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Spain - Politics

Spanish politicians at all levels have a large mouth but NO ears. They simply will not listen, but continue to say what they want even when listeners try to explain to them that they simply cant get what they want. The second thing is that no Spanish politician will ever compromise either someone does what he says, or out they go. The third thing is that if a Spanish politician or businessman has to choose between power and money, he nearly always chooses power, even if it loses him money in the short run. He knows that in the long run, power will always get more money, whereas more money doesnt necessarily buy power.

President of the Government [Prime Minister]

03 Jul 197625 Feb 1981Adolfo Surez GonzlezUCDDemocratic and Social Center
25 Feb 198101 Dec 1982Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo y BusteloUCDDemocratic and Social Center
01 Dec 198204 May 1996Felipe Gonzlez MrquezPSOESocialist Worker's Party
04 May 199616 Apr 2004Jos Mara Aznar LpezPPPopular Party
16 Apr 200420 Dec 2011Jos Luis Rodrguez ZapateroPSOE Socialist Worker's Party
20 Dec 201101 Jun 2018Mariano Rajoy BreyPP Popular Party
01 Jun 2018xx xxx 201xPedro SnchezPSOE Socialist Worker's Party

The political system established in 1939 by Francisco Franco was characterized by limited and non-responsible political pluralism, political demobilization, a leader who exercised power within formally undefined but clearly recognizable limits, and the absence of an elaborated ideology. A transition to democracy began in 1975, and in a very short period of time Spain was able to establish a stable, consolidated parliamentary monarchy indistinguishable in many ways from many other West European democracies.

Since the reintroduction of democracy in 1977, one of the major parties has always been able to either win an absolute majority or coalition with smaller parties to win a majority and select their President. The D'Hondt Method's proportional-representational formula tends to over-represent the party that wins the highest percent of the vote, and under-represents the smallest parties. It also benefits parties who agree to unite and run a combined candidate list, providing more seats than if the parties agreed to coalition after the election. The Socialists (PSOE) and the far-left party (Izquierda Unida) have not run combined lists since the reintroduction of democracy. Socialists and "communists" uniting (which is still remembered as being the constituents of the Popular Front coalition of the mid-1930s) would likely drive some voters away, negating any benefit of the union. In October 1982, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), led by Felipe Gonzalez, swept both the Congress of Deputies and Senate, winning an absolute majority. Gonzalez and the PSOE ruled for the next 13 years. During that period, Spain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Community.

In March 1996, Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP - Partido Popular ) won a plurality of votes. Aznar moved to decentralize powers to the regions and liberalize the economy, with a program of privatization, labor market reform, and measures designed to increase competition in selected markets. During Aznar's first term, Spain fully integrated into European institutions, qualifying for the European Monetary Union, and participated, along with the United States and other NATO allies, in military operations in the former Yugoslavia. President Aznar and the PP won reelection in March 2000, obtaining absolute majorities in both houses of parliament.

After the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, President Aznar became a key ally in the fight against terrorism. Spain backed the military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan and took a leadership role within the European Union (EU) in pushing for increased international cooperation on terrorism. The Aznar government, with a rotating seat on the UN Security Council, supported the intervention in Iraq.

Movimiento 15-M, sometimes also called the movement of the indignated, began on May 15, 2011. Through various protests and demonstrations across the country, the movements platform calls for radical changes in the Spanish political system, which they claim has failed the Spanish at the expense of protecting Spanish elites. Although the movement reached high levels of popularity amongst Spanish youth (understandably so considering the economic climate theyve inherited), we learned that the movement was (is?) noteworthy because it has crossed traditional social and partisan lines and resonated with people across all age groups, income level, gender, employment status, and level of urbanization. The successful protests allowed an entirely new political party to be formed in the country called PODEMOS (meaning we can). Spanish MPs rejected acting PM Mariano Rajoy's bid to form a government on 31 August 2016. Rajoy, leader of the center-right People's Party (PP), secured the backing of only 170 representatives in the 350-strong assembly, six seats short of the majority he needed.

