To Be Influential in the EU, Spain Must Rebuild its Political Centre

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Publication Date July 2023
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In the July 2023 general election, the Conservatives and the far-right Vox party collectively failed to score enough votes to form a government. Conservative party leader Feijóo hoped he could either gain enough seats to try to form a minority government, or to enter into a supply and confidence agreement, or even a coalition, with Vox. For that, he needed Vox to perform quite well. But Vox ended up losing 19 seats. To become prime minister, Feijóo also needed the socialist party PSOE and its junior partner, the newly created Sumar, to do badly. His strategy backfired. Spain’s rushed electoral campaign was Feijóo’s to lose – and he lost it. While the Conservatives obtained the most seats (with 137, up from 89), PSOE’s surprisingly good results (121 seats, up from 120) made it almost impossible for Feijóo to become prime minister. Feijóo only had a route to power if Sánchez failed to gather enough support for his own bid and agreed not to block Feijóo’s attempt at forming government – and the latter was not going to happen. Sánchez, by contrast, could find enough backing for a second term with the support of a collection of smaller parties. But negotiations with these mostly regional parties would not be easy. If they failed, Spaniards could be heading to the polls again in the winter.

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European Information Hub: Spanish General Election, July 2023
European Information Hub: Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, July to December 2023

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