Back on December 20, Spaniards went to the polls to vote for local, regional and national representatives, including a new prime minister. Because no single party earned a majority of votes/seats in Parliament, leaders of the major parties have been negotiating—or not—to form a governing coalition and decide on the one candidate who will go forward as prime minister.
The long-standing moderate socialist party (PSOE) and the newer centrist party (Ciudadanos) negotiated a post-election coalition, but they didn’t get enough síes (or yeahs plus abstentions) in Parliament’s confirmation vote last week—something they knew ahead of time, which turned their official signing of a joint document into theatre.
My understanding is that there are now three options:
- The nascent coalition and the conservative party (PP)—the party that earned the most votes in the December elections—drop their posturing and work to form a viable coalition;
- The nascent coalition brokers a deal to form a coalition with the far-left party (Podemos) and a partido independista (a party that uses secessionist rhetoric to try and force unheard of regional autonomy);
- A new round of elections is held in May or June with the prospect of results similar to those from the elections in December.
In the meantime, Spaniards are justifiably frustrated and cynical. And some worry that internal politicking is corroding Spain’s stature within the EU and within the global economy.
I’m relieved to see (again) that the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on political dysfunction, and I’m disappointed to see (again) that where there are people, there is dysfunction.