Mandatory Credit: Photo by JuanJo Martin/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (10220990h)
Spanish Prime Minister and Secretary General of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), Pedro Sanchez, talks to supporters after winning the general elections at the Socialist Party headquarter in Madrid, Spain, 28 April 2019. Nearly 36.9 million people were called to vote in the third Spanish general elections in four years.
General Elections, Madrid, Spain - 28 Apr 2019

It may well be the case, as you suggest, that the preference of Spanish Socialist leaders to govern alone is a recipe for political instability and hardly commensurate with the far-ranging challenges facing the country (“Spain needs a stable and reform-minded coalition”, editorial, April 30).

To cite but one, the rate of economic growth, which was 3.6 per cent in 2015, has decreased each year since then and is expected to continue edging downward to 2.2 per cent this year. The rate of unemployment, which was 8 per cent before the economic and financial crisis that hit Spain and the EU and peaked at more than 25 per cent in 2013, is still high — 14 per cent. And the rate of unemployment of those under 25 is also high — over 33 per cent. Only Greece among the other member states of the EU has higher rates of unemployment and youth unemployment.

Yes, in the best of all worlds, a stable and reform-minded coalition government that controls a majority in the congress would be preferable to a minority government. But in the wake of the fragmentation of the Spanish party system that has occurred in recent years, the polarisation that exists between the parties of the left and the right, and the nature of the challenges facing the country, there is no coalition that could control a stable majority in the congress.

That being the case, the best — indeed only — option, at least for the time being, is for the Socialist party (PSOE) to go it alone as a single-party minority government, addressing the challenges facing the country as best it can with ad hoc coalitions formed on an issue-by-issue basis.

Prof David R Cameron
Dept of Political Science,
Yale University,
New Haven, CT, US

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