Home » Spain, Feijòo 1st but Vox collapses. Decisive independentists, new polls close

Spain, Feijòo 1st but Vox collapses. Decisive independentists, new polls close

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Spain, Feijòo 1st but Vox collapses.  Decisive independentists, new polls close

Feijòo claims victory but there is no majority in Spain. All scenarios

The polls had predicted a triumph for the right, destined to change the political balance in Europe as well. Instead, the goal of making a clean sweep of “Sanchismo” has not materialized, far from it. In the Spanish general election, the People’s Party of Alberto Nuñez Feijòò, which nonetheless claimed the right to form an executive, is the one that has received the most support but not enough to govern. Neither independently, nor together with Vox, the nationalist formation of Santiago Abascal, strongly downsized.

The Socialist Party of the outgoing prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, held and the left platform Sumar of the deputy premier, Yolanda Diaz, has collected moderate results, combining what remains of Podemos with other leftist movements. Once again, the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone leaves the polls without a clear majority, leaving the power to decide the games to small pro-independence parties and making a new vote, which would become the sixth since 2015, far from improbable.

Against all odds, Sanchez has won his challenge and could even remain in power, if the game of alliances allows him. Other than Sumar, they could stay on his side i Catalans of Erc eh Basques of Bilduwhose external support allowed his minority government to hold out until its defeat in the local elections in May, which convinced him to call early elections in the middle of summer.

Numbers in hand, there is no majority. Against a turnout of 70.4%, the almost definitive vote assigns the People’s Party 36% and 136 seats in Parliament, 47 more than in the last elections. For an absolute majority of seats, however, 176 are needed and the Vox sovereignists have lost as many as 19, dropping to 33 benches, with 12.4%. A result almost similar to that of Sumar, with 12.3% and 31 seats. Sanchez’s PSOE instead gained two seats, rising to 122, with 31.7%. In the Senate, however, the PP can count on an absolute majority of 143 seats, against 92 for the Socialists.

The ball to the independentists

Therefore the votes of the separatists become decisive. In Catalonia the Republican Left (Erc) of Pedro Aragonespresident of the region, lost 6 seats to 7, on a par with Junts per Catalunya of Carlos Puigdemontthe former separatist leader who fled to Belgium to avoid arrest after a 2017 secession attempt.

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In the Basque Country, however, Bildu won 6 seats, one more, and Eaj-Pnv (the Basque Nationalist Party), 5 seats, one less.

Feijòò: “No one tries to stop us”

Once the ballot was concluded, Feijòò appeared from the balcony of the party headquarters in Madrid, on Calle de Genova, and proclaimed victory in front of thousands of supporters who sang the chorus “Pre-si-den-te! Pre-si-den-te!”. The speech will then be interrupted by another chorus, which must not have made the speaker happy: “A-Yu-So! A-Yu-So!”, That is Isabel Diaz Ayuso the popular president of the Madrid region, on the same stage, a few meters to her left.

“As the candidate of the most voted party, I believe that my duty is to open the dialogue, lead it from the first minute and try to govern our country in accordance with the electoral results and the electoral victory,” said the former Galician president, urging other parties not to try to “block” his attempt to form an executive.

“With all humility and determination, I take it upon myself to start the negotiations for the formation of the government”, he concluded, “The prime minister is whoever has the most votes, Spain does not stop, we have won and it is up to us to form the government, as has always happened”.

The meaning of the message is clear: Feijòo is asking the socialists to abstain to allow him to take office, as happened when the Rajoy government was born. But Sanchez doesn’t intend to give up a game that could end with a surprising confirmation from him.

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Now the board of the PP will meet. And the atmosphere will be less idyllic than hoped.

Sanchez: “Those who wanted involution have been defeated”

For Sanchez, however, Feijòò didn’t win at all. Indeed, “the backward involutionist bloc, which proposed the cancellation of the progress made in these four years, has failed”, chanted Sanchez in front of his constituents, who replied “No Pasaran!” in a blaze of red flags.

Spain, added the premier, was faced with a choice “between progress and regression” and gave a “crystal clear” answer. Not standard phrases, but an equally crystal clear political analysis: the left held because the PSOE and Sumar presented themselves as a coalition. Feijòo, on the other hand, has never expressed himself explicitly regarding an alliance with Vox and the decision not to participate in the second political debate must not have helped the voters to clarify their ideas.

Abascal, the great defeated

Feijòò, in essence, hoped to win enough votes to be able to do without Vox or, at least, to get by with his external support. An ambiguity also imposed by the divisions within the party, whose moderate fringe sees the sovereignists as smokescreen.

Abascal, on the other hand, wanted an organic alliance based on a shared agenda. Feijòo, with his appeal to the useful vote, managed to contain it but he made an enemy of it. In the statements following the election, Abascal directly attacked Feijòò, blaming him for not having wanted to build “an alternative” and alluding to the possibility of remaining in the opposition, or rather of not supporting him in his attempt to form a government.

Among the causes of the disappointment, observed Abascal, were the overly optimistic polls, which did not guarantee adequate mobilisation. “You don’t sell the bear’s skin before having taken it”, he commented in a speech lasting less than two minutes, assuring that “sooner or later” Vox’s ideas “will triumph in Spain”.

Sumar working on an ‘alternative government to the right’

Diaz, for his part, has made it known that in the next few hours he will initiate contacts with all the “progressive and democratic forces” (that is, the independent activists willing to discuss) to form an “alternative government to the right”.

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Numbers in hand, the left can only remain in government if it gets the support of all, or almost all, of the pro-independence forces represented in the Cortes. A difficult goal but by no means impossible. Sanchez has done a lot to lower the tension between Madrid and Barcelona and has emerged relatively unscathed from the scandal caused by the presence on Bildu’s lists of some former ETA terrorists.

Will Puigdemont decide?

The role of “kingmaker”, as numerous Spanish newspapers are underlining, could therefore fall to Puigdemont, a conservative on paper. And, assuming that Abascal supports him, the support of Junts per Catalunya would be enough for Feijòò to win and keep the job, that the king Philip VI should entrust him in the next few hours.

However, a reconciliation between Puigdemont and the successor of that Mariano Rajoy who, after the 2017 independence referendum, commissioned the region and forced him into exile, appears difficult. Not to mention the heated hostility of Vox towards the pro-independence activists, which would make even joint external support complicated.

More likely, therefore, that the former Catalan president will end up giving the go-ahead for Sanchez to stay at Moncloa. An indispensable support that will not come “in exchange for nothing”, warned the group leader of Junts per Catalunya in the Chamber, Miriam Noguerasamong the probable recipients of the message posted on Twitter at dawn by Ayuso, who urged not to let the verdict of the polls become “a weapon in the hands of those who want to destroy Spain”.

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