Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Spain

Socialists lead Spanish Election results, far-right Vox in 3rd place, Left Populist vote tumbles.

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Resultado de imagen de elecciones España Noviembre 2019 Seats

Vox is now the 3rd Largest party in Spanish elections.

Socialists win repeat Spanish election, Vox becomes third-biggest force in Congress

A poll that was meant to unblock the political situation in Spain has only served to complicate it, with losses for the left, a recovery for the PP and a huge boost for the far-right.

El País

The Socialist Party (PSOE) of caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez won the highest number of seats but fell short of an absolute majority at the repeat general election in Spain on Sunday.

With around 99% of the vote counted, the PSOE had taken 120 seats – three fewer than the result it managed at the April 28 general election. The conservative Popular Party (PP) won 87 seats – a major gain from the 66 seats it secured in April, its worst result ever. But far-right group Vox saw the most significant rise, jumping from 24 to 52 seats, to become the third-largest party in Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies.

Unidas Podemos – a coalition of United Left and anti-austerity group Podemos – retained 35 of the 42 seats it won at the last election, while the centre-right party Ciudadanos (Citizens) suffered a crushing defeat, losing more than 40 seats to be left with just 10.

For decades the PSOE and PP had taken turns in power, but the economic crisis spawned protest parties and Spanish politics have lately been defined by a lack of parliamentary majorities and the inability of politicians to reach governing deals. Sunday’s vote was the fourth general election Spain has held in as many years.

The leader of Cuidamos has now resigned: Albert Rivera abandona la política tras la debacle electoral de Ciudadanos

Vox, (Vox, stylised),  the voice of popular hatred, is a national populist far right party. Apart from expressing dislike against immigrants and specifically Muslims, and the ‘elites’ of the European Union, they are marked by virulent opposition to Catalan nationalism,  and express a strong strain of anti-feminism and claims to defend “the family”  not found in much of the electorally successful Western European populist right. With this social conservatism the party of Santiago Abascal has sometimes been compared to  Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) admired in Britain by some figures from Blue Labour.

The left populists of Podemos continue to decline. As Unidas Podemos (supported by other left organisations such as Izquierda Unida) they are down from the highpoint of 21,6% in 2016 and now stand at 9, 80% with 26 seats. The splinter from the party of Pablo Iglesias  led by his former comrade, Íñigo Errejón,  Más País, best known for its Green New Deal platform, won 3 seats (577,018 or 2,40%.)

Left populism now looks unlikely to ever make the expected breakthrough in Spain.

When he was a member of Podemos Errejón outlined his line of march in a widely read book,  Podemos: In the Name of the People, Chantal Mouffe in Conversation with Íñigo Errejón  2016.

We have taken steps to build  – culturally, affectively, symbolically – that new political identity, and to form the nucleus of a national-popular will that is capable of turning the turning the hopes and fears of those below into the hopes and fear of a new country, the foundations of a new historical bloc.”(Page  158)

There was a grand strategy  behind this, “We need to recover a sense of politics, and a passion for a democratic revolution, which we always born from ‘we the people’ – that is always the originatory (sic)  statement – construction of a people that demands sovereignty and a new social contract.”(Page 159) The “people” have yet to speak through the voices of Podemos and Más País let alone be “constructed” around their Charismatic leadership.

Chantal Mouffe, the theorist of left populism, claimed the task was the  “To turn heterogeneous demands into a  collective will it’s necessary to have a figure that can represent that unity.”(Page  109). Welding all kinds of aspirations, feelings and people in a country as complex as Spain, into a united wish to do something, through the vehicle of a diverse political party however ‘new’ struck many as the time, and since, as an almost theological hope.

Spanish left populism has, to few outsiders’ surprise,  failed to do this. Its weakness was in focusing attention on the faults of the ‘casts’ the political elite, the kind of thieving and manoeuvering seen in the 2018 Spanish film El reino (The Candidate). That this could be recuperated by forces like Voz is plain to see. Whatever either the Iglesias side or the Errejón one   had to offer in the way of countering their rise, above all in Andalusian politics, has been conspicuous by its lack of impact. The left populists in Podemos itself has strengths, such adopting a ‘pluri-national’ democratic approach to the issue of Catalonia and its national demands, without making concessions to the Barcelona bourgeoisie nationalists and their self-styled leftist allies. But that has not brought electoral success either.

Neither the Podemos brand of left populism, nor the Más País  more ‘open’ progressive stance, rooted in the (not unqualified successful) Más Madrid experience, had brought electoral benefits.

The response by Errejón’s party is particularity irksome, blaming abstention for their feeble performance:


It is left to the centre left  Spanish Socialist Party of the PSOE to work out how to proceed faced with a reinvigorated right.

¿Y ahora qué? ¿Le salen las cuentas al PSOE para formar Gobierno?

