Spain's conservatives win election

The conservative PP led by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has won the new elections ahead of the Socialists and the left-wing alliance Unidos Podemos. But just like half a year ago none of the parties has a clear majority and the country will find it difficult to form a government. Whether Rajoy can continue to govern depends on the Socialists - and on possible EU deficit sanctions, commentators believe.

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El País (ES) /

Let the conservatives govern now

The socialists should face the consequences of their election failure and allow a conservative Partido Popular government by abstaining, demands El Pais:

“After seven months Spain must finally move beyond political standstill. Striving for a new pact between the Socialists and Ciudadanos, which has fewer seats now than in March, has become impossible. Which is why the only option is abstention, and drawing a political benefit from this abstention. It's understandable that this move is no fun. But a party that has had to accept defeat on this sort of scale can hardly expect not to have to face some difficult decisions. And in any event the task now facing the Socialists isn't to stop a PP government but to form an alternative.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Rajoy's fate depends on EU lenience

Whether or not Rajoy gets another term in office is not dependent on majority structures, according to Sydsvenskan:

“Rajoy reminded voters that austerity measures moved the country out of the worst of the crisis. The financial situation of the state, he said, was proof of the success of the political reforms. ... In actual fact the state is still deeply in debt and Spain is threatened with EU deficit sanctions because not enough has been done to reduce the budget deficit. ... After the British referendum we will have to wait and see whether the Commission sticks to its hard line, with the support of a qualified majority of the member states. Rajoy will have to hope that the current situation in the EU - both economically and politically - turns out to be too complicated to allow a decision on sanctions against the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Victory for passiveness

After the election victory of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative PP author Najat El Hachmi comments as follows in the Catalan daily El Periódico de Catalunya:

“Many will have voted for Rajoy more out of fear of Podemos than because they think he did a good job in government. Not only has Unidos Podemos failed to take the lead against PSOE on the left, but the PP has gained considerable ground. This is inexplicable, like an implausible twist in the plot of a work of fiction. Neither the immobility of the last few months nor the empty agenda nor four years of cutbacks have had a negative impact on PP votes. … Not even the letter to Europe that Rajoy would continue to cut spending if necessary after the campaign made an impact. I imagine both the analysts and the pollsters are amazed, but it's clear that passiveness has won the day - the policy of doing nothing and just waiting for the storm to pass has produced good results.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Left government project in Spain fails

The dream of a leftist coalition between Unidos Podemos and the Socialist PSOE is over, Le Courrier sighs:

“The failure of Pablo Iglesias and Alberto Garzón to amass sufficient votes for Podemos and the United Left precludes the possibility of a progressive government. In view of the electoral statements by the Socialist candidate there was no more than a slight hope of that in any event, which also explains the weak voter turnout on the left. ... The option of a Podemos-PSOE government - modelled on the very successful municipal governments in Madrid and Barcelona - could have opened up fresh possibilities. That would have been particularly interesting today, when a progressive axis could have emerged from Lisbon to Athens over Madrid, ready to take advantage of the Brexit shock to put the European project on new footing.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Spanish election gives EU a reprieve

The fact that the left-wing Unidos Podemos alliance didn't increase its share of the vote in the Spanish election is good news in the eyes of La Stampa:

“Unidos Podemos may claim to be for Europe but the alliance campaigned on a platform that called EU regulations into question. … That puts the party in the same camp as the Brexit supporters. It is the camp that wants to destroy Europe. … Unidos Podemos may not be an ally of this camp like the French Front National or the Italian Movimento Cinque Stelle are, but it's certainly a good travelling companion - and that's enough in this war against the EU. … This time the pro-European centre of the traditional parties has withstood and survived the onslaught. But the threat of erosion has not been banished because it is not only in Britain that people are weary of the EU.”