock the country is doing quite well. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they kept squabbling and let the country run itself.