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Spain celebrates this Sunday the fourth general elections in four years, thus completing the lustro political more convulsed since democracy began in Spain. During these years there have been two electoral reps fruit of the lack of agreement of the deputies to invest president, a triumph has triumphed motion of censure for the first time against the leader of an Executive and elections have been called for the impossibility of approving some General Budgets.

All of the above has been crossed by the territorial model crisis Spanish, with its greatest exponent in Catalonia, which led to the convening of a self-determination referendum in October 2017 and the unilateral proclamation of independence, as well as to a trial of those responsible that has concluded two years later and that has resulted in wave of protests in that region.

The irruption of the extreme right in Parliament seven months ago and, with it, the entry into the political space of their interests, as the supposed 'problem' of the immigration, he hardening of sentences for crimes, the fight against progress feminists and even the questioning of the right to abortion and the state recentralization of the autonomies, they have monopolized much of the campaign debate, displacing issues such as the sustainability of the pension system, the quality of education, the improvement of health or labor problems.

What is voted this November 10?

This Sunday, November 10, the Spanish are called to the polls to participate in a general election. After those held in December 2015, June 2016 and April 2019, they are the fourth that occur in a space of less than four years.

Citizens must vote their representatives at Senate and to the Congress of Deputies. The first was intended as a Chamber of territorial representation, although in reality its functions are very blurred. However, they acquire relevance in the current context since, among them, there is the power to enable the Government to application of article 155 of the Constitution, which involves the intervention of a regional autonomy, as happened in Catalonia in 2017 after the self-determination referendum. For this House, voters choose 208 senators of the 265 members. The rest are appointed by the regional parliaments.

In the case of the Congress of Deputies in these elections, the 350 deputies which, after the constitution of the Chamber, will be responsible for elect the president of the Government among the candidates presented by the different parliamentary groups.

How is the president elected?

After a round of consultations with the spokesmen of the parliamentary groups to assess the support, the king proposes to the president of the Congress a candidate that, if accepted, will undergo a investiture session. In it, he will present his Government program and ask the deputies for their support, giving way to a debate with all the groups represented in the Hemicycle.

He will finally undergo a vote in which you have to get the backing of the absolute majority of the seats (176). Failure to do so has a new opportunity after 48 hours, when you will proceed to a new vote in which the requirements are more lax, because you only need one simple majority, that is, more yeses than noes.

If on that occasion the candidate does not manage to be invested, the Congress has a period of two months, from the date of the first vote, to try new investitures successively. After that time, if a President of the Government has not been invested, the General Courts will automatically dissolve and proceeds to a new electoral call.

How did we get here?

The new appointment with the polls is the result of that Lack of agreement between the different groups to invest a candidate, in this case the socialist leader, Pedro Sanchez. The Socialist Party was the only one that parliamentary arithmetic allowed him to obtain the necessary support, but Sanchez failed to obtain the support of the number of deputies he needed.

The main question that arises in the face of this new 'democracy party' is what would happen if the scrutiny threw a similar result to the one reached in April: would Sanchez be able to achieve support or the country would inevitably focus on a new electoral repetition?

The key: the fragmentation of Parliament

The key to these elections is the fragmentation of the parliamentary arch. The parties that are presented to the elections and that, in all probability, will have representation are the following:

  • Socialist Party (PSOE)

The Socialist Party is who head all surveys and Pedro Sanchez will repeat as a candidate. Its intention is to overcome the 123 seats that it obtained in the last legislature to force the rest of the forces to facilitate the Government without having to yield to form a coalition in the Executive.

The Popular Party of Pablo Casado, the second in the polls, aims to trace the 66 deputies of April that led to the worst result ever. It proposes a regrouping of the right-wing vote in its formation to be able to face a strong Socialist Party, so for months it has his speech right and he has already admitted that Vox is one of its priority partners, as it shows that the PP already governs in several regions with the support of the ultra-rightist force.

Citizens too turned right during the campaign of the previous elections, collecting a great result with 57 seats. But his position of blocking before the investiture of Sanchez seems to be taking its toll and all the polls predict a bump of the formation headed by Albert Rivera, who has already changed his position and accepted that he would be willing to facilitate a government of the socialists.

United we can aspire to improve their representation with the return of some voters who came to the PSOE in the last elections but could be disenchanted with the turn to the center of the socialists, the breach of some of his electoral promises and the development of the failed negotiation to form a government that has resulted in the electoral repetition.

Vox is one of the unknowns of the day. This force of extreme right It already surprised in April with its premiere in the Hemicycle with 24 deputies and now they are surveyed predict an improvement that some even place close to 50 seats.

More Country is the novelty that is glimpsed in the new legislature. Born regionally in Madrid, where in the last four years he has had experience of local government in the capital of the country, it originates from a We can split. Ínigo Errejon was one of the founders of the purple and right hand party of Pablo Iglesias, but after several disagreements he ended up leaving the formation and setting up his own party. Surveys ensure that it will have parliamentary representation, although it will be minority when presented only in some constituencies.

