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José Ramón Pin Arboledas, Professor at IESE University of Navarra, Spain


Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:47:00 +0000 Published in The Economist

The Spanish electoral law has favored sufficient majorities to govern. In general elections it has generated single-party governments, although they have needed help. That is why Spain has had a reasonable bipartisanship and institutional stability. Now, with the polls abandoning the PP and the PSOE, are we doomed to coalition governments? In view of this, parties have appeared with the vocation of hinge for 2014 and 2015 with European, local, regional and general elections. The hinges are useful both in a coalition with the center-left (PSOE) and with the center-right (PP), because their ideology and programs are flexible, to put it politely. The two new parties on offer, apart from Coalición Canaria and the Navarrese UPN, are: UPyD and Ciutadans. Both want to compete for this space and there are already quarrels since Albert Rivera, from Ciutadans, has jumped into national politics. Both parties offer a program in which the most solid aspect is their defense of Spain. Something that many voters may value especially in the general elections. Voters who want a government with clear ideas. All this if PP and PSOE do not come back; a comeback that Economics could give to the Government party. PP and PSOE to agree on the great issues of State (Foreign Policy, Education, Health, Pensions...) and a new Electoral Law, which in order to bring the politician closer to the voter should contemplate that an important part of the legislative Chambers be elected by small single-member districts; and a second round system for the election by majority of mayors and regional presidents, in order to ensure the governability of these institutions. Only with a solid majority of more than 2/3 could these challenges be addressed. Only with the sum of PP and PSOE could it be achieved. And thus, it would be possible to establish the instructions of a new era of prosperity as the consensus did in the transition.