Following a December election that has left Spanish politics deeply fragmented, People’s Party (PP) leader, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s  has been unable to secure the majority coalition he needs to rule.

Unless someone has a majority, it is the role of the king, otherwise a largely ceremonial role, to see if anyone can build a coalition. First chance goes to the party receiving the most votes.

Here’s a sequence of events with brief translations and a couple of comments from reader Bran who lives in Spain. The clips are from last Friday through today. Links are in Spanish.

Breaking the Logjam

The Financial Times reports Podemos Proposes Leftwing Coalition to Break Spain Logjam.

The anti-austerity Podemos party on Friday made an audacious move towards breaking Spain’s post-election political logjam, proposing a three-way coalition government with the Socialists and the United Left party.

“If the PSOE [the Spanish Socialist party] wants it, there can be a government of change,” Pablo Iglesias, the Podemos leader, told a news conference in Madrid.

He was speaking after meeting Felipe VI, the Spanish monarch, whose constitutional role includes proposing the next head of government to parliament.

Another complication is that the Socialists, Podemos and the United Left would still not hold a majority in parliament. The three parties together control 161 seats in the 350-seat parliament, meaning they would be 15 votes short of an absolute majority.

To win the premiership and pass future legislation, they would need either the support or the abstention of smaller regional parties, including the two parties that support Catalan independence from Spain. For the Socialists, a party that prides itself on its staunch defence of Spanish unity, it would be a deeply uncomfortable situation.

The proposal made by Mr Iglesias marks the first concrete offer to create a left-of-centre government coalition since Spain went to the polls in December. The election produced a deeply fragmented parliament that leaves neither the right nor the left an obvious path towards a stable majority.

Mr Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Popular party, has proposed a centrist alliance between his own party, the Socialists and the centrist Ciudadanos party. The Socialists have so far rejected the prime minister’s offer.

Problems Facing Leftist Coalition

  1. PSOE insists Catalonia stay united with Spain
  2. Podemos is open to Catalan elections
  3. The third group of fringe parties needed to form a coalition demand Catalonia independence

Spanish Government About to Fall

The most likely possibilities are a new election (if no one can achieve a majority), or an unstable coalition of leftist parties.

Barring an unlikely last minute miracle, the government of Mariano Rajoy is over. New elections are in the cards immediately, or a bit down the road after an unstable coalition of some sort falls apart.

Either way, Rajoy is burnt toast.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock