The disappearance of Spain’s PSOE party

Spanish PSOE

I ask myself if PSOE’s possible – or likely – disappearance off the scene can happen so quickly: PSOE and Podemos are fighting for the same left-wing, anti-system ideology (there is nothing more anti-system than opposing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), however insignificant this might be with regards to the current situation). The CETA is no more than a matter of protocol of global importance, which is what interests politicians now. Rajoy could not hide his satisfaction with Pedro Sanchez’s stance against CETA, which would brand the PSOE as an anti-sytem party. Might it follow the same path as Izquierda Unida (IU) – for its part an embarassing epiphenomenon of the Communist Party – and end up begging to be allowed a little more protagonism?

The tie-up between IU and Podemos has progressed very much along the lines predicted: absorption, destruction, irrelevance, nullity. I suppose the PSOE still has more of a personality than IU. But the truth is that there is this internal force being drawn by a new leader towards the past, towards marxist and neo-marxist socialism, in other words, with the all the supporters from the present: extreme feminism, their corresponding quota, street brawls, etc, etc. And their NO to Europe and to the euro, which is what has given the most impetus today to the populism of the right and the left. I believe here’s where the clue is to the identity of this populism, anti-Europeanism, wherever it comes from.

They have benefited from the huge errors of the European bureaucracy, controlled by Germany, which has massively increased the consequences of the crisis. There is no possible mistake here: bad management of Europe, disastrous economy, the rise of populism. Europe has taken a lot longer than the US, something like three times as many years, to control the crisis and it still has a lot to do. Europe has revealed all its weaknesses. I blame the political heart of Europe, Merkel’s democratic right and the extinct social democracry, this niche left in the hands of populism which can destroy everything. Social democracy was the first victim. That said, it was already very bruised. It was well known that its objectives were contradictory, impossible from a financial point of view. There are no resources to maintain a pensions system against a backdrop of an ageing population and low growth. Debt is not sustainable. They have lost their electoral bases. The right is clearer about the limits, balancing the accounts, the red lines. Particularly the German right, which suffocates us with its excessive and rigorous daily quest for equilibrium, without leaving room to look at the longer term.

The PSOE, which governed during two terms of office with an atypical leader, Zapatero, is now so disorientated that it’s suffocating and looking to leftism for some air without any basis. It’s on the point of taking Pablo Iglesias’ bait, that a Grand Coalition against Rajoy is possible.

Its only instruction, almost, is that Rajoy has to be got rid off. If the PSOE falls into this trap, what happened to IU can perfectly well happen to them. In other words, in the first place, the sum of the votes of two parties is not equal to the result of both parties as Podemos + IU shows. PSOE + Podemos would certainly not obtain as many votes as the total between them at present. And secondly, when two parties are homogenised, there is a tough leadership battle, in which one of the leaders and their followers must disappear. This is inevitable. The least important issue is the acronym which remains, which I think would be that of PSOE. We are talking about a brand which has been around for a long time and has more votes potential.

*Image: Flickr/ PSOE

About the Author

Miguel Navascués
Miguel Navascués has worked as an economist at the Bank of Spain for 30 years, and focuses on international and monetary economics. He blogs in Spanish at: http://