Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All Over The Shop: Spain's election

What a peculiar election that was, and one that went to show again how opinion polls can mislead. Nationally, the Partido Popular, though still 39 seats short of a majority, gained fourteen. If there is any moral sense to elections, then the PP should now not have obstacles placed in front of it in forming a government. Both PSOE and Ciudadanos (C's) lost ground. Podemos only added two, the equivalent to what its partners the United Left had in December.

The peculiarity was mirrored in the Balearics. The expectation had been that Podemos, in alliance with the left-wing nationalists Més and the communist United Left, was going to take a seat off PSOE. That didn't happen. Though the Podemos share of the vote was up, this corresponded to only 6,000 plus votes. There are different ways of interpreting this, and one way is not good news for Més. It received almost 34,000 votes in December. Where did they all go? Plus, and although El Pi is a centre-right nationalist party, it didn't stand this time. Its almost 13,000 votes certainly didn't head the way of Més: they probably went to the PP, which increased its share of the vote by six percentage points and by some 22,000 votes.

Biel Barceló, the Més vice-president of the Balearic government, has suggested that one reason for the PP doing that much better was Brexit. Voters sought "refuge" with the PP. Which doesn't say much for his party or others, therefore. He probably wasn't wrong in his conclusion, though by how much the combined Podemos vote was affected by voters opting for the PP instead would be highly debatable. Més also lost out because of the wacky Sobirania per les Illes (SI), the nationalist-independence grouping formed only a few weeks ago and led by leading "glosador", Mateu Matas aka Xuri. There were over seven thousand votes for them while Pacma, the animal-rights party, added more than two thousand to the December poll.

SI may well have held appeal for the nationalist vote, having been created as a direct result of Més getting into bed with Podemos, characterised by SI as a "Madrid" party.

The results, both nationally and regionally, go to show how all over the shop voting is. But something now has to give. Were there to be yet another election, which itself appears to require a constitutional amendment, the rivals to the PP would be aware that this would most likely only play more into the PP's hands. What has to give are the entrenched positions that were developed after the December election. The PP should be given the job in some way or another, which wouldn't be great news for PSOE's Francina Armengol and her "pact" of Balearic government. But at least PSOE can point to the fact that it gained votes this time round in the Balearics, which wasn't the case nationally. All over the shop.

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