••• The International Writers Magazine:From our Spanish Correspondent
Yes is Yes in Spain
As per previous reports, Spain has been with a hung parliament since December of last year when general elections were held on the 20th but despite obtaining the majority of votes the existing government was and still is unable to form a government.
Since that date, second elections were held in June with similar results and two regional elections last month, the Basque Country and Galicia that confirmed once again, the conservatives (PP) under acting president Mariano Rajoy were holding their own, in fact were rising again in popularity. However, and despite a general clamor by the citizens to end the impasse and form a coalition government in order to avoid yet a 3rd round of general elections, the adamant socialist (PSOE) leader Sr. Pedro Sanchez continued with his constant rhetoric of ‘No is No’ to allow the conservatives to sit once more as head of the state.
As time went by, the existing plethora of parties that had obtained seats in the parliament were getting restless. His personal hate towards Sr. Rajoy was beginning to wear thin. Time was running out and if a government was not in place by the end of this month then all possible investments that were pending could be lost and what was worse the 2017 budget could not be approved. The European Union was waiting in the wings to come down on the country with a ton of bricks should this occur. The inevitable happened.
The constant comments and murmurings from the press and inside the socialist party had an effect. Sr. Sanchez had turned himself into the problem. Thus followed a general assembly of the bigwigs and to cut a long story short the resulting decision vote was that an independent socialist leader should manage a program in order to find a path to resolve the problem. The only constitutional solution was obvious; a coalition right and center formation between Sr. Rajoy’s PP and Sr. Albert Rivera of Ciudadanos every-which-way party with an abstention by the socialists. Result? Sr. Sanchez presented his resignation and has gone off to Los Angeles for a holiday.
Meanwhile a new face has appeared on the scene, Sr. Javier Fernandez, President of the autonomous region of Asturias, to take up the slack and start talking to Sr. Rajoy before the end of the month. He is 68 years old and a professional engineer. His first speech was to remove the ‘Podemos’ (Sr. Pablo Iglesias communist movement) element from the party. The reaction was incredible. The whole of the left wing element, some socialists, communists, independents, republicans, nationalists and anarchists that were waiting in the wings for Sr. Sanchez to bring them all together fell through the floor. One can imagine the reactions.
When the dust was settled it came to light that Sr. Sanchez had been secretly negotiating with all this lot, including the possibility of allowing a referendum for Catalonia to seek independence that was a real no goer under the present constitution of the country.
It now remains to be seen whether the deadline, end of this month is reached as the whole process has to go through parliament, followed by the approval by King Felipe VI , the Head of State, and ready to agree on the budget as the most outstanding issue on the agenda. Time is running out. However, the ‘No is No’ may turn into a ‘Yes is Yes’ after all.
UPDATE: Oct 24th: Looks like the Socialists (PSOE) Federal Committee agreed yesterday to abstain from blocking Conservative President Rajoy from forming a government, albeit a weak one. Nevertheless the impasse has been overcome for the time being. There are some members of the regional Socialists in Catalonia and Galicia that still say 'No' but they are in a minority.
Meanwhile, and back to Catalonia, the regional government continues to ignore the result of the Supreme Court that outlaws the approval for the referendum next September. If the new Spanish government is in place, apart from the financial situation this will be one of the most difficult problems facing the country. It has been brewing for years and is now coming to a head.
Other events have and are taking place such as the never-ending saga of new corruption cases, the increase in tourism, the slow recovery of the economy and job creation, although Spain still has a long way to go. Many families are suffering and many young talents are leaving for better pastures.
These have been reported in several previous essays and are continuing news on a monthly basis.
Will update in due course as if and when the result of a government comes through.
See you next month.
© James Skinner Oct 24th 2016
A chance to form a Government in Spain? James Skinner 27.09.16
Election results in Gailcia and the Basque Country offer Rajoy
an opportunity of forming an administration... maybe...