SPAIN’S political parties are focussing their attention right now on the upcoming regional and local elections, which will be held across much of the country on May 28. But a general election is also due to be held this year, probably in December, and the outcome of that poll is likely to depend on what leftist parties decide to do.
The current government is a coalition of the Socialist Party and junior partner Unidas Podemos (Together We Can). However, the administration, led by Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, lacks a working majority and has had to rely on smaller parties – such as the Catalan Republican Left – to pass legislation.
To complicate the political scenario even further, the current deputy prime minister and labour minister, Yolanda Díaz of Podemos, has launched a leftist electoral platform called Sumar. The idea is to bring together the smaller left-leaning parties into the bloc.
However, Unidas Podemos has so far stopped short of joining Sumar, and it is unclear whether it will run solo or whether it will join forces with Diaz.
A survey published this week by Spanish newspaper El Pais, and carried out by private pollster 40dB, considered these two different scenarios: Sumar and Unidas Podemos running separately, or together. The outcome was considerably different for each option.
The poll concluded that the main opposition Popular Party (PP) is likely to win the general election, but would need to do a deal with the far-right Vox group if it were to achieve a working majority or form a government.
What’s more, the Socialist Party has lost some ground since the last survey was taken in April – that poll showed the group to be practically equal with the PP.
Meanwhile, if Sumar and Unidas Podemos were to run separately, the poll showed the PP and Vox would actually fare better and come closer to achieving an absolute majority: they would win 170 seats of the 176 needed for that scenario in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.
But if the leftist groups ran together, the right-wing parties would secure just 161 seats.
As for the Socialist Party, if Sumar and Unidas Podemos run separately, they would win 100 seats, but that figure would fall to 97 if they ran together.
Sumar would take 27 seats and Unidas Podemos 11 if they ran separately, for a total of 38 seats, while they would win 55 if they ran together.
Other polls, according to news agency Reuters, have shown a more fragmented scenario, meaning that Spain could be plunged back into the political instability seen between 2015 and 2019, when four inconclusive general elections were held until the Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos finally managed to strike a governing deal.
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