AS the general elections approach on December 20, many in the ruling PP party have already recognized that they may not win a clear majority to stay in power.
The latest polls show that Prime Minister Rajoy might need the help of the up-and-coming centre-right force, Ciudadanos, if he intends to govern for a second term.
Ciudadanos (Citizens), which grew from a Catalan conservative citizens movement 10 years ago to a budding political party, has been gaining strength in many regions as PP moderates sway towards its side.
Ciudadanos’ charismatic leader Albert Rivera seems intent on splitting the PP to leave behind the harsh right-wing remnants from the Franco regime, which have guided public policy since Rajoy has been in office.
His strategy could work if he publicly came out and denounced many of the party’s political shortcomings and antiquated thinking. But that may not happen.
Political partnerships are the products of negotiations and silence. The PP has already spread the word that it won’t broker any change of leadership within the party.
In other words, Rajoy is the only candidate for prime minister and there won’t be any challenges against him.
Rivera may not have the political savvy to become prime minister, but he is coy enough to push the PP into some tough talks if he intends on forming a pact.
The conversations will no doubt center on power-sharing and policy.
One sticking point where Rivera won’t budge however, are the issues of corruption and cronyism – problems that have plagued the PP for decades.
Ciudadanos wants tighter measures to ensure that former officials are brought to justice.
The problem with this demand is that there will a lot of collateral damage within the PP itself.
This, no doubt, is a situation that Rajoy does not want to find himself dealing with.