Spanish Political Merry-Go-Round


Today I am starting a series of blog posts about politics.

I know. Hardly in the spirit of an old dad’s blog about bringing up a young child but here’s the thing…

Three General Elections in One Year?

In just over 15-years time Dani will be eligible to vote…. Now that could be in as little as 3 elections time (in the UK for example the second to last government declared a 5-year fixed term.) Currently the Spanish parliament can run for a maximum of 4 years; but that could also change.

That said and as incredible as it may seem, in Spain they are on course for their third general election in 12 months (this coming December). And they may still not have a government. Crazy eh? How did this happen and why?

Above all these parties will shape the future for Spain and for Dani.

How do you explain it all to a child who is old enough to understand the political system? I intend to start my own investigations into this. At least Dani can read all this stuff when he is old enough. I very much doubt that history will tell the whole story but I intend to. Or at least try.

Over the next week or so I intend to visit the offices of the four main parties: Partido Popular (PP), Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), Ciudadanos and Podemos. I am more than a little intrigued as to what I might find.

What may happen…

If December’s general election does not provide a government then I have no doubt that the EU (more specifically the German chancellor Angela Merkel) will appoint a prime minister and tell the rest of the politicians to accept it – which of course they will. Such is the politics of the EU and more specifically the Eurozone. It will not be the first time or even the second. In recent years similar things have happened in Italy (at least twice), Greece (at least twice), Portugal and Belgium – the home of the EU and a country that went over 2 years without an elected government.

I intend to confirm those details but if you have any knowledge of what has been going on in these countries you will know that I am not far off the mark.

The PR system…

One possible problem is the electoral system. In Spain they have a Proportional Representation (PR) system. Considered to be The Holy Grail for some of the political classes. Unfortunately with such a system this present stalemate can be the result. On the other hand, if such a system was in place in the UK a similar stalemate would have saved us all from a decade and a half of the Blair project. There was a man, elected by just over 30% of the electorate but with a huge majority in parliament which gave him a mandate to do just about whatever he wanted – including the odd dodgy war or two. Under the UK electoral system unfortunately it did give him such a mandate. When the Blair era finally came to an end that same system gave the UK a shared coalition government which nobody actually voted for or wanted. Food for thought eh?

In the next instalments I will examine the main political parties and players in this farcical Spanish election merry-go-round.

Stop Press:

What a coincidence! While I have been preparing this post the main opposition party (the left of centre socialist part – PSOE) has imploded. Very similar to the Labour party in the UK there has been serious infighting and multiple resignations. I had intended visiting the PSOE headquarters today. With all the turmoil in that party at the moment I am not sure there will be anyone there willing to give me any of their time. We shall see….

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