Spain Braces for Coalition Jostling as Hung Parliament Predicted

  • Polls show Socialists, Unidos Podemos close to majorirty
  • Socialists seen losing ground, may be relegated to third place

Polls ahead of Spanish elections next week show the leading parties may have to try forming a coalition government as no single party may emerge with the requisite majority on its own, in a repeat of the December 20 vote.

The center-right People’s Party of acting Primer Minister Mariano Rajoy, which leads the polls ahead of the June 26 vote, is predicted to fall short of the 176 seats needed for majority by at least 47 seats, according to polls by El Pais, El Mundo and ABC newspapers over the weekend. The left-leaning Podemos party seems to have gained the most over the past six month, after its alliance with Izquierda Unida, to emerge as the second strongest political force.

Mariano Rajoy

Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg

A possible coalition between the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol, or the PSOE, and Unidos Podemos would be just one seat away from a majority, according to the Metroscopia poll published in El Pais. A Sigma Dos poll in El Mundo put the number at six.

Spain has been facing political turmoil since the elections in December threw up no clear winner and a fractured mandate yet again could place economic reforms, required to pull the country of rampant unemployment and weak growth, in jeopardy.

“The election will provide a powerful reminder that Spain is going through an unprecedented period of political change, with no end in sight,” Antonio Barroso, a political analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London, wrote in a June 17 report published by UBS Group AG. “The first implication of the likely appointment of a weak government is that the probability of significant economic reforms during the next term is low. The upside is that big policy reversals are equally unlikely.”

The Socialist party, or PSOE’s, Pedro Sanchez has refused to form a coalition with the people’s party to unite what have historically been the two biggest political groups. His party’s support is expected to erode the most, with an El Mundo poll projecting 78-73 seats compared with 90 in December.

Center-right party Ciudadanos hasn’t budged from its fourth place, with polls from Metroscopia, Sigma Dos and ABC’s GAD3 giving it between 35 and 40 seats, compared with the 40 it got in December.