I imagine that there will be quite a few Spanish equivalents to Brenda of Bristol saying not another one but it does appear that Spain will have to go the polls again on 10 November, the fourth time in as many years. In a fracturing two-party system that the UK itself might need to get used to, there is no longer stability now that the PSOE and PP, the two major parties equating roughly to Labour and the Conservatives, have been joined by the centre-right Ciudadanos and the centre-left Podemos. Vox, a far right party, is also in the mix as are any number of regional parties.

The King made the announcement after days of talks, negotiations, haggling and accusations of treachery against various quarters from various other parts, and after he determined that no single party could command support to govern. Again it sounds drearily familiar. It is possible, barely, and hardly conceivably, that some movement will allow a solution to be found in the next few days but if it does not, Parliament will be dissolved this coming Monday, 23 September.

The real problem is that the Government does not have an overall majority, nor can make one with alliances. Sánchez had a chance of agreement with Podemos but with the smaller party demanding full coalition rather than a confidence-and-supply arrangement, the talks fell through. PM Pedro Sánchez said that the people had spoken very clearly at the last election, and that they needed to speak even more loudly on 10 November, his words reminiscent of those also heard in the UK at various points after the 2016 referendum.

So the people must speak again, and hopefully this time they will say something emphatic. But if there is any lesson to be learnt it is that it might be the politicians who are failing to listen rather than the people who aren’t speaking sufficiently clearly. If the people repeatedly say the two party system is dead and that coalition or multi-party governance is the future, there can surely only be so many times they can be asked before the two party-system, whether in the guise of proportional representation or First Past the Post, is pronounced dead. The real question is what replaces a fractured polity, and that is a question to which the UK, as well as Spain, needs to find an answer.

 

Source: Janet Anscombe 

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