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So we've got a general election in #Spain today. Socialist PM Pedro Sánchez is the frontrunner, although it's not certain that he will be able to put up a ruling majority. Here's a thread with a few thoughts on #28A:

What's new?

a) The Socialists are set to win, a first since 2008
b) Five national parties will get over 10% of the vote
c) The far-right will enter parliament, a first since 1982
d) The conservative PP faces an assault on the right not seen since the UCD collapsed in the 80s

The campaign has been heavily polarized between left and right.

The right (PP + Ciudadanos + Vox) has focused on #Catalonia, hammering Sánchez's credibility and accusing him of being ready to cut the country into pieces for the sake of remaining in office.

The left (PSOE and Podemos) has focused on social issues, warning of the danger of the far-right coming to power.

It's been a war between two photos: Pedralbes (where PM Sánchez met Catalan leader Torra) and Colón (where the three leaders of the right met to oppose Sánchez)

These were my takeaways when the ballot was called:


One of the wedge issues of the campaign has been gender equality. Sánchez made feminism a banner when he became PM and has attempted to play it to his advantage during the campaign and the TV debates.

Here's how: politico.eu/article/spain-…

#Catalonia is important for:

a) It's the main line of attack against Sánchez
b) The PSOE has usually relied on a good result in Catalonia (+ Andalusia) to win at the national level
c) There's an ongoing fight for dominance of the separatist camp, with ERC set to make gains

Here's an article I liked on how the Catalan question will play out:

Concerns over the Catalan question will be key. Here's a couple of figures from the #CIS:

a) Support for the territorial status quo is at the highest level in years
b) In March, 11% said Catalan secession was one of the country's 3 main problems, for 7.1% in February
There's been a lot of talking about rural areas. Here's why:

a) They're overrepresented in parliament.
b) The electoral system is less proportional there, providing the frontrunner a bonus.
c) They've been a stronghold of the PP but now they're up for grabs

So all in all, PM Sánchez is set to become the big winner in rural areas. My take: politico.eu/article/the-ba…

One interesting thing is how Popular Party leader Pablo Casado has reacted to the rise of Vox and Ciudadanos' bet to compete on the right. He's shifted the party heavily to the right. We'll see today if that pays off:


Another interesting thing is Ciudadanos' repositioning:

a) It ruled out any agreement with Socialist Sánchez but didn't rule out one with the far-right
b) The bet looks obvious: Watch the PP crumble and become the hegemon center-right party in Spain.

Will it work?

Something funny is that (no matter how many times they've ruled that out) few politicians, observers or business leaders believe Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera will hold his promise to never back a coalition agreement with the Socialists in any circumstance.

Michael Reid, by the way, wrote a really interesting piece on Ciudadanos' gamble 👇

Here we go. Turnout at 14.30 is nearly five percentage points up from the previous election (11 points up in Catalonia).

Pollsters believe the higher the turnout the better for the Socialists.

The figures on turnout from 1977 to 2016. The record is 1982, when Felipe González obtained an overwhelming (and still unmatched) absolute majority of 202 seats (out of 350) to lead the first Socialist government since the fall of the II Republic: interior.gob.es/documents/6423…

A big question is the performance of the far-right newcomer Vox. Polls put it on around 11 percent of support but its ability to stage massive rallies and success on social media have many wondering if it will do much better than that. My take: politico.eu/article/spain-…

If it overperforms, it could either send the mainstream conservative Popular Party into disarray or make his leader Pablo Casado prime minister (or both :)).

A lot of it will depend on Vox ability to steal votes from the left and mobilize people who don't normally vote.

So far, Vox has mainly seduced relatively wealthier folks who used to vote for the Popular Party. This is an exception among far-right parties in Western Europe, which tend to be overrepresented among the poorer half of the electorate.

Will it stay like that?

Even if it was a mere scission of the PP at the beginning, Vox has now adopted the whole right-wing populist playbook and become a far-right party like any other seen in Europe: Anti-immigration and Eurosceptic (to a certain extent), even if its focus is national unity.

I emphasize this because I've seen some confusing articles about the topic. If you're unsure, watch yourself party leader Santiago Abascal hammering politicians who fail to expel "“one single foreign criminal” or bashing "globalist bureaucrats" in Brussels:

First one, campaign rally at Las Rozas:

Second one, Vox final campaign rally:

So Vox prioritizes bashing Catalan separatists and promoting national pride over its anti-immigrant message (but it's still there).

Then there's been a hunt for fresh faces to fill the party lists, particularly on the right 👇

One extra question is whether pro-animal rights party Pacma will make a breakthrough and get a lawmaker elected to Congress. I had a look at the potential of Pacma some weeks ago:


You can read most of @POLITICOEurope's coverage on the Spanish election here:


Second turnout data, at 18:00: It’s nearly 61 percent, over nine percentage points up from the 2016 figure at the same time.

Again, high turnout has traditionally benefited the Socialists...

Spain’s Socialists win the election but rely on Catalan separatists to govern.

All three polls made over the last few days of the campaign trail provide similar results.

Official figures will still take some time...

If the results are confirmed, PM Sánchez would need to rely on the same fragile alliance with Podemos as well as Basque and Catalan nationalists which allowed him to seize power from the PP last year 👇

First official figures have started coming out (just over 4 percent of the ballots counted for now)... You can follow the results here:


Over 26 percent of the ballots counted. Socialists on track for a big win, but still reliant on Catalan pro-independence parties to remain in power. But a second possibility of a ruling coalition looks closer: PSOE + Ciudadanos

(Still, too few votes counted yet)

A third possibility opens its way with 46 percent of the ballots counted. Socialist Sánchez could also rule with Podemos and small regional allies, but without the Catalan pro-independence parties.

One thing is absolutely clear by now: It's been an absolutely devastating night for Spain's mainstream conservatives, the Popular Party, and its new leader Pablo Casado. The PP is on track to lose half its vote share and half its seats in the parliament.

Spain’s Socialists score big election victory

PM Pedro Sánchez will still have to team up with other parties to stay in power, but he may not need Catalan separatists:



Full results with over 99 percent of the ballots counted: resultados.eleccionesgenerales19.es/Congreso/Total…


The vote share of the two biggest parties — the mainstream centre-left PSOE and center-right PP — falls to 45%, the lowest level in #Spain's recent democratic history.


Iván Redondo, PM Pedro Sánchez's chief of staff, was the key player behind the Socialist victory. Here's a profile a wrote not long ago about him: politico.eu/article/ivan-r…


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