New political situation in Spain: Ten key-questions
1. What has happened?
It is the first time in the history of Spain that the Prime Minister has been appointed after winning a motion of censure. The vote was achieved thanks to the support of the left-wing parties, the nationalist parties and the pro-independence parties.
2. What will be the structure of the new Government?
In the coming days, the Prime Minister will appoint his Ministers. He might maintain the current number and structure of ministries or he might introduce modifications.
3. Single party Government or in coalition?
Prime Minister Sánchez has expressed the will of governing on his own. Nevertheless, the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has offered him to build a Government in coalition. As a single party Government, it will be the first time in the history of Spain that the Prime Minister has the support of less than 100 of the 350 Members of the Parliament. In the case he accepted the offer of a Government in coalition, the parliamentary support would increase to more than 150, which would facilitate the adoption of legislation.
4. What will happen with the high-level officials of the Government?
In the coming weeks, once the Ministers take office, the appointment of new high-level officials will take place: Secretaries of State, Undersecretaries, General Secretaries, Technical General Secretaries and General Directors. Furthermore, it is necessary to add the potential appointments in other agencies and entities linked to the Government. In the judicial field, a new Attorney General could be appointed considering that one of the causes to dismiss this figure before the four-year term is over, is the cessation of the Government who appointed it..
5. How long would the term be?
Once the Prime Minister has appointed the Government, he can dissolve the Parliament and call for early parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, he could stay in power until June 2020, four years after the last parliamentary elections were held.
6. What will be the role of the Congress of Deputies?
The Popular Party and Ciudadanos are going to maintain the majority in the Board of the Congress of Deputies, which is the ruling body of the chamber. From this body they can control the timing of the Parliament and create difficulties to the bills sent by the Government to the Congress.
7. What about the Senate?
The Popular Party will continue to have an overall majority in the Senate, which will allow them to veto any Bill that reaches the chamber. Overall majority is needed at the Congress of Deputies to lift a Senate veto, or simple majority once two months have passed since the Bill was blocked at the Senate.
8. What will happen to the 2018 Budget?
The 2018 Budget Act has already been passed on to the Senate. The new Prime Minister has committed to sticking to this Budget Act, in spite of the fact that his party, the Socialist Party, did not approve of it. The final confirmation of the Budget can be expected in the upcoming weeks.
9. What will happen to draft regulations that are still under procedure?
The new Government is entitled to withdraw Draft Governmental Regulations. In the case of Bills that have already reached the Parliament, the Government is entitled to withdraw them at any moment before the final voting.
10. What are the first measures to be expected?
Aside from the difficulty that might arise for the new Government to have Draft Bills passed at the Parliament, Pedro Sánchez has announced several measures he will focus on. These can be divided into four main areas:
- Institutional stability and “democratic regeneration” (independence of the Spanish public television, universal healthcare, improved education policy or the reform of the Citizen’s Safety Act).
- Macroeconomic and budget stability (to comply with obligations derived from the European Union, to defend competition policy, to enable a climate-aware economic transition, to design energy and climate change policies that encourage investment in renewables, to protect farmers within the framework of the CAP).
- Labour and social stability (to promote the Equal Pay Act, as well as labour policies that ensure gender equality; to apply and comply with all the measures included in the State Agreement against Gender Violence; to promote labour and social measures increasing salaries for all workers).
- Territorial stability (to open a dialogue between the Spanish Central Government and the new Catalan Government).