Monday, June 30, 2014

There May Be Chaos Ahead: Opinion poll

There is a great deal of water to yet pass under the bridge before next spring's regional elections, but if the polls are to be believed, the late-summer and winter storms will flood political torrents that pour under "puentes" of Mallorca, wash away the stagnant and accumulated detritus, cleanse and purify them with a collective can-do but also leave a mud so deep that some are stuck or sink. The poll just conducted by the Balearics Institute of Social Studies on behalf of "Ultima Hora" will mean José Ramón Bauzá and the PP thrashing around in quicksand, desperately grabbing at any passing safety rope in an attempt to haul themselves out of a political mire, while Francina Armengol and PSOE struggle up to the neck in fear that they will be consumed by the mucky waters of time and disappear from view. Glug. Glug.

This is what the poll suggests how the Balearics parliament would look after the next election: the PP, 27 seats, down eight; PSOE, 14 seats, down four; the Més leftist, nationalist, greenist group with six seats, up one; and in fourth spot, up five from zero, would be Podemos. Yes we can. With the remaining seven seats distributed between the United Left, El Pi, the UPyD and one for the Formentera wing of PSOE, the picture which would emerge, were this poll to be replicated at the elections, would be one of such potential chaos that the Balearics might be all but ungovernable.

The maths are such that a coalition would have to be formed in order to get a minimum of thirty seats and thus form a majority. For the PP, it might seem that it could derive support from the centrist UPyD and the regio-nationalist-conservative El Pi. They could bump the number up to thirty, but though certain aspects of their political philosophies might coincide, they are wide apart in other regards. The UpyD, a relatively new party, wants to be an alternative to the two-party system. How could it sell out that idea and join with the PP? Jaume Font, the leader of El Pi, is said to have mended bridges with Bauzá but then there is Antoni Pastor, who most certainly has not. El Pi, in any event, totally rejects Bauzá language policy and attitude towards regionalism.

If the PP were unable to gather partners around it, then what of a PSOE-led coalition? Well, it's possible but would require the support of virtually all the other parties including, and most significantly, Podemos. It, rather like the UPyD but totally unlike it in character, wants to break the two-party system. The idea of it ever forming part of a coalition of which PSOE were a part seems almost inconceivable. But then Podemos hasn't as yet in its very brief existence been confronted with "realpolitik", one which strikes at its very purpose. If it has ambitions of being a legitimate political force, then it is going to have to compromise. Even if it does or it doesn't, one feels that its success at the European elections merely sowed the seeds of its own destruction.

For PSOE the outlook is bleak. The confirmation of Francina Armengol as leader has done nothing to improve its prospects, and there was never any good reason to believe that her victory would improve them. Armengol was president of the Council of Mallorca under the last PSOE-led administration. People don't forget. Or rather, they would prefer to forget those who are discredited or representative of previous failure. Armengol offers nothing new, but PSOE badly needs to be seen as renewed.

The PP, which has been disintegrating into fragments of pro- and anti-Catalan and pro- and anti-regionalism, could yet retrieve the situation. There will be those in the party who know or think they know how this could be done. Would there be a coup to oust Bauzá? Even if there were, who would take over? The party might just be so damaged that it can't retrieve the situation whoever leads it. Not next year anyway.

All this leaves one other option, assuming a grand coalition between the PP and PSOE would be a total non-starter, and this is that a majority coalition cannot be formed by either side. It has not been untypical for a major party to fail to get a majority, but in these instances there has been sufficient support to create a majority through coalition. The possibility exists, however, that even this might not be achievable next year. Town halls in Mallorca can and do operate with minority administrations, but could a government? It has happened, but only because the Unió Mallorquina was thrown out of the PSOE 2007-2011 pact in the final year of that administration.

Things can change between now and next spring, but if they don't, then the Balearics could end up without a government.

Index for June 2014

Abdication of KIng Juan Carlos - 3 June 2014, 7 June 2014
Archaeology tourism route - 25 June 2014
Balearics' education conflict - 23 June 2014
Bellevue and tourist treatment - 4 June 2014
Biniali and traditional games - 1 June 2014
Brochures - 20 June 2014
Civil War: exhumation of bodies - 17 June 2014
Compatibility: President Bauzá - 15 June 2014
Flying car ferries - 10 June 2014
Gaming law in Balearics - 24 June 2014
Hoteliers federation falling out - 2 June 2014
Jaume Sastre and President Bauzá - 16 June 2014
King Felipe - 21 June 2014
La Gola, Puerto Pollensa - 13 June 2014
Magalluf not like northern resorts - 6 June 2014
Mallorca Song Festival - 14 June 2014
Miquel dels Sants Oliver - 18 June 2014
Pere Capellà - 19 June 2014
Princess Cristina and Judge Castro - 29 June 2014
Regional election opinion poll - 30 June 2014
Roads, buses and Mallorca's history - 9 June 2014
Sant Joan and midsummer - 22 June 2014
Selva "herbes" fair - 8 June 2014
Shipping history in Mallorca - 11 June 2014
Spanish students on Mallorcan holidays - 26 June 2014, 27 June 2014
Surfing - 5 June 2014
Tourism strategy in Mallorca - 28 June 2014
World Cup - 12 June 2014

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