The World In A Week – The reign in Spain

Politics, it would seem, does not like being out of the spotlight. On a quieter week for Brexit and Trump, the vacuum was filled by the eager Europeans. In echoes of last year’s Italian election, where the scars of the Eurozone crisis from a decade ago are still inflamed, the tension of populist politics spread to Spain, where they held a general election last night.

The current ruling party, PSOE (Partido SocialisTheta Obrero Espa√±ol, or ‘Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party’), which only came to power last year after ousting the reigning People’s Party in a confidence vote, won the majority of votes. Celebrating a decisive victory, Pedro S√°nchez’s party increased their percentage of the overall vote to 28.7%, up from 22.6% in the last general election in 2016.

Much of the success of PSOE can be found in the implosion of their opposition, which saw Spain’s right-wing parties split into three distinct entities, diluting their influence over voters. The campaigning from right-wing parties was equally disastrous and played into the hands of the low-key strategy employed by PSOE.

Mirroring the UK, the likely option is for Mr S√°nchez to form a coalition with moderate regional parties to form a majority government. However, in a radio interview this morning, it seems the PSOE has not ruled out reigning as a minority government; Spain is the only country among the largest EU states not to have had a coalition government in the past 40 years.

The markets’ biggest fear would have been the emergence of the anti-establishment party Vox taking a grip on Hispanic politics. Political polarisation is becoming the new normal, as western politics move away from the centre.