Bonnie N. Field

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On April 28, Spain held parliamentary elections. But as yet, the parties haven’t agreed on a new government. This Monday and Tuesday, a fragmented parliament is set to debate and then vote on the candidate for prime minister, the incumbent Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist Party. So far, the candidate does not have the votes to win, although of course something could still change.

Do Spain’s political leaders have a cultural aversion to dealmaking? Not really. But since its return to democracy in the 1970s, Spain has not had a national coalition government. Political parties therefore lack experience in using the tools for building coalitions, such as sharing power.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Sunday, Spain will hold an election for its parliament, which will then choose a new government.

This is the third time that Spaniards have voted in national elections since 2015. After the first of these elections, parliament could not agree on a government, so a repeat election was held in 2016. After that, parliament selected Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Popular Party as prime minister — but only because the main opposition Socialists abstained. With only 39 percent of seats in parliament, the Popular Party formed a single-party minority government, with support from a new center-right party, Citizens.

The conservative government did not survive long.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-independence supporters celebrate at the ANC (Catalan National Assembly) headquarters after results of the regional elections Thursday in Barcelona. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Catalans went to the polls on Thursday. These were the first regional elections since Catalonia’s Oct. 1 referendum on independence rocked Spain’s political system.

With most of the vote counted, three parties that support Catalan independence from Spain appear to have won a narrow majority of the seats in parliament — Together for Catalonia, led by deposed President Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan Republican Left and Popular Unity Candidacy. But they appear to have fallen short of winning a majority of the votes.

Of those parties that will gain representation in parliament, Citizens, a party that supports Spanish unity, won the most seats and votes.…  Seguir leyendo »

People gather on Sept. 21 in Barcelona to show support for holding an independence referendum. (Manu Fernandez/AP)

The regional government of Catalonia, one of the wealthiest regions of Spain, plans to hold a referendum on independence from Spain on Sunday. That’s a problem. Spain’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a regional government cannot call a referendum, because Spain’s constitution does not recognize the right to self-determination and establishes that sovereignty resides with Spanish citizens collectively.

Sunday’s referendum pits two competing claims of political legitimacy against one another. The Catalan government says that the Catalan people want a referendum, and the majority of the Catalan parliament supports it. The broader Spanish government insists that the referendum must not go forward because it goes against Spain’s democratic political institutions and its constitutional order.…  Seguir leyendo »

España no consigue formar gobierno desde que las elecciones generales de diciembre del 2015 transformaron radicalmente su sistema de partidos. La dificultad de formar gobierno está relacionada con los cálculos de los partidos sobre los posibles costes y beneficios de apoyar o no gobiernos distintos en términos de apoyo político de los votantes, conseguir sus prioridades en cuanto a políticas públicas y obtener cargos políticos. Las reglas para la formación y censura del gobierno afectan a estos cálculos.

Las reglas que España adoptó en la constitución de1978 son dramáticamente diferentes que las que rigieron durante su primera democracia, la Segunda República (1931-36), un golpe de Estado en contra de la misma llevó a una brutal guerra civil y décadas de un régimen autoritario bajo Francisco Franco.…  Seguir leyendo »