Will Spain’s New Election Bring Political Stability—or Just Uncertainty?

Will Spain’s New Election Bring Political Stability—or Just Uncertainty?
Spain's acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, after meeting with King Felipe IV, Madrid, April 26, 2016 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

In late April, Spain’s King Felipe announced that new elections would be held June 26, six months after Spaniards went to the polls. No party won a majority in December’s elections, however, and months of negotiations failed to produce a viable ruling coalition.

The incumbent, conservative People’s Party (PP), led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, won the most votes—nearly 29 percent—but lost its governing majority and over one-third of its deputies in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies. The social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) took 22 percent of the vote, followed by the upstart left-wing Podemos with 21 percent. Another newly formed party, the right-leaning Ciudadanos, won 14 percent of the vote. No party was willing to make the necessary concessions in subsequent negotiations to form a coalition government.

The closest Spain came to a government since December was a proposal by the PSOE for a broad coalition with Podemos and Ciudadanos, but Podemos refused to join a coalition that included Ciudadanos. In an internal vote in April, 85 percent of Podemos party members rejected the deal, saying instead that they preferred a coalition with the Socialists and several smaller nationalist parties.

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