Meanwhile French Left populism faces virulent criticism from a former leading member in a new book juts out. The Fall of the house of Mélenchon Thomas Guénolé. La Chute de la maison Mélenchon. 

Image result for la chute de la maison mélenchon

Entre la France insoumise et Thomas Guénolé, la guerre est déclarée

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Podemos Splits between the Errejón Camp and Iglesias’ as ‘Left Populism’ Fractures.

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Image result for podemos

Podemos in Major Split.

Left wing populism’ in Europe is fracturing.

The strategy of unity the ‘people’ against the ‘elite’ the ‘caste’ is has not succeeded in unifying the left in the European countries where it has had the greatest impact.

In France we have this:

Now in Spain Podemos, which unlike La France insoumise has a real democratic internal life and national political leaders of some independent statue, has split.

(From Mike P)

Íñigo Errejón, best known to English language readers as the subject of an interview-book with Chantal Mouffe (In the Name of the People.  2016) stopped belonging to the Unidos Podemos parliamentary group on Monday afternoon. (El País. 22.1.19)

The division was announced a few days ago,

Íñigo Errejón, a top official at the group that he helped transform from an anti-austerity movement into a national force with parliamentary and institutional presence, on Thursday announced his decision to run for the Madrid regional premiership at the May election in alliance with Más Madrid, the party created by the mayor of the Spanish capital, Manuela Carmena.

El País, which few would suspect of sympathy for Podemos, also publishes a  column which announces that

La ventana de oportunidad que alumbró el nacimiento de Podemos se ha cerrado definitivamente

The window of Opportunity opened at the birth of Podemos has closed definitely.

Del 15-M al 26-M 

The above article, which refers to game theory and the Prisoner’s dilemma, point out that in these conditions the lack of co-operation may mean that neither will win.

Here are some extracts from an overview of this dispute:  (El País, 18.1.19)

Podemos founders go their separate ways ahead of Madrid elections

Pablo Iglesias confirms party split and says he is saddened by the surprise news that his colleague Iñigo Errejón will run with the Madrid mayor in May

On January 17, the fifth anniversary of the creation of Podemos, two of its leading founders publicly confirmed the fracture of the left-wing party.

Íñigo Errejón, a top official at the group that he helped transform from an anti-austerity movement into a national force with parliamentary and institutional presence, on Thursday announced his decision to run for the Madrid regional premiership at the May election in alliance with Más Madrid, the party created by the mayor of the Spanish capital, Manuela Carmena.

Podemos Secretary General Pablo Iglesias said he was “saddened” by the surprise news, and wished Errejón “good luck building his new party.” He also confirmed that Podemos will be running with a candidate of its own at the May election, in direct competition with his former colleague.

A Marcos notes that their disagreements go back some time.

The differences between Iglesias and Errejón go back to 2016, when the former decided to join forces with the United Left (IU) in the general election. A few months later, in February 2017, Podemos held a congress to renew the party leadership and Errejón headed a current defending different political goals from those championed by Iglesias, whose views ultimately won out.

Then, in May of last year, Errejón ran in party primaries to find a candidate to the Madrid regional premiership. He won the nomination, but new problems arose when his first choice as a running mate was overlooked and a different person named without his prior knowledge or approval.

With four months to go before Spain holds local and regional elections, Madrid is not the only place where Podemos is running into trouble. In the northwestern region of Galicia, its En Marea coalition is breaking up. In Cantabria, the party is currently headed by an interim management committee. And in Barcelona, primaries will determine whether Podemos runs in the municipal elections with Mayor Ada Colau once again.

In May of last year, Iglesias survived a confidence vote when he put his leadership to the test after being heavily criticized for purchasing a €600,000 country house in Galapagar, a town northwest of Madrid, with his partner Irene Montero.

English version by Susana Urra.

There is more on this here:

From best pals to rivals: Merciless duel rages over the future of Podemos


And here:

In the meantime today Podemos has seen fit to cause trouble for the Socialist led government by refusing to vote for legislation on housing and rents.

Podemos complica la vida al Gobierno en el Congreso

This development casts doubt on the ideas put forward by the best known theorist of Left Populism, Chantal Mouffe,

..this is the political strategy that I call “left populism”. Its purpose is the construction of a collective will, a “people” whose adversary is the “oligarchy”, the force that sustains the neoliberal order.

It cannot be formulated through the left/right cleavage, as traditionally configured. Unlike the struggles characteristic of the era of Fordist capitalism, when there was a working class that defended its specific interests, resistances have developed beyond the industrial  sector. Their demands no longer correspond to defined social groups. Many touch on questions related to quality of life and intersect with issues such as sexism, racism and other forms of domination. With such diversity, the traditional left/right frontier can no longer articulate a collective will.

To bring these diverse struggles together requires establishing a bond between social movements and a new type of party to create a “people” fighting for equality and social justice.

