After two general elections in under a year and a third on the horizon in December, Spain’s political deadlock could be coming to an end.
Pedro Sánchez has been ousted as leader of the Socialists (PSOE) by MPs within his party. Sánchez’ forced resignation could hand the keys of power to the Spanish centre-right party, the Partido Popular, led by the previous Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy.
Political impasse has gripped Spain since inconclusive elections in December 2015 and June 2016. Although Rajoy’s party won the most seats in both elections, they did not win enough seats to form a majority government. The issue of whether to allow Rajoy to form a minority government or to push for a third general election is one which has divided Socialists throughout Spain.
The political stalemate has toppled Sánchez, whose ratings are falling along with those of his party. As well as impeding attempts by the Partido Popular to form a minority government, Sánchez has refused to negotiate with Podemos, a new party who are also on the left but who have claimed 71 seats of the 350 available, having capitalised on dissatisfaction amongst Socialist voters regarding issues which have dogged Spanish politics for years, namely corruption.
With Sánchez gone, Socialists must decide between dusting themselves off and attempting to recover from their worst-ever election showing with a new leader in a third election or breaking the political deadlock by allowing a Rajoy minority government. Unless the new Socialist leader can find enough common ground with Podemos and other parties on the left to win an election, it seems probable that Rajoy will become Spain’s Prime Minister once again.
Want to know more about the political situation in Spain? In previous articles we explain why it has been so difficult to form a government and why the history of the Franco dictatorship still has a major influence today.