Guy Hedgecoe | Fixation with electoral numbers is one of the most unhealthy obsessions of contemporary Spanish politics. It’s a mindset that places enormous emphasis on victory at the ballot box, in the belief that it will bring with it not just political power, but moral righteousness.
Mr Rajoy has appointed his new cabinet ministers on Friday. When we talk about governance in Spain, with what is clearly a minority government, the socialist party’s participation in this future looks inevitable. And only then will we witness its capacity for reinvention and getting past the slogans.
Despite the threats and risks gripping Spanish politics and the economy, it doesn’t seem that foreign investors are particularly worried for the time being. At least that is what the figures for foreign investment in Spain indicated, both in terms of direct and property investment. It looks as if venture capital disbursement in Spanish companies has hardly suffered, not due to a lack of interest but because the operations being considered were not yet mature.
As we have already said there are moments when the economic and political cycles don’t go hand in hand. Yesterday, the investiture of caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy got underway, with very slight possibilities of his being able to win enough votes to return to office with a majority. But the Ibex 35 blue chip index didn’t even move: in fact it posted a nearly 1% gain.
Alarm bells are sounding across Europe over the possibility of Spain being a year without a government. Even the international press is calling for an end to the political deadlock in its editorials. But the concern has yet to reach the markets: the day before the start of a new investiture process in Spain, which could end in failure, the country’s risk premium remained below 100 basis points and the Ibex 35 blue-chip index lost hardly any ground, in line with the performance of its European peers.
Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will this afternoon make his investiture speech to parliament, ahead of a key vote on Wednesday to secure support for his conservative Popular Party to form a new government. The PP have already brokered an agreement for breaking the current political deadlock with centre-right party Ciudadanos, led by Catalonian lawyer Alber Rivera. As a result, Rajoy can probably rely on the support of 170 MPs. But he needs 176 votes (out of a total of 350) if the PP is to win an absolute majority.
It’s embarrassing that the PSOE is saying the labour reform has been negative and that the PP is promising to lower taxes when Spain has to negotiate new spending cuts with Brussels.
MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | Podemos, the brand-new radical movement, is capitalizing on corruption scandals and crisis side-effects to wreak havoc on traditional parties. The socialists are rapidly losing support while the former communists face utter implosion. Even the centre-right Partido Popular is losing its grip as Podemos promises to lure many of its disenchanted voters. Syriza’s victory is bolstering their chances of snatching a substantial representation in the upcoming regional and local poll and will likely hold a key position for the ensuing power-sharing. Much will depend on how wisely they use their strength to secure their ultimate goal of overhauling the current bi-partisan control in the general election due to take place at the end of the year.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | Last month, I warned about the serious political problem in Spain, which was (and is) focused on the Catalonian crisis and the rise of the new political party Podemos. Both could disrupt the political system and kill off imperfect bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the economy was starting to show some signs of improvement. In November, the perception that the economy is improving while politics are worsening has increased and multiplied. It is difficult to argue with the fact that the economy is going better than last year.
BARCELONA | By Joan Tapia | The emergence of the leftwing party Podemos (We Can) and the ghost of a forthcoming political instability weight more on Spanish politics than an unquestionable economic improvement (which is too slow and risky). Anyway the advantage of the conservative Popular Party (PP) in power compared to the Socialist Party (PSOE) was reduced during summer from 8.8 to 3.6 points.