Current Affairs

Politics in turmoil: The UK isn’t alone.

The political insecurity in Spain is getting desperate.

You would be forgiven in thinking that the UK are having a political crisis so grand that the rest of Europe is laughing at us. Not so, especially when you look at Spain’s ensuing disaster: there is still no permanent Prime Minister, despite having an election earlier this year. The biggest problem is that there is a clash of socialist ideas and approaches, something which has failed to amount to a permanent government. The biggest party in the Spanish congress, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), form the current administration, as the biggest party-but without a majority. This is crucial, as without a coalition, there is no stable government to meet the allocated deadline of September 23. The PSOE’s target party is Podemos, another party who have strong roots with socialism, but who demand certain ‘wants’ in order to facilitate the possibility of a minority coalition.

‘They would see this as a betrayal of a relatively young constitution

Centre-right political parties are adamant that Sánchez stays away from Catalan independence parties.

Yes, a minority coalition. The current acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had won the April elections but with Podemos, they would still be some eleven seats short. This means that Sánchez would have to rely upon Basque independents in the congress, which would allow him to avoid falling under the influence of the Catalunya independent parties. The question over Catalunya has had a huge effect on Sánchez’s position, with pressure from centre right parties effectively built around the worry of an independence pact being formed. They would see this as a betrayal of a relatively young constitution (ratified 1978) and the breakup of a country that presided in an oppressive dictatorship for a large chunk of the 20th century. They do not want to see a threat of a breakup of a democratic Spain so early into this century, which they fear a pact would more than threaten to do.

The left of Spanish politics has been caught up in a battle for cabinet positions, and with the PSOE initially offering no departments to Podemos’ selected group of potential ministers, an agreement is yet to be reached. Podemos, led by Pablo Iglesias, want ministry jurisdictions and not to be left out in the cold. They fear no government roles would essentially tie them into an agreement with little breathing space, and minimal influences of policy choices. Although they do not want to tie themselves in to a bad agreement, they aren’t walking away, as they realise that this is the best opportunity for them to have power since their 2011 inception. It is a stalemate, and this lack of concessions is leading to a potential second Spanish election of the year- which could lead to yet more uncertainty.

The two leaders will meet again over the course of September to find an agreement that could allow for a government to form, but much like the approaching Brexit deadline, there is little to time to waste. Sánchez has been rejected twice before, and this month is the indicative period for his political future but also for the sustainability of the constitution. It has to be noted that the former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy was ousted last summer over corruption charges within his own party, a signal strong enough to project the displeasure around Spanish politics today. To combat this, the acting prime minister has attempted to lay out over 300 new policy proposals to form a coalition ( El País) and some key ‘ministry’ promises for the party. The response has been muted so far, with Iglesias saying that he will analyse the contents of the proposal further. The rest is yet to be seen, and if no deal can be reached, a new election is scheduled for November 10.

‘Negotiation’ seems to be the money word at the moment- and no wonder.

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