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Spain remains ungovernable: elections for new government on June 26

Thursday, April 28th 2016 - 07:11 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The King said Article 99 of Spain’s constitution would take effect, which calls for the dissolution of parliament and new elections if no government is formed The King said Article 99 of Spain’s constitution would take effect, which calls for the dissolution of parliament and new elections if no government is formed
Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez said his party accepted 27 of the 30 points proposed by Compromis, and said it was willing to negotiate on the others. Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez said his party accepted 27 of the 30 points proposed by Compromis, and said it was willing to negotiate on the others.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said “Sanchez has said too many no’s to the proposals of his grouping Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said “Sanchez has said too many no’s to the proposals of his grouping

Spain will hold a repeat of national elections in June following the failure of a last-ditch effort by King Felipe VI to prod bickering Spanish politicians to form a new government. The King chose not to ask any candidates he interviewed this week to try to form a government and break a stalemate that has left Spain with a caretaker government in the wake of inconclusive elections in December.

 The meetings, the third round of talks the king has held with political leaders, were the last chance to come to some kind of agreement before a May 2 deadline. But the conversations only resulted in further recriminations among the party leaders, who blamed each other for making Spain ungovernable.

Late Tuesday, the monarch said Article 99 of Spain’s constitution would take effect. That calls for the dissolution of parliament and new elections if no government is formed two months after the first parliamentary vote on seating one. The new elections will be held on June 26.

Due to voter anger over high unemployment and corruption scandals, upstart or minor parties won nearly 40% of the seats in December, leaving the two establishment parties, the conservative Popular Party and the Socialists, too weak to form a government. The small regional Compromis coalition made a last-minute proposal for a governing alliance involving the Socialists, the far-left party Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos party.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez said his party accepted 27 of the 30 points proposed by Compromis, and said it was willing to negotiate on the others. But that wasn’t good enough for Compromis or Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, who said “Sanchez has said too many no’s.” Mr. Sanchez shot back that “Iglesias has closed the door and padlocked it shut.”

Mr. Sanchez said the king had asked political parties to keep the June campaigns austere and positive to avoid further irritating crisis-racked Spaniards. Nevertheless, the political tone has already taken a nasty turn.

In recent public events, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Popular Party, which got the most votes in December, has eschewed conciliatory rhetoric and begun sounding more like a candidate for re-election.

On Sunday, he lashed out at the Socialists and Ciudadanos party for rejecting his offer to form a national unity government with himself at the helm. He said that instead of entering a “moderate” and “sensible” governing alliance, the opposition parties had lost weeks in “meetings, back and forth talk, [and] photo opportunities.”

He saved his harshest words for Ciudadanos, a business-friendly party that vies with the Popular Party for votes. He said Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera shunned the Popular Party because he is “dedicated to a candidate of another party and his program.”
Ciudadanos and the Socialists had reached an agreement to share power in a new government, but their pact fizzled after losing a vote of confidence in parliament in March.

Mr. Rivera says Mr. Rajoy has been obstructionist and is only concerned with preserving his power.

Most polls suggest that the outcome in June wouldn’t be much different than the last one, with the Popular Party leading the pack. Nevertheless, political analysts say that electoral history suggests absenteeism would increase in a second vote, as a steady stream of corruption scandals continues to foul the national mood.

Spain isn't the only Euro zone member in search of a government after inconclusive elections. Ireland is experiencing its longest period without a government as negotiations between Fine Gael—which led the outgoing coalition—and its similarly center-right rival Fianna Fail grind on 60 days after a late February vote.

The meetings, the third round of talks the king has held with political leaders, were the last chance to come to some kind of agreement before a May 2 deadline. But the conversations only resulted in further recriminations among the party leaders, who blamed each other for making Spain ungovernable.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • ChrisR

    Oh, jolly dee!

    The Spaniard 'politicians' seem about the same mental age as The Broad Fraud we have in Uruguay: 10 YO.

    Spain in a spin then!

    Ha, ha, ha, it seems the King has more sense the lot of them put together.

    Apr 28th, 2016 - 12:28 pm 0
  • Briton

    Perhaps Spain should consult the help and advice from one of its offspring,

    Argentina has been ungovernable for years.

    Apr 28th, 2016 - 07:02 pm 0
  • Marti Llazo

    Now would be the time for Catalunya to slip out the door.

    Apr 28th, 2016 - 09:16 pm 0
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