By Sarah Bates
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New coalition government in Spain marks a shift to the right for Podemos

This article is over 4 years, 1 months old
Issue 2687
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (Pic: SPD Schleswig-Holstein/Flickr)

A new coalition government in Spain is vowing to create “a Spain of moderation and not a Spain of tension”.

The coalition boasts a cabinet made up of the Labour-type PSOE party, once-radical group Podemos and the Communist-led United Left. It has been formed after a long period of negotiations.

Catalan independence is part of the backdrop to Spain’s political turmoil.

It is still a hugely mobilising issue as some 350,000 marched for Catalan independence in October 2019.

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez and his alliance won a parliamentary vote by 167 to 165 to form the government last week.

Some 18 MPs from the pro-Catalan parties abstained.

Spain’s politicians have engaged in months of mudslinging, as the parties struggled to build support following an election result that delivered no clear mandate.

Sanchez said he wants “a Spain that builds bridges of collaboration and not a Spain of vetoes and ruptures”. “We’ve had enough of those over the past few years,” he said.

The deal represents a further shift to the right for Podemos.


It entered the parliament in 2014 on a wave of promises about tackling the elites, reducing poverty and clamping down on tax avoiders.

MPs have been engaged in negotiations since November’s general election—which saw far right party Vox more than double its seats to 52 and snatch 15 percent of the vote.

The PSOE-led government will implement cuts and has not promised self-determination for Catalonia.

Mireja Vehi, an MP for the anti-capitalist, pro-Catalan independence CUP, said the coalition would mean “a fiscal policy that guarantees budgetary stability and deficit reduction”.

She called those supporting the deal, “naive or deceiving”, and said the government wouldn’t tackle repression, attacks on human rights, the climate crisis or sexism.

Although the manoeuvres inside parliament matter, the movement on the street is the key factor.

The priority for everyone in Spain has to be strengthening the battles that will improve the lives of ordinary people.

This means building the fight against the rise of the far right, stopping austerity and for Catalan self-determination.

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