Sunday, 26 June 2016

'En Comú Podem' wins in Catalonia and deadlock continues in Spain

CNA

Barcelona (CNA).- The political panorama in Catalonia and Spain remains the same as after the last Spanish Elections, in December 2015. Alternative left ‘En Comú Podem’ has won the Spanish Elections in Catalonia and obtained 12 MPs, the same result they got in December. Pro-independence left-wing ERC also repeated the same results as 2015, with 9 seats and CDC, which ran under the name ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ in the last Spanish Elections, also got the same result and obtained 8 MPs. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) added one seat to their 7 existing seats in the Spanish Parliament, the Conservative People’s Party (PP) got 6 MPs, one more than in the last Elections, and Spanish Unionist Ciutadans was the only party to lose a seat and has now 4 MPs. ‘En Comú Podem’, the winning party in Catalonia, gathers together members from Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, the Catalan branch of the Spanish party ‘Podemos’ and representatives from the 'En Comú' candidacies, with social activist and now Barcelona mayor Ada Colau as its strongest asset.

The PP is the choice of more than 7 million Spanish citizens and has obtained 137 MPs in the 350-seat Spanish Parliament, 14 more than what they got in the last Spanish Elections. Thus, current Spanish President Mariano Rajoy has seen his leadership endorsed.

Approximately 5.5 million Spanish opted for PSOE, which continue to be the second force in the Spanish Parliament with 85 MPs, 5 less than what they currently have. Alternative left ‘Podemos’, which opted for an alliance with left party ‘Izquierda Unida’, gained 3 MPs, totalling 71 seats in the Spanish Parliament. Finally, Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ registered the biggest decline and has now 32 MPs, 8 less than in the 20-D Spanish Elections. 

Agreements needed

With these results agreements to form government will still be needed, as none of the parties obtained the absolute majority of 176 MPs. There are two possibilities according to the arithmetic and ideological coincidences: a government formed by a coalition between PP and PSOE or an agreement between PSOE and ‘Podemos’.

PP - PSOE

Both parties represent the ‘establishment’ as they have alternated in the Spanish Government since 1982. They have been historic rivals and many PSOE representatives have insisted on the need to throw current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, out of government. However, their alliance would keep ‘Podemos’ out of government, the only Spanish party which foresees the possibility of holding a referendum on independence in Catalonia. During the negotiations which followed the last Spanish Elections, in December 2015, PP and PSOE held talks but they didn’t reach any agreement. Indeed, Rajoy accused PSOE of preferring to reach agreements with “radical” ‘Podemos’ and described a potential alliance between these two forces as “the worst thing for the Spanish citizens”. 

PSOE - ‘Podemos’

The Spanish Socialists and the alternative lefties have both pointed to PP as their mutual rival. Although ‘Ciutadans’ have been more reluctant to dismiss PP, they have described themselves as “a force of change” and have expressed their opposition to investing Rajoy as President. However, despite the ideological differences amongst them, the main point of disagreement is Catalonia and the territorial conception of the Spanish state. 

‘Podemos’ have softened their conditions regarding the need to hold a referendum in Catalonia. While in the negotiations carried out after the 20-D Spanish Elections ‘Podemos’ leader considered it “indispensable” and therefore a sine qua non condition to reach a governing agreement, now the party has admitted that there are no red lines. PSOE’s leader, Pedro Sánchez, repeatedly insisted that he “will say no” to a referendum in Catalonia and accused Iglesias of being “too stagnant” and forcing the country to call for new elections. 

‘Ciutadans’ position regarding Catalonia’s push for independence has been even more intransigent, rejecting the possibility of holding a referendum on independence and opting for an eventual reform of the Spanish Constitution

  • Domenech_i_Colau

  • Alternative left 'En Comú Podem' candidate for the Spanish Elections, Xavier Domènech, and Barcelona's Mayor Ada Colau (by ACN)

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