We find such a political strategy in movements such as Podemos in Spain, La France Insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, or Bernie Sanders in the US. This also informs the politics of Jeremy Corbyn, whose endeavour to transform the Labour party into a great popular movement, working “for the many, not the few”, has already succeeded in making it the greatest left party in Europe.


Populists are on the rise but this can be a moment for progressives too 

Many would say that the first basis of constructing a “collective will” is to have some unity on the left.

To construct a left.

This is obviously not the result of the politics of either La France insoumise or, now, Podemos. Podemos, naturally, as the Spanish press points out, has its own concerns, and difficulties, in recent electoral contests, such as in Andalusia.

More broadly Éric Fassin has summed up the central problems of ‘left wing’ populism during this debate (extracts).

Left-wing populism A legacy of defeat: Interview with Éric Fassin

 Is it a good strategy? Does it work?


The problem with the populist strategy, for the left, is that it’s neither left nor a winning strategy. It was even less so during the latest presidential campaign in France: everyone played that same card at the same time, including Macron, with a rhetoric of ‘centre’ populism! Of course, my argument is not just about France. The same considerations apply to the United States. But another dimension becomes apparent there, thanks to the availability of racial data. Trump’s success is not so much among working-class voters in general, but more specifically among the white working class. In a left-wing populist strategy, the racial dimension of the Trump vote is underestimated, and the class dimension is overestimated – whereas it now seems clear that his critique of the establishment was always just an illusion.


Beyond differences, left-wing populisms share the same premise: replace the opposition between right and left by the one between ‘us’ and ‘them’, people from below and elites from above. Obviously, the caste is less numerous than the people: ‘we are the 99% and they are the 1%.’ Indeed. But then, how come it’s so difficult for left-wing populists to reach a majority in elections? This is why we need to differentiate sociology and politics – and not conflate them as populism tends to do. If the working class voted according to their common interest, clearly the left would be flourishing today. That is not the case.


Politics is not just about elections. But I think that populism itself is defined by an electoral project. Mélenchon is first and foremost a former and probably future candidate running for presidential elections. So, indeed, there is more to politics than elections; but my little book was written in a context of elections, as an attempt to reclaim the opposition between right and left at a time when the populist illusion seeks to define the terms of debate far beyond elections.


The discussion, which is much longer, has to be read as a whole.

I highly recommend Éric Fassin’s clear and short, Populisme: le grand ressentiment (2017) which Radical Philosophy says is being translated into English (the point above about constructing a left “construire une gauche” is taken from the conclusion).

Image result for Populisme: le grand ressentiment

For a broader international starting point the Wikipedia entry  Left-wing populism is good.


Left Loses Majority in Andalucia as far-right Vox Enters Regional Parliament in Force.

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La izquierda ha perdido la mayoría en el Parlamento andaluz y Vox ha entrado con fuerza.

Socialists lose ground in Andalusia, extreme right party takes 12 seats

Vox becomes the first such group to win a major success since Spain returned to democracy, and holds the key to forming a government with Ciudadanos, Popular Party

The southern Spanish region of Andalusia, which has been dominated by the Socialist Party (PSOE) for the last 36 years, saw a historic shift in its political map on Sunday at regional elections. The country’s most-populated region took a step toward the right with never-before-seen support for the extreme party Vox.

While the PSOE technically won the election, their loss of 14 seats compared to the 2015 polls means a bitter victory for the party’s regional chief, Susana Díaz, who is almost certain to be unable to return to power. Her 33 seats, combined with the 17 of Adelanta Andalucía (an alliance of left-wing parties Podemos and United Left (IU)), or the 21 seats of center-right group Ciudadanos, are all far from the absolute majority of 55 seats.

In what was probably the saddest night of her political career, last night Díaz recognized the waning support for the left and for her party, but called on the opposition parties to not pact with the far right. “I’m calling on the pro-Constitution parties: let’s show that we are such by stopping the far right in Andalusia. I, at least, am going to try it,” she said.

But the plans of the PP and Ciudadanos appear to be headed in the other direction, and their respective candidates were already positioning themselves last night to govern the Junta, as the regional government is known. The PP took their second-worst result in their history in terms of percentage of vote, and have fallen in four years from 33 to 26 seats.

Juan Marín, the Ciudadanos candidate, who went from nine to 21 seats, let slip last night that he would seek to join forces with the PP and the far right. “Change has arrived in Andalusia,” he said. “There are enough deputies to force a change.” These words were echoed later by the party’s national leader, Albert Rivera: “We are going to throw the PSOE out of the Junta.”

Vox: Wikipedia.

Vox: the new face of the far right in the Spanish State FERNANDEZ Brais

Vox: The Return of the Spanish Far Right. Tendance Coatesy. October the 27th 2018 .

Vox has a hatred of ‘gender theory’ that extends to opposition to laws against sexual harassment and violence.

They propose to create a Ministry of the Family to protect the “natural family” and a ban on feminist organisations spreading false accusations.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 3, 2018 at 12:14 pm