Brexit fallout to hit Spanish parliamentary election

Spain has been in a political crisis for 7 months as no party was able to form a government following the December general election. So once again, the Spanish people are going to the polls - but this time, in the wake of the Brexit earthquake.

The two major parties - the Socialists and the People's Party - are likely to lose ground to the far left Podemos party. Podemos is rebelling against the austerity forced upon them by the EU when their banks were bailed out in 2012. Spain exited the bailout but still owe tens of billions to the EU. 

Like their counterparts in Greece - Syriza - who overturned the old order, ordinary people are rebelling against the status quo and are likely to strengthen the far left.

Reuters:

In theory, the rise of Unidos Podemos ("Together We Can"), a leftist alliance led by Podemos, could offer a way out. The 90 seats it is expected to win, combined with around 80 for the Socialist Party (PSOE), would be close to a majority. Support from some of the regional parties could enable them to form a government.

Many analysts believe, however, that the 137-year-old Socialist Party would prefer to form a 'grand coalition' with the PP, led by the acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, or give passive support to a minority PP government, rather than combine with a group that threatens their existence.

"This is a crucial time for the left. Our time has come. We have an opportunity for change," said Carlos Martinez, a retired administrative clerk who cast his ballot for Unidos Podemos in the Arganzuela neighborhood, in the south of Madrid.

However, the 77-year-old, who voted in December for the former communists of United Left, now part of Unidos Podemos, said the anti-austerity alliance might find it hard to govern because other parties may coalesce to block it.

Such a scenario would have echoes of Greece, where a long-established center-left party, PASOK, joined a conservative-led government in 2012, only to find itself subsequently humiliated by the rise to power of the far-left Syriza party -- which is close to Podemos.

After Britain's vote to quit the EU, Greece's Syriza prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias called for a re-launch of the European Union based on improved democracy, social protection and solidarity.

"It's bad news for the future of Europe. We are very worried about the decision of the British people. And we think we need to reconstruct another idea of Europe based on social rights and human rights," Iglesias told journalists on Friday as he closed his campaign.

It is not clear which impact the result of the British referendum will have on the Spanish election.

I think you can safely throw out the polls taken before Brexit. But while Podemos portrays itself as "anti-establishment," its real strength still resides in the old communist party that is stronger in Spain than most other European countries. Podemos must reverse the austerity measures that are slowly reducing the Spanish deficit, in order to fulfill its promises for vastly expanded social programs. 

I think we can expect some surprises in the Spanish election today with Podemos benefiting the most from the Brexit fallout.

 

Spain has been in a political crisis for 7 months as no party was able to form a government following the December general election. So once again, the Spanish people are going to the polls - but this time, in the wake of the Brexit earthquake.

The two major parties - the Socialists and the People's Party - are likely to lose ground to the far left Podemos party. Podemos is rebelling against the austerity forced upon them by the EU when their banks were bailed out in 2012. Spain exited the bailout but still owe tens of billions to the EU. 

Like their counterparts in Greece - Syriza - who overturned the old order, ordinary people are rebelling against the status quo and are likely to strengthen the far left.

Reuters:

In theory, the rise of Unidos Podemos ("Together We Can"), a leftist alliance led by Podemos, could offer a way out. The 90 seats it is expected to win, combined with around 80 for the Socialist Party (PSOE), would be close to a majority. Support from some of the regional parties could enable them to form a government.

Many analysts believe, however, that the 137-year-old Socialist Party would prefer to form a 'grand coalition' with the PP, led by the acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, or give passive support to a minority PP government, rather than combine with a group that threatens their existence.

"This is a crucial time for the left. Our time has come. We have an opportunity for change," said Carlos Martinez, a retired administrative clerk who cast his ballot for Unidos Podemos in the Arganzuela neighborhood, in the south of Madrid.

However, the 77-year-old, who voted in December for the former communists of United Left, now part of Unidos Podemos, said the anti-austerity alliance might find it hard to govern because other parties may coalesce to block it.

Such a scenario would have echoes of Greece, where a long-established center-left party, PASOK, joined a conservative-led government in 2012, only to find itself subsequently humiliated by the rise to power of the far-left Syriza party -- which is close to Podemos.

After Britain's vote to quit the EU, Greece's Syriza prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias called for a re-launch of the European Union based on improved democracy, social protection and solidarity.

"It's bad news for the future of Europe. We are very worried about the decision of the British people. And we think we need to reconstruct another idea of Europe based on social rights and human rights," Iglesias told journalists on Friday as he closed his campaign.

It is not clear which impact the result of the British referendum will have on the Spanish election.

I think you can safely throw out the polls taken before Brexit. But while Podemos portrays itself as "anti-establishment," its real strength still resides in the old communist party that is stronger in Spain than most other European countries. Podemos must reverse the austerity measures that are slowly reducing the Spanish deficit, in order to fulfill its promises for vastly expanded social programs. 

I think we can expect some surprises in the Spanish election today with Podemos benefiting the most from the Brexit fallout.