A new political era for Spain?

Agustín J. Menéndez casts doubts about the likelihood of the proclaimed 'new era' in Spain after the December elections.

Podemos celebrate 'the crack' of the bipartisanism in Spain (Adolfo Lujan/Flickr)

Menéndez provides four explanations for his caution in his comment on the Italian economic blog Sbilanciamoci.info.

First, bipartisanism is injured but not dead, as the two leading parties got half of the votes – and will get two thirds of the seats in the deputy chamber. Although a big coalition is not impossible, it would be devastating for the socialists, and is rather unlikely.

Second, the right-wing lost less votes than one might have believed based on their unprecedented public sector and welfare cuts. The ’new’ party Ciudadanos ended up fourth despite a much better positioning in pre-election polls.

Third, the socialists lost major, and with leader Pedro Sanchez’ personal defeat in Madrid he could only be saved by taking up the post as Prime Minister. This would rely on a highly unlikely left coalition involving also Basque and Catalan nationalist parties.

Fourth, the expected Podemos 'shock' never materialized, although the party gained lots of votes in the big cities and its supporters were the only to celebrate the election results in the streets.

'The art of politics presupposes a capacity to change draws, or even partial losses, into victories', Menéndez writes. Thus the ensuing developments will very much depend on tactics. However, the most genuine and highest ambition of politics – that of succeeding in changing the state of current affairs – should also be present. To some extent, Podemos’ political programme goes in this direction, but the leadership of the anti-austerity party has lately been busier with communication efforts than with giving clarity on key issues, such as Spain’s relations with the European Union.

A new era will only come if the political actions of those intending to make a real change can unite tactics with political positions that radically break with the current and dominant model.

Un tempo nuovo per la Spagna? (full text in Italian)

Sbilanciamoci.info, 9 January 2015

Published Jan. 13, 2016 11:04 AM - Last modified Jan. 13, 2016 11:10 AM