Sunday

9th Aug 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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

What's behind the sudden political unrest in Bulgaria?

Demonstrators are demanding prime minister Boyko Borissov and chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev resign, following a raid on the president's office. President Rumen Radev has been a vocal critic of the government and its record on graft.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU wary of violence in Belarus election
  2. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  3. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  4. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  5. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  6. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  7. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  8. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us