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Pedro Sánchez 3.0

All the good intentions of the Socialist Party’s governing program are going to clash with the difficulties of cobbling together majorities inside Congress

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. EFE

The Socialist Party government formed by Pedro Sánchez in Spain could find itself in a variety of situations. For one, it could become the target of brutal, insistent, cross-party attacks from the left, the right and from nationalist parties, until it falls and is forced to call new elections. This situation could materialize if its adversaries glimpse electoral dividends to be earned in the short term. For now, however, given that the Popular Party (PP) is searching for a new leader, Ciudadanos has been relegated to the background, and Podemos is suffering from its own leader’s bad image, this does not seem like the most reasonable scenario.

The most interesting part about this government is its classic social-democratic nature

On the other hand, the Sánchez administration could also get mired in the parliamentary mud created by other parties’ shared interest in avoiding early elections, and by their symmetrical hope that things will not go so well for the Socialists, the point being to make sure that the PSOE doesn’t gain political capital from its time in government ahead of the local, regional and European elections next year. Because all the good intentions of the administration and the PSOE’s governing program are going to clash, day in and day out, with the difficulties of crafting majorities inside a Congress where the party only holds 84 out of 350 seats.

This is, therefore, a government that could work without a governing program, because rather than a government, what it is in reality is an electoral program.

For all that, the most interesting part about this government is its classic social-democratic nature. If there is anything that has historically characterized the socialists, it is a healthy dose of bipolarity: using market mechanisms to grow the economy, and state mechanisms to redistribute this growth. But always in that order: grow and redistribute, not redistribute first or even at the cost of growth, which is what sets it apart from the other left, the one whose search for equality leads it to stifle growth.

Sánchez could get mired in the parliamentary mud created by other parties’ shared interest in avoiding early elections

This explains the orthodoxy of the economic portfolios, which are sending out a clear message to the financial markets, to investors and to our European partners. And next to these classic elements, we have the new topics – gender equality and the energy transition – which cut across ministries. In what constitutes Sánchez’s umpteenth ideological pirouette, this time toward the center of the political spectrum, we now have a classic government with no concessions to either Unidos Podemos or to the concept of plurinationality. After watching the liberal Sánchez who signed an agreement with Ciudadanos (1.0), then observing the new Sánchez who sided with Podemos and with plurinational ideals (2.0), we are now bearing witness to Sánchez 3.0.

English version by Susana Urra.

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