Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

Spanish elections: 5th EU government to fall due to crisis

  • Spain gets ready to change course (Photo: cuellar)

With markets putting Spanish bonds in the cross-hairs, voters dismayed by the country's economic situation are expected to eject the incumbent government in parliamentary elections on Sunday (20 November).

Official opinion polls indicate a landslide victory for the opposition conservative People's Party (PP) who are set to win an absolute majority of anywhere between 190 and 195 places in the 350-seat lower house - their best result ever.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The incumbent Socialist Party (PSOE), in power since 2004, will according to the same polls not win more than 121 seats - their worst result ever.

The economy has dominated the campaign. PSOE is widely being held responsible for bad management of the global credit crunch that burst the country's housing bubble and put millions of people out of their jobs and, as a result, their homes.

Unemployment today is at 20 percent - the highest in the EU. Almost half of all young people have no work.

"Employment is the most crucial thing for Spaniards today. And the PP are considered to be better at creating employment," Belen Barreiro, director of Fundacion Alternativas, a think-tank in Madrid with close ties to the PSOE, told this website.

But it is less the case that traditional left-wing voters have switched to support the right. Rather, disillusioned with the austerity of PSOE, they are simply likely to stay home.

Mariano Rajoy, Spain's likely new prime minister, has remained vague about his policy plans but indicated that he will cut spending, liberalise the labour market and put in place "a shock plan for entrepreneurs", as he put it on Friday morning on Spanish radio.

"There are going to be specific measures from the start for entrepreneurs and there is going to be a clear message from the government that we're counting on them, with the help of the government, to steer us out of this crisis by creating employment."

His contender, current interior minister and vice-president Alfredo Perez Rubacalba, has all but predicted he will lose.

"I am worried that the right will take over with absolute power," he said in an interview published on Friday in Spanish newspaper El Paìs.

Judging from the sensation that became the "indignados" - a Spanish anti-austerity movement who inspired anti-establishment movements across the globe - Spanish voters have grown increasingly disillusioned with politics in general.

"If there is any party that is to be disadvantaged by this, it is the PSOE. Many indignados voted socialist before but will now vote blank or for one of the smaller parties. The PSOE, in their eyes, is part of the system," Barreiro noted.

Spain's traditionally bipartisan landscape is indeed likely to become more fragmented. The radical-left Izquierda Unida (United Left) will go from two to eight seats, according to polls. Several newly formed groups are expected to enter the lower house, with the left-wing Basque separatist Amaiur winning as many as three seats.

The Spanish government will be the fifth in the eurozone, after Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Italy, to fall as a direct result of the crisis. Elections were called earlier than scheduled after ratings agencies took to lowering the country's credibility rating.

Worries that Spain might become the fourth country in the eurozone to seek financial assistance were deepened this week when the cost of borrowing money briefly breached seven percent, the level at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to ask for rescues.

"I don't think we're going in that direction. We shouldn't exaggerate," Javier Zarzalejos of FAES, a think-tank related to the PP, told this website.

"After all, unlike the new governments of Greece or Italy, ours will have a comfortable majority and a broad democratic mandate. The future government of Spain will be the most stable government in Europe."

Mass strikes, protests hit Italy, Spain over EU-imposed austerity

Popular anger over Europe’s strategy of austerity for exiting the eurozone crisis spread to Italy on Tuesday as the country was paralysed by a general strike. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Italians poured into the streets of over a hundred cities and towns to protest what Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin demand.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights