Spanish regional polls fail to end political deadlock

Voters reinforce Popular Party, Podemos; Socialists suffer big losses

Spanish regional polls fail to end political deadlock

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Basque Country and Galicia voted in regional elections Sunday, which many hoped would help to end the Spain’s nine-month political deadlock.

The conservative Popular Party saw strong results in Galicia and the Socialists suffered big losses in both regions. The results, however, do not signal a clear path to a national compromise.

Inconclusive national elections in December and June blew apart Spain’s traditional two-party hegemony and has thrown the country into political paralysis.

National politicians have until Oct. 31 to form a government or voters would be forced to vote in national elections for a third time in little more than a year.

National leaders have campaigned hard in the two northern regions in recent weeks but results still show an extremely divided country. Unlike national polls, however, the results Sunday produced clear winners and losers. Moving forward, the political strategies are sure to be scrutinized closely.

Galicia, a conservative stronghold and birthplace of acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, saw strong results for his Popular Party, despite recent corruption scandals. Regional leader and party favorite, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, swept the elections and won an absolute majority.

In Basque Country, the Basque National Party that opted for a moderate approach of more autonomy, not independence, won a minority government.

It was followed by EH-Bildu, a leftist independence group and, Podemos, which scored its first seats in the Basque government Sunday.

All of the top parties in Basque Country advocate a “right to decide” for separatist regions. The “constitutionalist parties,” or those who are highly opposed to independence referendums, including the Socialists and the Popular Party, saw losses.

The Socialist Party, which is the main opposition nationally, showed poor results in both regions. Many of its supports have shifted to the new, left-wing Podemos that surpassed it in Basque Country and in Galicia.

Some political commentators have suggested the poor showing by the Socialists could lead to a leadership change. Current leader, Pedro Sanchez, has repeatedly led the party to record-breaking losses. Others suggest the strong results for the nationalists and Podemos could bring the Socialists closer to forming a coalition with Podemos and various separatist groups.

The Socialists will hold a federal party meeting Oct. 1 to discuss options.

Cuidadanos, a newly formed center-right party, the fourth largest party in Spanish Parliament, also saw disappointing results -- coming out with no seats in either region.  

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Eylül 2016, 08:20
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