Spanish all-in by Pedro Sánchez

Pedro Sánchez has led Spain’s Socialists for six years. Here, surrounded by his female fans. Photo Facebook Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón

What few expected happened: Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who has ruled the country since June 2018, called early elections. He did so despite the fact that, according to current polls, his PSOE party should lose them. The Spaniards were originally supposed to go to vote for their deputies, and by extension the new government, only in the winter. However, Sánchez decided that it would happen on July 23.

Why such a maneuver? The official rationale is the failure of Sánchez’s own party in May’s local and regional elections. “I take full responsibility for the results and feel the need to respond (…) It is necessary for the Spanish people to say clearly who they want at the head (…) and what political direction the country should take,” stated Sánchez in a thematic speech.

However, only a few of the observers believe such an explanation, or rather believe it completely. Rather, we are talking about a remarkable political calculation. In the aforementioned local and regional elections, the opposition conservatives from the People’s Party (PP) and the nationalist populists from the far-right Vox succeeded in part. These parties now have to negotiate coalitions with each other.

At the same time, a large part of Spaniards do not want Vox in power, even with passionate opposition. Sánchez will thus be able to intersperse the entire campaign with illustrative references to this or that power agreement between Vox and the conservatives at the local level, which will be concluded here or there, and he will be able to simply argue: voting for the People’s Party means getting Vox into the government of the whole of Spain.

How extra reminds for example, the political scientist Alana Moceriová, in the local and regional elections in May, the consistent left also lost, even more significantly than the socialists. The consistent left is in a clear crisis in Spain since the conflict between the well-known formation Podemos and the new platform Sumar, and it will certainly not be resolved by July. Sánchez’s Socialists can thus collect part of her support in early elections.

The evolution of the preferences of the main Spanish parties since the last election. Conservatives from PP here in blue, ruling socialists in red and far-right Vox in green. Also worth noting is the fall of the once promising center-right party Ciudadanos (orange), which today has only scant support. WmC graphics

Prime Minister Sánchez’s entire maneuver thus resembles an all-in poker move. This is an extremely risky move, because the conservatives from the People’s Party are currently leading the polls by six to eleven percent. At the same time, however, the socialists will no longer have any better tactical options.

According to expert estimates, they don’t have much of a chance even after this maneuver. But at least they have some now — unlike the alternative, which would be to wait patiently until winter.

Source: Deník referendum by

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