Spain Holds General Election

Spain is the fifth largest economy in the EU behind Germany, the UK, France and Italy. Unemployment is currently at 14.7%, having recovered from a Global Financial Crisis/European Sovereign Debt/Property crash high of just under 27% in Q12013. Inflation currently stands at 1.5%.

Spain went to the polls in a snap election on Sunday, with the ruling Popular Party (PP, conservative) suffering a loss of support due to a corruption scandal. There has been a rise in support for parties to the right, politically, of PP with a far-right populist party Vox gaining support. The poll was the third general election in the last four years.

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The outcome of the poll was that support for PP crumbledfrom 137 seats to just 66, allowing the socialist PSOE to take most seats in parliament, but fall short of a majority. PSOE gained 29% of the vote and took 123 seats, giving it the right to form a government. It also took control of the upper house, taking 123 senators with PPs representation crashing from 130 to 56. The lower house, the congress of deputies, has 350 members.

The Vox party enjoyed a breakthrough, taking 24 seats in the lower house, entering parliament for the first time. PSOE needed to secure 176 seats to govern as a majority, so it must either enter into a coalition or attempt to rules as a minority government. The matter is complicated because with the support of its allies in Podemos, PSOE would still only have 165 seats. It is unwilling to go into a formal coalition government with separatist Catalan deputies since this would open it to attacks that it was giving its blessing to the cession of Catalonia. Under its leader, Pedro Sanchez, it seems more probable that PSOE will attempt to rule as a minority administration, relying on the informal support of the separatists and other left-wing groups. Only time will tell if this can lead to stable government in Spain.

Dr. Mike Campbell is a British scientist and freelance writer. Mike got his doctorate in Ghent, Belgium and has worked in Belgium, France, Monaco and Austria since leaving the UK. As a writer, he specialises in business, science, medicine and environmental subjects.