Through all its confrontations with Catalan separatists, Spain has been under a minority government. On 1 June that political levitation act finally expired.
Parliament voted no confidence in the conservative PP government of Mariano Rajoy. Through a never-tested-before provision of the 1978 Spanish constitution, the new government will be led by, and probably made up solely from, the PSOE, Spain’s social-democratic party, although it has only 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament.
The new very-minority government will probably be forced into a general election soon. Realistically new prime minister Pedro Sánchez can hope only to establish a few measures and proposals to boost his support in that election. Recent opinion polls predict that PSOE, the PP, and the leftish Podemos party, would get scores close to each other, but all a bit behind Citizens’.
Sánchez promised even before 1 June, and apparently in order to get the Basque PNV party’s votes on 1 June, that he will keep the PP’s recently approved Budget even though the PSOE voted against it.
So little social improvement is in prospect. Podemos has toned down its social agitation, and the initiative which could really change Spanish politics, a drive for social policies to fix unemployment which still stands over 16%, youth unemployment above 35%, and stagnant wages, is still lacking.
Measured by growth in total output, Spain’s economy has recovered well from its crash in 2011-3. Spain’s output per head now exceeds Italy’s. But the improvement has gone mainly to profits. Sánchez may be able to make some steps to calming the conflict in Catalonia.
A new elected Catalan regional government finally took office on 2 June. Sánchez has an opening to end direct rule from Madrid and to bring in, or start bringing in, some scheme of expanded Catalan autonomy like the 2006 one which the PP torpedoed in 2010