Spain’s general election sees shocking collapse of the country’s centre-right

PSOE rally, Spain elections.
John McEvoy

On 28 April, Spain’s governing Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) won the country’s snap general election with 123 of 350 seats and roughly 30% of the vote. This share of the vote, however, is short of a majority. Latest reports suggest that the PSOE might attempt to govern Spain with minority rule, forming voting coalitions on a case-by-case basis. However, it’s still possible that it may form a majority coalition combining national and regional parties.

A win against authoritarianism

Spain’s PSOE campaigned on a platform of economic justice, as well as support for a Green New Deal. After the election victory, PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez told crowds that his party’s win sends “a message to the world that it’s possible to win against regression and authoritarianism”. There are, nonetheless, major question marks hovering over Sánchez’s foreign policy.

PSOE’s platform shifted to the left to gain support from potential Podemos voters. As journalist Owen Jones wrote:

Labour MP Clive Lewis claimed that the election suggests that the choice is now “socialism or barbarism”:

Rise of the far right

Despite the fact that more than half of all voters voted for left-wing parties, some news outlets have focused principally on the rise of Spain’s far-right Vox party. Many were disappointed with the weighting of the BBC‘s coverage of the elections:

In fact, the collapse of Spain’s mainstream right is perhaps the most shocking element of this election. The right-wing Popular Party (PP) lost a no-confidence vote in May 2018, and has now recorded its worst election results in history. Its seat share is down to 66 from 137 just three years ago.

This infographic shows how drastically the PP’s (blue) support has collapsed:

Spain’s Vox party did nonetheless make historic and extremely worrying gains. The far-right party won 24 seats, vowing:

not only to quash the secessionist challenge in Catalonia but also to recentralize Spain by removing the power of its regional governments.

On 25 April, Open Democracy revealed that a Donald Trump-linked organisation was “working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right”. The organisation, CitizenGo, is reportedly pumping “dark money” into far-right campaigns across Europe, including Vox, and is known for online petitions:

against same-sex marriagesex education and abortion – and for driving buses across cities with slogans against LGBT rights and “feminazis”.

In other news

Meanwhile, Spain’s animal rights party Pacma, which formed as a campaign against bullfighting, gained its largest ever tally of votes.

And in Catalonia, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party topped the regional vote with 15 seats. The PSOE may call on the ERC to form a majority government, in which case the Catalan republicans will try to force the Spanish government to give official blessing to an independence referendum. The issue of Catalonian independence has dogged Spanish politics for decades, though the crisis came to a head in 2017 when Catalonia unilaterally declared independence from Spain.

Many on the left will be hoping that PSOE aligns with Spain’s progressive parties, rather than make concessions to Spain’s largely deflated centre-right.

Featured image via YouTube – Sky News

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  • Show Comments
    1. What an up to date article. It may take the BBC another 10 years to report what happened as the map shown by Xavi Ruiz has no confusion about it all.
      Saying the BBC is propaganda isn’t a fair assessment on how insular, and narrow minded it has become in reporting outside of its comfort zone, the UKTory Platform of Reborn Thatcherism.
      Rees- Moog has no idea about the Irish Border says the Irish leader. Being Irish he would know.
      Propaganda is more clever than this sad shrunken mental state of the BBC, as the Americans with their illegal dark money is the modern propanganda., and beyond shrunk for having a vision of humanity.
      It so in contrast with the beautiful day I look out upon.

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