In Spain’s Seismic Elections, ‘It’s the Victory of David Over Goliath’

The country’s political landscape has changed beyond recognition, with left-wing parties gaining everywhere.

The Nation, By Bécquer Seguín & Sebastiaan Faber, May 26

“It’s the victory of David over Goliath,” said Ada Colau in front of an ecstatic crowd just before midnight on May 24. Colau, the former spokesperson of Spain’s anti-eviction movement (PAH) and the country’s most visible face of popular outrage against austerity, is likely to be the new mayor of Barcelona.

Spain’s local and regional elections have changed the country’s political landscape beyond recognition. Marking an end to thirty years of two-party dominance, they have shifted majorities everywhere to the left. The unprecedented rise of two new political forces—Podemos (“We can”) on the left, and Ciudadanos (“Citizens”) on the right—has siphoned traditional votes from the Socialist Party (PSOE) and, especially, the ruling Popular Party (PP). The PP, although it remained the largest party, lost some 2.5 million votes and, with them, the ability to govern in the majority of Spain’s autonomous regions as well as the cities of Madrid, Valladolid, and Valencia. The PSOE, for its part, has positively spun its otherwise unremarkable electoral showing by proclaiming itself the “top political force on the left.” Among the casualties of the seismic shift are a handful of longstanding smaller groups, including the United Left (Izquierda Unida).

To be sure, the new situation will take some getting used to. Spain now has four major national parties. Throughout the country, coalition governments will be the new norm. And looming over the difficult negotiations to build governing majorities are this fall’s national elections. Spain’s future hangs in the balance, and any misstep could prove costly.

The Guardian – Comment is free: The British left must learn to speak a new language – Spanish, Owen Jones

‘Politics has nothing to do with being right,” says the pony-tailed Spanish political phenomenon Pablo Iglesias. “Politics is about succeeding.” And succeed is what the Spanish left does.

The fortresses of Madrid and Barcelona fell in regional elections this weekend, now set to be ruled by two feminist radicals who are implacably opposed to austerity and the free market order. Movements linked to Podemos – the party led by Iglesias which was formed only last year – has mounted the biggest challenge to Spain’s two-party system since the restoration of democracy four decades ago. Spain has one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, but economic growth has not rescued the defenders of a grotesquely unequal order.

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