Can Spain make a fresh start under Sánchez?

In Spain the leader of the Socialists Pedro Sánchez has been appointed the new prime minister. His predecessor Mariano Rajoy was toppled by a no-confidence vote amidst a corruption scandal in which his conservative People's Party was deeply implicated. Commentators question whether a fresh start is really possible for Spain with Sánchez as leader.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Sánchez a representative of the old guard too

The Spaniards won't get a proper fresh start with Sánchez, NRC Handelsblad stresses:

“Sánchez likes to present himself as a modern socialist, but he's not a reformer. For a new generation of Spaniards Rajoy's PP and [Sánchez's] PSOE are too strongly symbolic of the old politics. ... The fact that members of both parties have been implicated in one corruption scandal after another underscores this image. Younger people are increasingly giving their vote to new parties like the liberal Ciudadanos and the radical left-wing Podemos. In this way Spain is no longer just divided into right and left, but also into young and old.”

Duma (BG) /

Iberian Peninsula can show Europe the way

After Portugal Spain too will now prove that left-wing policies aren't doomed to failure, Duma comments jubilantly:

“Sánchez has the chance to revolutionise Spain's political course. He'll probably have problems getting the Catalonia crisis under control. But the economy - Spain's other major problem - is likely to thrive under Sánchez after Rajoy's conservative austerity policy. Portugal has already proven that the mantra about the nasty socialists who always mess up everything and the good conservatives who clear up the mess isn't true. The Iberian Peninsula now finally has the chance to make its mark and show the rest of Europe that left-wing policies are the right policies. The time is ripe and we can only wish Pedro Sánchez success in his efforts!”

El Mundo (ES) /

New prime minister must first reassure Brussels

Sánchez must not be allowed to become a threat for Europe, El Mundo warns:

“It is only fair to acknowledge that Sánchez has always stressed his pro-European profile. And in the debate about the no-confidence vote, although he said little about his government programme because he didn't want to scare off the separatists, he did make it clear that he would respect our country's compromises with Brussels, starting with the deficit reduction target. Now he must prove this. One of the major efforts of Rajoy's first term in office was to ensure that, in the midst of the crisis, Spain was no longer seen as the sick man of Europe. And the Socialists now have the inalienable duty to maintain stability.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Time for a fresh start

Rajoy's defeat is a big opportunity for Spain, Dagens Nyheter believes:

“Paradoxically, Spain's economy is moving forwards. The growth rate is good and unemployment is going down, partly because Rajoy's legislation really has been effective. But the political chaos, in the shadow of the chaos in Italy, is now rocking the markets. A new election would be the logical course. Everything, from corruption to the economy and the Catalan separation attempt, must be put up for judgement. The voters have already abolished the old system. Now it's time to build a new one.”

Mérce (HU) /

Rajoy's departure will restore the people's trust

A change of government is sorely needed, Kettős Mérce comments:

“The immediate departure of the conservative government - and that is probably the most important consequence - will help convince the Spanish citizens that democracy and the representative system in which they have lost faith in recent decades still has a certain value. At least to the extent that they can ensure that a party which, as the judiciary has established, was corrupt on several occasions and lied - which has also been proven by evidence that is accessible to the public - doesn't stay one more day in government.”

ABC (ES) /

Sánchez's supporters want to tear Spain apart

Compared to the ordeal the country now faces the corruption in the PP would be the lesser evil, ABC believes:

“The Socialists' no-confidence vote was bolstered by grave mistakes on the part of the government and the PP. ... But [the Socialist leader and new prime minister Pedro] Sánchez is also backed by the [Basque] pro-Eta party Bildu. ... If the economic corruption weighs heavily, the moral corruption of PSOE, which has suppressed all scruples about not accepting anything from the apologists of terrorism, is even worse. Sánchez will also enter Moncloa with the support of the [Catalan] parties Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña and PDECat, which want to break with Spain and suspend the constitution, and which have elected a representative of xenophobic neo-fascism and racism as president of Catalonia.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Beware of a Frankenstein government

Diário de Notícias also isn't keen on the idea of PSOE leader Sánchez becoming head of government with the support of separatist parties:

“PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez not only wants to topple Rajoy, he also wants to become prime minister at any cost. And this 'at any cost' attitude is Spain's main problem right now. ... If the no-confidence vote prevails, we will already be talking of a [fabricated, patchwork] 'Frankenstein government', because the new majority in parliament would consist of a 'combination' of the protest party Podemos and Catalan and Basque nationalist parties. ... If the Socialists really do join the Basque and above all the Catalan separatist parties in this vote this will entail a tremendous risk for Spain.”