General elections are being held today in Spain, to break the political void existing since December, where elections failed to produce a government. Spaniards went to elections aiming to break the political deadlock between the major parties: PP, Podemos, and PSOE.

So far, the Popular Party (Partido Popular in Spanish) is winning, achieving about 120 spots in the Parliament, followed by Podemos, which so far has about 90 spots. In third place, PSOE, with 80 or so spots and Ciudadanos reaching about 30 spots. Results are, nevertheless, changing every minute.

PP wins, however, doesn't reach and absolute majority. Unidos Podemos won have the second most seats. Credit:
PP wins, however, it’s short of a majority. Unidos Podemos won the second most seats. Credit:

Participation index dropped dramatically, especially in Madrid and Catalunya, what may cause a third general election necessary. Spanish press had stated that this is the lowest index of participation in the Spanish elections history. A lot of people said they are voting blank since political pacts have not been made, and their needs are not being satisfied by politicians.

It is possible that this new ballot will not be enough to give one single party the power, so political negotiations are needed to leave the dead-end ally.

The crisis background

A severe crisis has been affecting Spain lately, with unemployment reaching one of the highest levels in their recent history. Government spending was deeply diminished and changed to an austerity policy that reduced the amount of services provided by the State, like welfare and education.

Political corruption scandals have also been part of the panorama, so people are not engaged with the political outcome of elections since disappointment is the main feeling in Spaniards.

However, Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister, and leader of the PP party hopes to get reelected in this ballot, and given the first results that seems possible.

What does the Spanish Constitution establishes?

A government must win the Parliament with more than 50 percent of the possible 350 votes before actually taking office to rule the country through the Executive Power. Therefore, political negotiations are necessary. Otherwise, Spaniards could find themselves in a deadlock once again.

However, analysts consider that political negotiations are complicated since there is an alliance formed by Podemos, the radical left party, with some other communist groups and Greens, called Unidos Podemos (Together We Can) that probably won’t negotiate with the Popular Party (PP) and with Ciudadanos (Citizens), a party known for its friendly policies towards business. But the Unidos Podemos authorities have stated that they do want to negotiate.

“We want a pact with the Socialists in order to oust Rajoy. But we insist on letting Catalonia stage an independence referendum,” Pablo Iglesias, the college professor who leads Unidos Podemos, told ABC News.

And that is one of the main issues where the parties do not agree. Unidos Podemos, the left alliance, also wants to increase public expenses again, and its policies are mostly anti-austerity, improving job security with a raise in the minimum wage and strengthening the welfare state. On the other hand, PP is backing the austerity until the crisis is controlled.

Spain has never had a coalition government before, so this experience is quite new to the political system, but may be the only way out.

Votes are expected to be counted entirely on Sunday’s night.

Source: ABC News