The Rendon Group Snapshot Report: 28 December 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 4, 2016

The Rendon Group


Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

2015’s Last Remarkable Ballot Box in the EU: Inconclusive Parliamentary Results in Spain

A campaign poster of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, being removed in Madrid on Monday after his Popular Party lost its majority in Parliament.

Emilio Morenatti/AP

This week’s snapshot focuses on the 20DEC15 parliamentary elections in Spain.  After decades of alternating rule between the Socialists and the Popular Party (PP), the elections produced inconclusive results with the rise of two new parties, the left-wing Podemos (We Can) and liberal Ciudadanos (Citizens). Negotiations between rival parties remain deadlocked on forming a coalition government.

News summary of events during the week of 21DEC 15 – 28DEC15

  • 21DEC: Two leftist parties that won nearly half of the votes in Spain’s election said they would try to block Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s bid to retain the position of Prime Minister, setting the stage for prolonged uncertainty about the country’s economic future. (WSJ)

  • 21DEC: The elections soon became the top story across the EU bloc, including on Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s blog post on his website, arguing “It’s the Spain of today, but it seems like the Italy of yesterday.” (The Local [Italy])

  • 22DEC: As European analysts probed potential next steps, Spain’s Socialists faced a strategic dilemma of allying with a rival party or triggering a new ballot. (Reuters)

  • 22DEC: Pro-independence parties in the Spanish region of Catalonia struck a deal to form a government, reviving a separatist drive in the immediate aftermath of the election results. (Reuters)

  • 23DEC: After their first meeting since the election, Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez said he will not support a government led by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or his conservative Popular Party (PP). (Guardian)

  • 24DEC: King Felipe VI of Spain appealed for unity and dialogue in his Christmas Eve message amid growing political uncertainty. (BBC)

  • 27DEC: A far-left Catalan separatist party put off until January 2 a decision on whether to back the formation of a new government led by outgoing regional president Artur Mas that would work towards breaking away from Spain. (AFP)

  • 28DEC: The Socialist party ruled out forming a new government with any party that supported a referendum on independence in Catalonia, a stand that prolongs political uncertainty after this month’s inconclusive national election. (Reuters)

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the election in Spain

  • @TobiasBuckFT – Tobias Buck, Madrid Bureau Chief, Financial Times

  • @carlbildt – Carl Bildt, Swedish politician and diplomat, PM from 1991-94, Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2006-14.

  • @econromesh – Romesh Vaitilingam, Economics writer on new findings, policy analysis and commentary from various researchers and institutions

  • @_oscar_reyes – Oscar Reyes, Associate Fellow @ips_dc.

  • @nstamouli – Nektaria Stamouli, Journalist with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the election in Spain

Fernando Casal Bértoa, Nottingham Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham in Britain

“Paradoxically, and despite winning only 90 seats — its worst results since 1933 — the socialist party (PSOE) will, in principle, have the upper hand in forming a government.”

  • ‘After Spain’s startling election, here are the five ways it can form a government,’ Washington Post, 22DEC15

Victor Lapuente, political scientist at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg

“Whoever comes out on top, the next government may not last long…There are too many incentives for the smaller parties to go for early elections [as soon as they see themselves gaining in the polls]”

  • ‘Spain’s Ruling Popular Party Loses Parliamentary Majority in Elections,’ Wall Street Journal, 20DEC15

Emilio Sáenz-Francés,  professor of history and international relations at Madrid’s Comillas Pontifical University

“The question is whether Sánchez will allow Rajoy to lead the government or whether Sánchez will try to build a coalition of several parties in order to take power…Most likely the king will give Rajoy and the PP the first chance to form a government, given that it won the election…But for the first time in the history of democracy in Spain, it’s not clear how the most-voted party will be able to govern.”

  • ‘Spanish election: national newcomers end era of two-party dominance,’ The Guardian, 21DEC15

Stan Veuger, economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

“The sudden emergence of broad agreement, on issues ranging from the fundamental organization of the state to electoral system reform, and the introduction of more elaborate checks and balances, is the only real alternative to gridlock followed by new elections.”

François Lafond, executive director of EuropaNova, a research group based in Paris

“This is the end of the bipolar era in Spain…The same thing is happening in France, in Italy and other countries. We now have a fragmented political system all around Europe.”

  • ‘Election Results in Spain Are a Stinging End to Europe’s Year,’ New York Times, 22DEC15

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the election in Spain

1. Spanish king appeals for dialogue, unity after vote

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 24 December 2015

Madrid, Dec 24, 2015 (AFP) – Spain’s King Felipe VI appealed for dialogue and unity in his Christmas Eve message Thursday after an inconclusive weekend general election.

In his televised holiday message, the king said he hoped “the desire for understanding and a fraternal spirit, which are typical of this season, always be present among us.”

The message comes after an election on Sunday which saw two new parties, anti-austerity Podemos and centre-right Ciudadanos, enter parliament with force, ending three decades of two-party domination by the Socialists and the ruling, conservative Popular Party (PP).

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2. Spain Socialist head refuses to back Rajoy’s bid to form new govt

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 23 December 2015

Madrid, Dec 23, 2015 (AFP) – The leader of Spain’s Socialists, Pedro Sanchez, said Wednesday his party will not back acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s bid to form a new government following an inclusive weekend election.

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3.  Spain’s conservatives ahead in election, Podemos second: exit poll

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 20 December 2015

Madrid, Dec 20, 2015 (AFP) – Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party won the most votes, 26.8 percent, in a general election Sunday but lost its absolute majority in parliament, an exit poll showed.

New anti-austerity party Podemos, a close ally of Greece’s ruling Syriza, came in second with 21.7 percent support, according to the poll of 177,000 voters carried out across the country for public television TVE.

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4. Spain PM to meet Socialist leader to discuss forming new government

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 23 December 2015

Madrid, Dec 23, 2015 (AFP) – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will meet the Socialist Party leader later Wednesday to begin negotiations on forming a new government following elections, his office said.

“Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sanchez will meet at 12 pm (1100 GMT)… for the first time since the general elections”, it said in a statement.

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5. Spain’s Ciudadanos calls for pact with PP, Socialists

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 23 December 2015

MADRID (Reuters) – The leader of Spain’s newcomer liberal party Ciudadanos Albert Rivera on Wednesday called for a pact with the People’s Party and the Socialists to enable a stable government in Spain and protect the country from an independence move in Catalonia.

“We propose a pact between the PP and the PSOE so that nobody takes advantage of the weakness, uncertainty and instability to break up this country,” Rivera said during a conference in Madrid.

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