Spaniards go to the ballot for second time in six months

Spaniards go to the ballot for second time in six months

Spaniards will vote on Sunday (June 26) for a second time in six months after inconclusive results in December and the failure of politicians to come to an agreement in the months after the poll.

The emergence of new parties like Podemos on the left and the centrist Ciudadanos party have changed Spain’s political landscape breaking the hegemony of the conservative People’s Party and Socialists.

Polls ahead of Sunday’s vote predict the anti-austerity Unidos Podemos alliance will get second place behind the People’s Party and ahead of the Socialists, but it is not clear the surge will be enough to break the political deadlock.

With no party expected to get a majority in parliament and with the United Kingdom’s decision on Thursday (June 23) to leave the European Union, there is increasing demand among some Spaniards for stability.

“For me a good result would be that there’s a change, an effective change, and a ‘Yes’ for change. But a change far from extreme positions, and far from populist actions and options, such as those that we have just seen in the United Kingdom, that have generated a lot of uncertainty. Change is necessary but sensibly,” Juan Carlos Alonso said.

“I hope they understand each other because I think the same thing is going to happen. The same one is going to win, and the same people are going to fight with each other. I hope common sense brings us to an agreement,” Luis, who owns a Barber Shop, said.

The People’s Party of Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to get the most votes on Sunday but still fall short of majority. Rajoy has said he would a favour a German-style “grand coalition” with the Socialists and the centrist Ciudadanos Party.

Unidos Podemos is also courting the Socialists. Its programme, including plans to raise corporate taxes or reverse labour reforms that made it cheaper for companies to fire workers, is not dissimilar to the Socialists’, and it has tried to project itself as a cuddly party, including by changing its logo to a rainbow-coloured heart.

The Socialists, however, would have to overcome huge internal opposition within their ranks to the idea of propping up a party that is encroaching on their political space.

Failing that, the threat of a third election, which would deepen fears for Spain’s economic recovery, could push the centre-left to do the previously unthinkable and abstain in a parliamentary vote to enable a PP government instead.

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Story By Reuters
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