Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez writes history with the first Spanish coalition government since 1977
We succeeded: Spain has a government and not just one. The new Sánchez government is a coalition government of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos and it is already making history because it was since the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939) that a coalition government was formed. Sven Tuytens shows his first impressions from Madrid.
Since 1977, when the first democratic elections were held after the end of General Franco’s dictatorship, one-party governments were formed, which either ruled with an absolute majority or were minority governments.
VOX as a binder for the Spanish left
This summer it seemed that the PSOE and Unidas Podemos (UP) would never be able to form a government together. The PSOE of Sánchez then did not want to work with UP and hoped for new elections to strengthen its position and then with the support of the purple formation (UP) to form a traditional one-party government. But it turned out differently and both the PSOE and UP lost seats.
The surprise came from the extreme right-wing VOX, who suddenly became a major political player with a monster score from a marginal starting position. Less than 24 hours after the elections, there was suddenly a coalition agreement between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos: the threat of the extreme right has set fire to the shins of the Spanish left. Both party leaders had every advantage of being gentle with each other.
During a first vote, the coalition did not get enough yes votes. Today it worked, but it was very tight. Even a seriously ill Member of Parliament, Aina Vidal, from En Comú Podem (one of the parties in the cartel of the Unidas Podemos group) had to scrape all the energy together to be able to be present in parliament.
Vidal wanted to cast her vote today, because she had not succeeded before the first vote. She received an impressive applause when she closed her speech: “I am voting with full conviction for a country that stands for feminism, ecology and social equality.” With only 167 votes in favor, 165 against and 18 abstentions, it succeeded.
The preceding debates were fiery and the VOX group got a head start. The boiling point of the bored extreme right-wing representatives was reached when Oskar Matute of the Basque regional party Euskal Herria Bildu went to the pulpit of the Spanish parliament and suddenly the entire VOX fraction left the hemisphere.
Matute was delighted and quoted Angela Davis: “I don’t accept the things I can’t change; I change the things that I cannot accept. ” In his speech he also referred to the legendary ‘La Pasionaria’. Matute was one of the many speakers from the separatist corner who clearly indicated that they want something in return for their support or support for this coalition.
In exchange for the abstention of the Catalan left-wing separatists from ERC during the vote of confidence, the PSOE and UP have promised them that the Spanish government will start a political dialogue with the Catalan government on the future of Catalonia.
End of the impasse
After the vote and during the applause for Sánchez, Pablo Casado, the leader of the Spanish People’s Party, tried to get to the Prime Minister to congratulate him briefly and without fut. The tense body language of both Sanchez and Casado and their clumsy handshake have escaped no one.
Prime Minister Sánchez must now be very careful with the concessions he makes to the separatists, because he is confronted with a ruthless opposition who accuses him of being a traitor to the country and a prime minister who will let himself be pushed for the cart of the separatists. The Spanish right is now going to do everything to further stir up the deep concern about separatism that lives with many Spaniards.
If Sanchez does not give the separatists enough, they can put sticks in the wheels of his policy. It will not be an easy task for Sánchez, but it is important that there is a dialogue with Catalonia and that the country finally has a functioning government.
Spain has no experience with coalition governments, but it has managed to get out of the impasse. Pablo Iglesias, the general secretary of Podemos, is aware of the commitment and grateful for the trust the coalition received today. After the announcement of the results of the vote, he burst into tears.