Spanish parliament to dissolve to trigger elections

OVIEDO, Spain 

After months of failed talks to form a government, Spain’s Parliament will dissolve at midnight Monday and automatically trigger fresh national elections for Nov. 10.

This will be the fourth time the Spaniards are called to national polls since 2015.

The results of the last national vote in April 2019 gave Spain’s Socialist party, headed by Pedro Sanchez, a minority. But his party was unable to drum up the parliamentary support required by Spanish law to form a government.

Although a left-wing bloc made up of the Socialists, the far-left Unidas Podemos and different nationalist groups did have the parliamentary majority, talks broke down.

Unidas Podemos demanded a coalition government and the Socialists refused their terms. With neither party willing to budge, a stalemate was called and Spanish voters are being asked to break it.

Surveys of voter intention suggest that even after Nov. 10, Spain’s Parliament will remain similarly fragmented.

Throughout the majority of its democratic history, Spain had been dominated by two parties — the Socialist and Popular Party.

Yet, since 2015, with the meteoric rise of the anti-austerity party Podemos, the government has become increasingly fractured. Over the years, even more new parties have broken onto the scene such as the center-right Ciudadanos and the far-right Vox, making the formation of majority governments less possible.

So far, Spanish politicians have been unable to carve out a new model of cooperation that allows for a stable government.

“The failure of the political forces to form a stable government has very high costs for Spanish society,” said an editorial from the Spanish daily El Pais last week, pointing out the government’s inability to deal with economic deceleration and carry out needed reforms.

Voters are becoming frustrated. Besides administrative paralysis, each election costs around €140 million ($153 million) and the valuable time of voters.

Despite passing zero laws in 146 days of work, the costs of the Spanish Parliament, including wages, spending, and travel, were more than €23.8 million ($26.1 million), according to the transparency portal Newtral.
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