Spain to vote again

After months of political stalemate in which the parties were unable to agree on a government the Spaniards will return to the polling booths this Sunday. Polls show the left-wing alliance Unidos Podemos gaining ground but there is still no sign of a clear majority. Will the election bring Spain forwards?

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El Mundo (ES) /

It's the politicians who are failing, not the voters

With Spain's general election just around the corner Jorge de Esteban appeals to the country's politicians to show willingness to form coalitions in the daily El Mundo:

“The moment of truth will come the day after the election. For now all we know is that none of the parties will be able to form a government on its own and that the only solution will be to form a coalition in order to avoid a third election that would make Spain a laughing stock. George Bernard Shaw once commented ironically that democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. That statement may be true in general but I doubt that it applies in Spain's case. In our democracy it is not the voters who are failing but a political class which - with a few exceptions - is incapable of adjusting to the new social reality in which it will be difficult, not to say impossible, to achieve absolute majorities.”

Libération (FR) /

Spain facing a historic turning point?

The election could bring about real change in Spain, political scientist Manuel Cervera-Marzal writes in Libération:

“Although Mariano Rajoy's Partido Popular stands to emerge as the strongest party (with 29 percent of the vote), it is very isolated. None of the other three parties wants to compromise itself by allying with the departing government, which most Spaniards see as corrupt and in the service of the banks. The only option that can seriously be considered is a 'government of change' uniting the two forces of left, the PSOE and Unidos Podemos. For that, they must attain a total of 176 deputies between them. If they succeed, Spain would be on the verge of a historic change in direction. Europe too?”

La Razón (ES) /

Podemos dominates the election campaign

The left-wing socialist party alliance Izquierda Unida and the left-wing party Podemos have joined forces in an election alliance for Spain's parliamentary elections on June 26. The conservative daily La Razón is amazed at the way Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has managed to call the tune in the election campaign:

“The interesting thing about Podemos as a political phenomenon is that without any experience in parliament or government it is still dominating the playing field. It is even shaping the election strategy of the other parties and becoming a real threat for the Socialists, who have dominated the left for a century. Pedro Sánchez has turned out to be the Socialist leader most vulnerable to Iglesias' power games. His weakness is the consequence of a strategic disorientation that has prevented him from adopting a clear position by siding either with the 'anti-austerity' parties or with politicians like Renzi, Valls or the Social Democrats who support Merkel.”

20 minutos (ES) /

Sensible fight for the votes of the Indignant

Izquierda Unida and Podemos have announced their intention to form a joint list on Madrid's Puerta del Sol square, where the protest movement 15-M emerged on 15 May 2011, almost five years ago. A clever move, writes Arsenio Escolar, editor-in-chief of the free newspaper 20 minutos, in his blog:

“Videos of Pablo Iglesias [Podemos] and Alberto Garzón [Izquierda Unida] end with an image of the two in a bear hug on the Puerta del Sol. Just a few days before the fifth anniversary of the creation of 15-M they have announced their plans to form a joint platform for the elections on 26 June. ... In the coming days we will see more such gestures and more such media coups surrounding this anniversary. And even more gestures that highlight the similarities and differences of the two electoral allies. Will they be reflected in the outcome? No doubt they will.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Long live the repeat election

The first repeat election in Spain's history is not a fiasco but a reason to rejoice, stresses the Spanish journalist Miguel Angel Belloso in Diário de Notícias:

“The formation of a left-wing government in Spain is now less likely than before. Why is this a reason to rejoice? Well, first of all because the agreement between Socialist leader Sánchez and Rivera of the protest party Ciudadanos, which doesn't know whether it's on the left or the right, not only foresaw a 20-billion-euro hike in public spending but also the revision of a labour reform that has created 900,000 jobs in the last two years. … As well as the revival of a financially unsustainable welfare state. … Therefore we Spaniards should celebrate - or in other words do exactly the opposite of what the oh-so-sensible commentators of the conventional media are doing, who are so fond of talking about the supposed great fiasco of the repeat election.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Protest parties have no solutions either

The political deadlock in Spain is proof that the protest parties have no better solutions to offer than the established ones, the Vienna-based daily Der Standard comments:

“Now all the parties are entering the new electoral race with a considerable handicap: not just the conservatives and the Socialists but also the parties that carried the hopes of many Spaniards - Podemos und Ciudadanos ... They have all proven that they are good at using the voters' will as an argument but not at actually dealing pragmatically with that will. If you can't call the shots on your own you have to make compromises. … But Spain is just one example of the political upheaval in Europe. The election victories of Syriza in Greece, Grillo in Italy, the AfD in Germany and the FPÖ here in Austria are symptoms of the fact that old-school politics has had its day. Recognising this, formulating the protest and channelling it so as to gain as many votes as possible is the easy part. But the ability to solve the problems is what the parties will be judged by.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

What if voters don't change their minds?

The Spaniards will suffer the consequences of the failed government formation talks in the coming months, El Periódico de Catalunya fears:

“The first consequence will be that for at least seven months we have to live with a caretaker government that can't take any major decisions in a country beset by problems in all areas. ... The economic crisis is not over yet; the public finances are in a disastrous state; the social rift is widening; the pension coffers are emptying; the territorial problem, primarily with Catalonia, is dragging on and on and corruption is rampant. With the return to the ballot the parties are effectively telling the voters, without saying it out loud, that they made the wrong choice and that they should rethink their vote. But what happens if most voters stick by their previous decision? Will there be a third election?”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Deadlock will continue

Fresh elections won't clarify the balance of power in parliament, Il Sole 24 Ore predicts:

“The December election gave the country a parliament more divided than ever before. In the more than four months that have passed since then the parties never even came close to agreeing on a stable government. … Podemos's line was unambiguous and irreconcilable from the start: party leader Iglesias stressed that he wanted to reach an agreement but only if he was allowed to dictate the terms. … Whether new elections will provide a way out of the impasse remains uncertain. … The observers from Barclays Research predict that the parliament will remain fragmented but that the pressure on the major parties to form a government - probably without Podemos - will grow.”

More opinions

El Confidencial (ES) / 28 April 2016
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