• Article from our member organisation in Catalonia "Fundació l'Alternativa" on the political landscape in Spain three months before the European Elections
  • The Spanish scenario for the 2019 European Elections

  • By Ramón Luque | 11 Feb 19 | Posted under: Spain , Elections , European Union , The Left
  • These lines mean to be a brief but clear outline of what the electoral scenario is for the next European elections in Spain on May 26, 2019. First, it is worth clarifying that, unlike most UE countries, the elections in Spain will be unique, because electoral process will coincide on the same day as the municipal elections in all cities and towns and, also, regional elections in 13 of the 17 Autonomous Communities in which the Spanish State is configured political and administratively  . And it is not ruled out that the President of the Government will call for general elections. This will place, for the first time in Spain, an electoral "supersunday" of profound political impact.

    So, we are probably talking about elections with a strong political component and where national debates will take a decisive role, leaving European issues of such enormous importance in second place (if not on one side). And it remains to be seen, in that context, which singular electoral behavior would occur. Unfortunately, there are neither similar precedents nor data for the opinions polls.

    What is the correlation of political forces, nowadays?

    On May 26th, the elections will take place within a contradictory context of forces. On the one hand the City Councils of the change, direct results of the "Occupy the squares" movement (so called 15-M in 2011) and, on the other hand, the party Unidos Podemos United We Can) and the reached political forces’ Convergence, intend to re-validate the process which led us to govern Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Coruña... and so many Spain cities in the previous municipal elections. After the motion of parliamentary censure that defeated Rajoy and removed the PP of the central government, the PSOE intends to make from these elections a high profitability moment of their few months of government.

    On the right wing, Citizens Party works to consolidate the positive results that some polls show and the recent Andalusian elections has confirmed. The People’s Party, with the new leadership of Pablo Casado, hopes to minimize the expected worst results in comparison to the ones announced by conservative experts, when they have been always the winners in the previous European elections. Finally, the extreme right wing of the party Vox, would want to take advantage of its recent emergence in the Andalusian elections to consolidate the reached position and, from the advantage of the strict proportionality of the electoral law in Europe, obtain a significant result that engross in deputies, a future European parliamentary group of fascist, reactionary, racist and xenophobic, all forces together.

    As far as it looks, the coincidence of elections makes it difficult, at least to date, to foresee a merely final result, within a scenario of strong mobilization of the right wing after the elections in Andalusia, but at the same time with a strong response from the anti-fascist, protest mobilization and, especially, the one foreseen for the March 8 in occasion of women's day. A day that we surely can announce that it seems to be a

    The relevant issues on the political debate

    The rise of fascism and racism, the ineffective policies of the European Union in relation to migration, the neoliberal policies impact in the countries of the Union, rapidly escalating unemployment and precarious employment, the undoing on the social progress promoted by the European Commission, and finally the democratic health and the regression on democratic rights and civil in the EU will undoubtedly be the keys of debate on the next electoral campaign in Spain.

    In relation to these issues, we will be witness of a wide break of the right and left wings that will place on the extreme right side of the political board to the Popular Party, the Citizens party and the emerging force of the Vox.

    Inevitably, the celebration of the trial to the Catalonia political leaders will undermine, in any case, the general political debate.

    In Spain there will have an especial importance, the debate on women's rights and the rejection to the statements advocated with special virulence by the People’s Party and the Vox.

    The general strike on next March 8th, as in 2018 was a really knock-out, in 2019 may be a resounding success and also be the most important political fight shortly before the European electoral process.

    Actually, the European elections are not at the centre of the debate. And this is because the political intervention axis will be focused on the simultaneity running of municipal and autonomic elections. In fact, the electoral appointment on May 26th in Spain will have characteristics of some "primaries" of the general elections that would be held in 2020 but, everyone already knows they will be in 2019.

    Thus, in our case, the European debate will be aimed to frame the discourse and the narrative on the national political scenery. A European debate unfortunately reduced to a subsidiary topic, instead to a secondary one in relation to the country political debate.

    It is not unexpected, that the transcendental matters (such as the European construction, the Brexit repercussions in Spain, the Southern border of the Union in front of the migration pressure, so transcendent issue in our country, just to remark some of them) may be overshadowed by the news outlets noise within an election process poisoned by the debate irruption of an obsolete post-Francoism or a political judgment of enormous impact.

    A unitary candidacy: United We Can Change Europe

    Just as in the last European elections (2014) both the United Left party and Po demos presented candidatures and alliances separately. Nowadays in 2019, the fruitful participation of both political formations within the GUE/NLG and the unitary processes in the last elections in Spain, will make us share a unique Unitary candidacy, which is probably called United We Can Change Europe.

    Needless to say that this electoral coalition (which will also include today to Catalonia in Comú, Equo (green), Initiative per Catlunya -Verds (green), Esquerra Unida i Alternativa and others political forces), is a fact without too many precedents in Europe, since they are members of parliamentary groups and different European parties. We think that it is a foremost political fact and an appropriate start line to be bold enough, likewise in Europe scenery, to face more ambitious unitary processes.

    The future of the parliamentary group

    Mostly, the forces of the United coalition can change Europe are member who are reference or have participated in the GUE/NLG. This acronyms is likely to continue being used along this electoral process in 2019. In any case, the Spanish experience may allows to be a reference, too, to promote the debate about the essential grouping of forces in the European Parliament, to influence effective way in a Parliament in which, for the first time, there will be no qualified majorities like before and to stop the rise of fascism, racism and xenophobia in Europe.

     

    By Ramón Luque, Responsible of European Affairs at Fundació l'Alternativa


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