After Spain's election: blockade or dialogue?
Spain's social democratic PSOE party has won a clear victory in the general election but falls short of a majority even together with the left-wing Podemos party. The conservative coalition formed by the People's Party PP, the centre-right Ciudadanos and the far-right party Vox also failed to achieve a majority. Some observers see this as a worrying starting position for the formation of a government. Others see the outcome as a hopeful sign for Spain's future.
Separatists gaining too much influence
Since Prime Minister Sánchez will be dependent on the votes of left-wing separatist parties in Catalonia and the Basque country these will have too much influence, ABC fears:
“The success of ERC and Bildu in the Basque country strengthens the left axis and paves the way for a radical government influenced by separatism just as the trial on the Catalan independence referendum is entering its second phase. The pressure on the public prosecutors and the debate over pardons will be on the agenda once more for Sánchez because he needs the votes. The result of the election of April 28 will provide worrying lessons for Spain.”
Far right making in Spain
The Süddeutsche Zeitung is concerned about the success of far-right party Vox, which won parliamentary seats after securing around ten percent of the vote:
“In a counter-reaction to Catalan nationalism, Spanish nationalism has also increased. There is now a relevant party on the far right which dreams of past glories and incites hostility towards migrants and separatists. Spain must now reckon with xenophobic debates like those in Central Eastern Europe. In view of the fragmented party system, the stability the country sorely needs is once again nowhere in sight. Only one thing is for sure: after Sunday's elections Spain is anything but an island of the blessed.”
Time to reach out a hand
De Standaard looks back on the disruptions that have dogged Spain over the last ten years:
“The financial crisis was a cluster bomb both for society and for the political system. To the left of the Social Democratic PSOE, Podemos saw the light. Then the centre-right Ciudadanos shifted things significantly to the right. In Catalonia, pragmatic patriotism became radical separatism. ... In reaction, Vox emerged from nothing in the rest of Spain and made it into parliament. In this way one nationalism feeds on the other. ... Now the question is whether this election will overcome this polarisation. There is cause for optimism. After an election campaign full of lies, abuse and vetoes, the parties that were the most open to dialogue took the day. Now is the time to reach out a hand, engage in discussion and make compromises.”
Sánchez deserved this victory
Pedro Sánchez has managed to push through some important popular measures despite having a minority government, Index points out explaining his victory:
“He has appointed more women than men as ministers. He raised the minimum wage, adjusting it to inflation. He allowed the rescue vessel Aquarius to dock in Spain. ... He initiated the process of exhuming ex-dictator Francisco Franco's remains and removing them to a less contentious site. But the divisions in Spanish politics also worked to his advantage. While left-wing Podemos, the anti-austerity party, was preoccupied with its internal crisis the right concentrated on the Catalonia issue. So Sánchez was able to collect votes from the centre.”