Sunday 21 October 2012

Spanish Regional Elections.

Yesterday saw the regional elections in Galicia and the Basque Country. Both good and potentially really bad news...

Galicia (red) [A]
In Galicia, the local centre-right "People's" Party maintained government (gaining 3 additional seats in the local parliament), while the PSdeG, the local PSOE franchise, suffered a huge loss (less 7 seats). These results should please Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, himself a galego (i.e. Galician). (See here, here and here, in Spanish; here, in English)

While not surprised, I am puzzled. At one hand, the results were expected, according to the pre-elections polls giving the victory to PP. And, as expected, the galegos would understandably further punish PSdeG. But, why on earth would anyone vote for PP, in the first place?

The AGE (local left wing) gained 9 seats and parliamentary representation, which seems more understandable; the local nationalist party (BNG) lost 5 seats.

I guess Rajoy won't have much to complain here; for his PSOE counterpart, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, however, this should be ominous news.

Euzkadi (green) [B]
Here both mainstream parties (PP and PS-EE/PSOE) suffered big losses in the local parliament: -3 and -9 seats, respectively.

And those were not the worst results: the non-nationalist left Ezker Anitza-IU vanished, with no seats in parliament.

Curiously, I think any Schadenfreude from right-wing readers would by premature: Mariano Rajoy and his clique may have very little to celebrate here.

The centre-right/nationalist PNV gained the largest parliamentarian representation, while losing 3 seats; EH-Bildu (Basque nationalist/left wing) however, gained 16 seats, to become the second largest parliamentarian party.

Unlike Galicia, for Euzkadi independence is an important issue and one that may yet prove thorny for the likely next Basque premier, Iñigo Urkullu (PNV) and for Mariano Rajoy.

Urkullu, who didn't achieve the numbers to govern without alliances (27 seats of 75), will need parliamentarian support. That's the source of his problems.

He could attempt a deal with EH-Bildu (21 seats) and get the numbers that way, but this could add momentum to the popular demands for independence, which are not welcome in Madrid. Alternatively, and more naturally from an ideological perspective, he could try to court both PSE-EE (16 seats) and PP (10); however, would his constituents like such a move?

Catalonia (red) [C]

While Urkullu's first words could be interpreted as an attempt to differentiate his stance from that of Catalonian Artur Mas, the nationalist victory in Euzkadi could help CiU in the upcoming Catalonian regional elections (November, 15). And Mas has promised a referendum on the issue of independence.

If I were Rajoy, I'd worry.

Image Credits:
[A] Map of Spain with Galicia highlighted (July 6, 2009). Author: Mutxamel. Wikipedia.
[B] Autonomous Community of Euzkadi (October 4, 2006). Wikipedia.
[C] Map of Spain with Catalonia highlighted (July 9, 2009). Author: Mutxamel. Wikipedia.

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