Spain: shift to the right averted?

Francina Armengol of the socialist PSOE party has been elected by an absolute majority as the new speaker of the Spanish parliament - thanks to the seven votes of Carles Puigdemont's separatist party Junts per Catalunya. Can PSOE, led by Pedro Sánchez, now count on the support of the separatists? And what will this mean for the formation of a government and the future of the PP and Vox? Commentators take up the debate.

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The start of a promising legislative period is thrilled by such political skill:

“Incredibly good: with a single move, the progressive majority gains control of the presidency, divides the right, leaves Vox empty-handed, and PP leader Feijóo loses all support for asking the king [for permission to form a government]. More than that, the vote rehabilitates Carles Puigdemont for institutional politics and ends years of backlog in normalising the official languages in parliament. This could be the beginning of a legislative period in which the consequences of the [Catalan] struggle for independence are finally resolved politically.”

El Mundo (ES) /

A country learning to explore its limits

Sánchez has once again demonstrated his ruthlessness, writes El Mundo:

“Now the only question left is the government - whether and how Pedro Sánchez will be able to form one. ... How many obstacles will this man who holds the Spanish record for stepping on mines without losing his feet be able to overcome? ... Puigdemont knows this is his last trump card and is willing to further sully democracy with blackmail and insolence. ... This is a fascinating moment in which a country is learning to test more limits than expected. ... These years of adventure have turned Pedro Sánchez a politician who has cornered almost everyone. In a single round of cards he managed to isolate the messiah Alberto Núñez Feijóo and hang the dead body of Vox on his belt.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Relationship with separatists remains difficult

The Frankfurter Rundschau sees the possibility of Puigdemont's party colleagues also voting for Sánchez to become prime minister:

“But at what price? No one can say. Sánchez promises one thing today and does another tomorrow. Puigdemont knows that too. But Sánchez is a master of ambivalence. His current promise to the Catalan separatists: their 'political conflict' is to be 'delegalised'. Sánchez cannot override laws, he would have to have them changed - which would come up against constitutional limits. It's hard to imagine that Sánchez and Puigdemont will find happiness together.”

Mediapart (FR) /

Majority not a foregone conclusion

Pedro Sánchez's re-election is not a sure thing even with Armengol's victory, warns Mediapart:

“The investiture vote could take place in late August or early September. The outcome will once again depend on the attitude of Junts per Catalunya, or in other words Carles Puigdemont, who will decide whether Pedro Sánchez will continue to lead Spain or whether the country will have to hold new elections in the coming months. But it will also depend on [the separatist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya] ERC. Both Catalan formations made it clear that their voting behaviour on Thursday does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about their future position.”