Spain’s Right’s Desperate Socialists Alliance

Winner of the legislative elections on July 23 but unable to form a government, the leader of the People’s Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, calls on Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party to support him rather than work with the separatists. A scenario that is unlikely to succeed.

Right-wing politician seeks a coalition to govern Spain, at all costs and even if it means forging an unlikely alliance with the socialists. Having won the legislative elections on Sunday July 23, the leader of the People’s Party (PP) Alberto Núñez Feijóo does not however have an absolute majority, including the bloc formed by his party and the far-right formation Vox, carried by more than favorable polls, could dream. And he seems unable to form a coalition government supported by a relative majority, because the autonomist and separatist parties, in the position of kingmakers the day after the election, categorically refuse the prospect of a rapprochement with the nationalists of Vox. The Basque Nationalist Party, in which the conservative leader still had some hope, also declined.

Cornered, Alberto Núñez Feijóo therefore fell back on a surprising proposal: an agreement with the Socialist Party (PSOE) of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, which he nevertheless continued to attack throughout the campaign, promising to put an end to “sanchism”. The Socialists are now the second political force in the country by number of deputies, but are better placed than the PP to build a government, with the help of their allies from Sumar (radical left) and, if the negotiations are successful, the Basque parties and Catalans.

Pact between “state parties”

“Our country cannot be subjected to the separatists,” protested the right-wing leader, former president of the Galicia region, on Tuesday. And to defend the idea of a pact between “the state parties, which won votes” during the elections. Understand: the PP and the PSOE, rather than the defenders of the independence of Catalonia, in sharp decline (the four regional constituencies were won by the Socialists). The Conservative wants to start negotiations at the beginning of August. An approach supported by Nicolás Redondo Terreros, Basque socialist leader at the beginning of the century, who called on Pedro Sánchez to “rise to the height” of the circumstances by concluding an agreement of “moderation and centrality” with his rival.

It would be enough for the Socialists to abstain to allow Alberto Núñez Feijóo to become Prime Minister. “But that won’t happen and he knows that very well. Alberto Núñez Feijóo wants to show his constituents and his party that he is not doing anything, that he has not given up. But Spain does not have a tradition of a grand coalition between left and right, as may exist in Germany or Austria. There is no chance of that happening,” says Pablo Simón, professor of political science at Carlos III University in Madrid. In Spain’s recent history, conservatives and socialists have never governed together at the national level. Only in 2016, after ten months of political paralysis and painful internal rifts within the party, did the Socialists agree to abstain from the vote for the nomination of conservative Mariano Rajoy, thus avoiding the holding of the third legislative elections in a year. “These were exceptional circumstances,” recalls Pablo Simón.

“Make deals with enemies”

Failing to rally the leadership of the PSOE, the right could be tempted to bet on the withdrawal of a handful of deputies reluctant to an alliance too expensive paid with the independence parties – five or six would be enough to obtain a relative majority. “If the PP achieves this, Vox will not stand in the way, in order to avoid a government of national destruction,” says a spokesperson for the far-right party. A “totally impossible” scenario, retorts the number two of the government, Félix Bolaños. “To hide its failure, the PP plays to make believe that Alberto Núñez Feijóo can prevent the investiture of Pedro Sanchez”, he says.

Because the current Prime Minister seems to be the only one able to put together a coalition. For him, the challenge is essentially to convince the seven Catalan deputies of Junts to support him, or at least not to vote against him. A challenge: the independence party calls for the organization in the region of northern Spain of a referendum on self-determination. “Pedro Sánchez will take advantage of this month of August when the Spaniards are on vacation to conclude agreements with the enemies of Spain” and “sell the nation”, already accuses Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the community of Madrid and figure center of the PP.

This article is originally published on liberation.fr

 

Previous post Former Gov Official Joins Council Of Europe
Next post Wednesday Morning News: Mediterranean Flames & New Caledonia