Monday

27th Mar 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Poland snubbed twice in EU summit fiasco

[Updated] Poland tried and failed to block EU summit conclusions shortly after failing to block Tusk’s re-election as Council chief, prompting bitter accusations.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People