The popular party of the current premier Rajoy, Pedro Sanchez’ PSOE, Pablo Iglesias’ Podemos, and Ciudadanos, another anti-caste party led by Albert Rivera, are the four parties which will run for the general elections in Spain and, for the first time in its history, on Monday morning, Madrid may wake up with a coalition government. The reason why is the “burst” on the political scene of two anti-caste parties, Ciudadanos and Podemos, which have broken the chain of Popular and Socialist governments which have followed one another so far.
There is still utter uncertainty around the outcome of the elections that represent for the country the most important political elections since 1982. According to the estimates, the turnout may be around 80%, a fact that makes the surveys little reliable, very contradictory, but which unanimously confirm that no party will get close to the absolute majority. If this happens, after forty years of democracy, the era of coalition governments will begin.
The last detection (in chronological order), the one by GESOP, published by the daily El Periodico (in its Andorran version, given that in the Spanish press, revelations are prohibited during the last week), confirms PSOE socialists as second, before Podemos, thus nullifying the overtaking certificated in recent days by El Confidencial. Without the only head-to-head debate between the socialist leader Pedro Sanchez and the conservative premier Mariano Rajoy – at the moment certain to have the relative majority and engaged in a campaign under the banner of absolute immobility just not to risk losing votes – having had any consequence on the gap between the two main parties.
GESOP accredits 25.8% of preferences to Partido Popular against 21,4% of the socialists: given the complicated system of seats allocation, it is difficult to quantify the number of members, but on average, PP it should get 109 seats whereas PSOE – 86, both of whom will be still far from the absolute majority of 176 seats. In constant decline, on the other hand, is the new right of Ciudadanos (C’s), with 16%, plainly behind Podemos (20.4%), also in terms of members: 73 against 52.
This scenario confirms the end of the absolute bipolarity that has dominated the political scene since the Eighties: the major parties would remain top rated (close to 50% of the total), but without the possibility of forming monochrome governments. Analysts’ attention is on which alliances could give rise to a coalition executive board which would be sufficiently stable, in view of a legislature in which problems (austerity and the Catalan crisis in the first place) will not be lacking. PP would have all the papers in order to be able to continue to govern for five more years, albeit in cohabitation: in principle, they could avail themselves of an alliance with the C’s modern right, insufficient on its own, according to the latest detection (it would not exceed the majority even if both parties reached the maximum fork of seats, unlikely given that they share the same electorate), but to which you could add other regional formations such as Coalicion Canaria. The unknown element is whether Albert Rivera’s party (considered by the polls to be the most skilled politician) will accept to bind himself to the formation with respect to which he has always presented himself as an alternative and which he has harshly criticized, accusing it of corruption.
The same is true for the socialists and Podemos, Allies/enemies whose sum however is far from the required threshold: in fact – since the hypothesis of a PP-PSOE ‘grand coalition’, which only in the last few hours has been evoked by the conservatives as a possible “plan B” – so far, C’s is the only party so far which is sure to be able to govern, either with the popular or with the socialists, possibly with Podemos’ support; the ”tripartite” PSOE – Podemos – C’s is, in fact, Rajoy’s nightmare, even if negotiations for a platform of common government would be very complicated. What is certain is that, given the high percentage of undecided, the volatility of the electorate and the possible high participation in the vote, the forecasts of the eve leave do not offer secure previsions: everything is still possible, including a replica of the sensational overtaking of 2004 which brought Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to Moncloa against Rajoy. An outcome Sanchez will attempt to repeat, insisting once again on the “useful vote” at the expense of Podemos, hoping that a final sprint will give PSOE a few percentage points that may turn out to be decisive.