Looking forward to the Spanish election

Next weekend Spain will vote on a new government. There's very little doubt that the right wing Partido Popular (PP) led by Mariano Rajoy will be the largest party, and the only real question is whether they will gain an outright majority or need support from other parties to form a government.

For me, this is of particular interest because the parties they're most likely to seek such support from will be Convergència i Unió (CiU) in Catalunya and Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea - Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ-PNV) in Euskadi. As both are on the centre-right of the political spectrum they will be natural allies, but both will want to press for greater autonomy for their respective countries, and each will support the other in that aim. For Catalunya, such an aliance will come at the price of a new fiscal arrangement similar to that already enjoyed by the four Basque provinces, which set and collect all their own taxes and only send Madrid a negotiated sum for services provided centrally and to support the poorer regions of Spain. It's probably the best model for how devo-max might work in Scotland.

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Someone who left a comment on an earlier post about Catalunya pointed me to a poll which shows that CiU are likely to make a modest gain of two seats on their previous showing. This probably reflects a general swing from left to right within Catalan nationalism, with a similar swing between left and right within the Spanish nationalism of the PP and PSOE.

But what interested me more is what is happening in Euskadi, particularly now that Spain has allowed broad alliances representing the pro-independence left to participate. After Sortu was banned, they reformed as Bildu and made a major breakthrough in the municipal elections earlier this year. For this election, they have styled themselves as Amaiur. These are the results of the latest poll, with the percentages for the previous election in 2008 in brackets.

Araba

PP ... 30.3% (was 26.5%)
PSE-EE ... 24.7% (was 40.7%)
EAJ-PNV ... 19.0% (was 18.8%)
Amaiur ...18.0% (was 9%)

Bizkaia

EAJ-PNV ... 29.4% (was 31.1%)
PSE-EE ... 22.0% (was 37.0%)
PP ... 21.0% (was 19.1%)
Amaiur ... 19.1% (was 8.9%)

Gipuzkoa

Amaiur ... 36.3% (was 17.9%)
PSE-EE ... 21.8% (was 39.0%)
EAJ-PNV ... 19.0% (was 23.8%)
PP ... 15.0% (was 14.6%)

Overall

EAJ-PNV ... 24.6% (was 26.1%)
Amaiur ... 24.5% (was 10.8%)
PSE-EE ... 22.3% (was 38.2%)
PP ... 20.4% (was 18.7%)

Estudio Preelectoral, Noviembre 2011

Although there is a small swing from left to right—though not as big as would be expected given the general swing in Spain—what is remarkable is the swing away from the Spanish socialist PSE-EE to the Basque pro-independence left. Although the circumstances are different, it's akin to the slump of the Labour party in Scotland and the swing to the SNP. Perhaps this shows that it wasn't a one-off, and that the same could easily happen in Wales.

There is now a combined Basque nationalist vote of 49.1% (it was 36.8% in the equivalent election in 2008) over a combined Spanish vote of 42.7% (was 56.8%). What was a margin of 20% one way has now become a margin of 6.4% the other way. It's going to make the 2013 election to the Basque Parliament very interesting indeed.

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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exciting times in indeed- in Euskal Herria, Catalonia, Flanders and of course Scotland. Will Wales catch up? Is Plaid capable of framing a credible, optimistic narrative of home rule, social justice and personal and collective empowerment? This is what the SNP managed to do last May, and Plaid failed to do, despite having the best manifesto in policy terms of all the main parties in Wales.

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