Spanish elections: A new political map

Mariano Rajoy

A Popular Party spokesman claimed on Sunday that they had won the local and regional elections. With 27% of the votes (ten points less that four years ago) the PP was indeed the most-voted party. They won two points over the Socialists, who have lost two  (from 27 to 25%) since 2011.

But that is not the most significant point. What matters is that the PP will lose very important slices of power in city councils and regions. Despite being the most voted in many places, they now have to pack up and move to the opposition. A new phenomenon for them which, if not analysed correctly, can lead to more painful defeats (namely November general elections).

With 5.5 million votes (one of the most mediocre overall results of their history), the Socialists will regain position even if they need to form coalitions with other forces. That will make governance complicated. The two new emerging parties, Podemos and Ciudadanos, emerged reinforced, with chances of governing in several large cities and joining the Socialists in various regions.

Spanish voters have decided to give the traditional political board a kick, open the door to new forces and put an end to absolute majorities. It is a new time for political agreements which Spaniards haven’t seen since the Transition to democracy in the late 1970s.

Spain is drawing a new political map with uncertainties and risk of instability. But at the same time, it is opening windows of opportunity after an economic and political crisis which deeply eroded the population’s confidence. Corruption cases, combined with the economic crisis, have fuelled an increase in unemployment and inequality which is punishing traditional political parties. A new era of political pacts will create fresh environments and scenarios for the November general elections.

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

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