After a period of increased electoral support to forces considered progressive, we are currently in a period of recomposition of the political landscape, marked by a new far-right party, Vox, which has entered the political scene forcefully since the last regional elections of Andalusia. We have quite many reasons to believe that they will also get representation in the European elections. Vox grows fundamentally from the dissatisfied electorate of the Popular Party (which is in crisis due to the corruption cases that affect it) with an anti-immigration and anti-feminist discourse as well as pro-unity of Spain as an answer to the political situation in Catalonia.
On the other hand, the left represented in the Congreso de los Diputados by Unidos Podemos (coalition that brings together Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Cataluña en Común and En Marea) faces a crisis at different levels in the upcoming local, regional and European elections. In some municipalities and regions, such as Madrid, it is not possible to reach consensus on common candidacies. That implies a scenario of having two or even three different candidacies in the next local and regional elections from the same currently common space. This situation is also affecting the agreements regarding the European Elections that have not been yet been defined.
The majority that made possible in the Congress the motion of censorship against the conservative government of the Popular Party is fragile. For now, there is no agreement on the approval of the General Budgets for 2019. This can lead to a crisis in the government and the call for early general elections. (You can see a published poll here in Spanish https://elelectoral.com/encuesta-media/ )
Moving into the main debates articulated in the public dialogue:
1. The territorial organization of the State. After the process launched by the Catalan government on its bigger autonomy and the response of the PP government with the support of PSOE to apply an article of the Constitution that temporarily suspended the self-government of Catalonia (with additional political repression), the territorial model has occupied the center of the political debate. The positions are polarized between nationalist parties with presence in the Congress as ERC, PdCat or PNV (in favor of the right to self-determination) and those who defend a greater centralization of the State in defense of the unity of Spain (PP, Ciudadanos, Vox), while Unidos Podemos is in a negotiated, democratic and inclusive exit position.
2. Μigration is another issue that occupy the headlines in the media. In this sense, the extreme right of VOX is ruling the agenda setting with its proposal for the citizens to report on the presence of illegal migrants and call for their deportation. This proposal has managed to mobilize also PP and Ciudadanos. The socialist PSOE defends proposals for a regulation of migration through the model of the contracts with the countries of origin, for example, but on the other hand is symbolically placing itself in the anti-immigration camp when they banned the Open Arms ship to be docked in Spanish ground. On the contrary, Unidos Podemos stands for human rights and therefore against the current Immigration Law by defending proposals against the “Detention Centers”, racist raids and deportations.
3. In foreign affairs, the Venezuelan crisis is at the center of interest. All parties, expect from Unidos Podemos, stand close to the position of recognition of Guaido as a self-proclaimed president. Unidos Podemos support the solution of an international mediation led by Mexico and Uruguay.
4. During the last few months, the taxi sector has been fighting against the deregulation of VTC licenses, which has had a great impact on the media. We could say that this is representative of a wider struggle against digital capitalism disguised as a “collaborative economy”. The only political party that raises a regulation of this sector with defense of the public goods is Unidos Podemos.
Focusing on the European Elections question, we shall admit that is not a question of the current political agenda. However, we can identify issues related to Catalonia (the Catalan government appeals to the European institutions as a field of political pressure for its interests in the struggle against the central government). Other topic would be the Brexit and its impact for the Spanish community residing there and for the definition of the borders with the territory of Gibraltar.
As mentioned above, although the electoral agreement is not yet defined, the candidature “Unidos Podemos Cambiar Europa” (United We Can Change Europe) would include Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Equo and Cataluña en Común. In this same list there would be parties that are currently part of the Party of the European Left (IU, PCE, EUiA), of GUE/NGL (Podemos, IU) and the Green Group (ICV). Among these parties, some have expressed sympathy for initiatives such as the Plan B (Podemos).
It seems that within the next weeks the stance of the left in Spain towards the European Election and its plans will be clear and we will publish an update of the recent news and developments.
by Javier Moreno, Project Manager at Fundación por la Europa de los Ciudadanos