My latest briefing for World Politics Review is about Mariano Rajoy’s ouster as prime minister of Spain and the new Socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez.
Rajoy’s luck finally ran out, I argue. He built his career on out-waiting rivals, but the big corruption scandal in his conservative People’s Party was one he couldn’t sit out. Sánchez cobbled together a narrow majority of left-wing and regionalist parties to force Rajoy from office. He now leads Spain until elections can be held.
The most likely outcome of early elections, looking at the polls right now, is a centrist coalition government of Sánchez’ Socialist Party and the liberal Citizens. Such a government would pursue a middle-of-the-road agenda. Both parties support the proposals for EU reform of French President Emmanuel Macron. Neither argues for a stricter immigration regime. The Socialists ran in opposition to liberal labor reforms in the last election, but Citizens strongly support them, so repeal is unlikely.
In Brussels and Paris, there will be relief, especially now that Southern Europe’s other large economy, Italy, is led by Euroskeptic populists. In northern capitals, though, especially Berlin and The Hague, people are starting to worry that the new Spanish government could tilt the balance in Europe in favor of the anti-austerity camp.
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