Liberal parliamentary newcomer Ciudadanos voted in favor of Rajoy, as did a small party from the Canary Islands, but he failed to make inroads with the Socialists (PSOE), the anti-austerity alliance Unidos Podemos and regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia. "They are incapable of leading the country," Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez said. Leader the leftist party Podemos (We Can), Pablo Iglesias, said that Rajoy's PP "embodies corruption."

Rajoy took the oath as leader of Spain's new government, ending a 10-month impasse. After two inconclusive elections, Rajoy won a parliamentary confidence vote on 31 October 2016. PSOE agreed to abstain in a parliamentary confidence vote, which allowed the conservative leader to win enough support to form a government. But the 61-year-old still headed a minority administration that could have difficulty passing laws in parliament.

Spanish regions followed distinctive political paths. These regionally distinctive political paths end with the unification process. This fact is of fundamental importance, since it integrates all the regions in the same formal political institutional framework. On 01 October 2017, the regional government of Catalonia attempted to hold a referendum on independence from Spain that the national court previously declared unconstitutional. The Catalan Supreme Court ordered police units to close several polling sites and to seize illegal election material, resulting in injuries to both civilians and police officers. The Catalan regional government claimed that 42 percent of the eligible voting population in Catalonia participated. The national government and courts maintained that the referendum and any subsequent attempt to declare Catalan independence are illegal.

By May 2018 Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faced a no-confidence vote after his party was found guilty of benefiting from illegal funds in a massive graft trial. All major opposition parties are calling for Rajoy to step down after Spain's National Court last week ruled the Popular Party (PP) profited from funds obtained illegally through "an authentic and efficient system of institutional corruption" including a slush fund. The court ordered the PP to pay back 245,000 ($290,000) and sentenced 29 people, including former top party members, to jail. But the main opposition Socialist party which filed the no-confidence motion has yet to secure the 176 or more votes needed in Spain's fragmented parliament to oust Rajoy, who survived a no-confidence vote in June 2017 called by anti-establishment party Podemos.

Rajoy's PP lost its absolute majority in parliament in the election in June 2016, and relied on centrist party Ciudadanos, with had 32 seats in parliament, to pass legislation. Ciudadanos did not back the Socialists' no-confidence motion, it said it would put forward its own no-confidence motion to trigger an election if Rajoy did not call an early vote -- an option the prime minister had already ruled out.

Socialist Pedro Sanchez took over as Spains prime minister on 01 June 2018, after outgoing leader Mariano Rajoy lost a parliamentary confidence vote triggered by a long-running corruption trial involving members of his center-right party. Socialist party head Sanchez becomes Spains seventh Prime Minister since its return to democracy in the late 1970s following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. But Rajoys departure after six years in office casts one of the European Unions top four economies into an uncertain political landscape, just as another - Italy - pulled back from early elections.

The motion was passed with 180 votes in favor, 169 against and 1 abstention. The vote was carried by Sanchez' own PSOE party, which filed the motion and has 84 seats in the parliament, with the help of the leftist alliance Unidos Podemos, which holds 67 seats, and of several regional parties. Rajoy's defeat marked the first time a Spanish premier had lost a no-confidence vote since the transition to democracy in Spain after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Although Rajoy was largely considered to have helped bring Spain out of its recession crisis since he took power in 2011, critics say that the austerity measures he imposed exacerbated inequalities and that he failed to curb the country's high unemployment. His party has also faced continued allegations of corruption over the past years, culminating in the recent scandal.

Leftist Podemos, which would offer parliamentary support to Sanchezs government, is also unlikely to gain big influence over the new prime minister, who is keen to differentiate his Socialist party from its anti-austerity ally and win back centrist voters.

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Page last modified: 17-11-2019 19:12:29 ZULU