In addition to the above, there are also nationalist or regionalist parties that will be presented only in the constituencies of their region:

  • Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC)

In the last elections he had 15 seats in Congress, and if the results are similar on this occasion it could be a decisive force, both for their support and for their abstention, to facilitate the formation of a Progressive executive. The biggest problem is that with the current situation in Catalonia, Sanchez does not want to be burdened during his tenure because he has been supported by a party independentist Catalan.

  • Junts per Catalunya (JxCat)

JxCat is the formation of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and it is expected that he will obtain similar results to the 7 seats he had so far.

  • Basque Nationalist Party (PNV)

The force led by Aitor Esteban, one of the best valued politicians at the national level, only appears in the three provinces of the Basque Country. Still their deputies could be key in government formation. In the previous legislature already advanced its availability to support Sanchez, which at that time conditioned him to reach a pact with United We Can.

– Euskal Herria Bildu (EH Bildu)

– Canary Coalition (CC)

– Navarra Sum (NA +)

– Cantabria Nationalist Party (PRC)

What do the polls say?

Since the election call was known, the polls have taken place. The most recent show mixed results, although all coincide in placing the Socialist Party at the top, being the one that benefits the most published by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) on October 29. An average of the latest published surveys would give the following result for each of the national parties:

  • Socialist Party: about 120 seats, with a fork between 91 and 139.
  • Popular Party: about 90 seats, with a fork between 66 and 113.
  • United We Can: about 35 seats, with a fork between 19 and 54.
  • Citizens: about 18, with a fork between 8 and 36.
  • Vox: about Four. Five seats, with a fork between 24 and 65.
  • More Country: about 5 seats, with a fork between 0 and 13.

What would be the possible post-election pacts?

For the formation of Government, after knowing the result of the elections, a range of possibilities, which could be summarized in the following:

That the PSOE won a majority and had the support of the two left-wing national parties, UP and MP, and that of the PNV and PRC nationalists. Or that that majority would be less bulky and would need the contest of the independentists of ERC.

In the event that the hit of Citizens is not as pronounced as predicted, a good result of both formations and their understanding could give rise to a coalition government, of which the socialists are not supporters, or a minority government of the Sanchez's party with the support of Citizens. To this agreement could be added forces such as the PNV, PRC or CC.

This variable is the one that at the moment is less likely to occur, because it is not foreseeable that these three formations, to which Navarra Suma could be added, were able to obtain the absolute majority. In addition, the presence of Vox would cause the support of any of the nationalist or regionalist formations to be ruled out.

  • None of the sums achieves an absolute majority. This possibility would occur if the political parties fail to reach agreements, as has happened after the April elections, which would again lead to the repetition of the elections.

What have been the main themes of the election campaign?

Brutal aggressions against migrant children: how the discourse of the extreme right impacts Spain

Irregular immigration

Vox has made much of the political debate revolve around the issues that ultra-rightist training has put on the table. One of them has been the reception policies for irregular immigrants. In addition, the force led by Santiago Abascal has focused on the unaccompanied foreign minors and has constantly linked the phenomenon of immigration with the delinquency.

Both PP and Citizens have not wanted to face this speech when considering Vox as a preferred partner in future government negotiations. The most contrary party to these theses has been United We, whose leaders have refuted this dialectic as well as the untested figures that Vox has spread during these weeks.

The Catalan crisis

The Catalan conflict has flown over the entire campaign as well as the Spanish political life of recent years. The events of the last weeks after knowing the Supreme Court ruling which condemned to jail the independence leaders responsible for the 2017 referendum, in which there have been peaceful mass demonstrations but also night riots with clashes with the Police, have given wings to the conservative forces in their blunt speech regarding the Catalan Government .

PP, Citizens and Vox have clearly opted for intervene Catalan autonomy, and the latter even advocates eliminating the autonomous state, recentralizing all competitions which until now are in the hands of the regions, such as health or education.

United We can bet on dialogue to solve a conflict that they describe as "political", while the PSOE shows an inflexible stance with the nationalist parties and has maintained that it will not hesitate to apply the article 155, although at the moment it considers that the necessary conditions are not given.

Tax Policy

Fiscal policy has been another of the campaign issues. The conservative parties have competed with each other to promise the higher tax cuts, while United We Can and More Country have chosen to offer a redistribution of income, raising rates to large fortunes and businesses, fighting fraud and tax avoidance and reducing the burden of families, freelancers and small businesses.

At the bottom of this issue is the maintenance of the Welfare state, especially of pensions, one of the issues that have provoked major protests and demonstrations over recent years. Also here, the improvement of health and education would be framed, with a clear commitment to public services on the part of the left formations, especially of Unidos Podemos and Mas Pais, while conservative formations choose to give more weight to the public-private collaboration, as in the case of educational concerts.

Nuria Lopez

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