2019 Spanish general election

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2019 Spanish general election

← 2016 28 April 2019

All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies and 208 (of 266) seats in the Senate
176 seats needed for a majority in the Congress of Deputies
Opinion polls
Registered36,893,976 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1.0%[1]
  Pablo Casado 2018c (cropped).jpg Pedro Sánchez 2019 (cropped).jpg Pablo Iglesias 2018b (cropped).jpg
Leader Pablo Casado Pedro Sánchez Pablo Iglesias
Party PP PSOE Unidas Podemos
Leader since 21 July 2018 18 June 2017 15 November 2014
Leader's seat Madrid Madrid Madrid
Last election 135 seats, 32.6%[a] 85 seats, 22.6% 71 seats, 21.2%
Seats needed Green Arrow Up Darker.svg39 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg91 Green Arrow Up Darker.svg105

  Albert Rivera 2017c (cropped).jpg Oriol Junqueras 2016b (cropped).jpg Jordi Sànchez 2017 (cropped).jpg
Leader Albert Rivera Oriol Junqueras[b] Jordi Sànchez[b]
Party Cs ERC–Sobiranistes JuntsxCat
Leader since 9 July 2006 7 March 2019 10 March 2019
Leader's seat Madrid Barcelona Barcelona
Last election 32 seats, 13.2%[d] 9 seats, 2.6% 8 seats, 2.0%[c]
Seats needed Green Arrow Up Darker.svg144 N/A N/A

SpainProvinceMapCongress2019.png
Constituency results map for the Congress of Deputies

Incumbent Prime Minister

Pedro Sánchez
PSOE



The 2019 Spanish general election will be held on Sunday, 28 April 2019, to elect the 13th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies will be up for election, as well as 208 of 266 seats in the Senate.

Following the 2016 election, the People's Party (PP) formed a minority government with confidence and supply support from Ciudadanos (Cs) and Canarian Coalition (CC), allowed by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) abstaining in Mariano Rajoy's investiture after a party crisis resulted in the ousting of Pedro Sánchez as leader. The PP stand in power would be undermined by a constitutional crisis over the Catalan issue,[2] the result of a regional election held thereafter,[3] coupled with corruption scandals and massive protests of retiree groups demanding pension increases,[4] with opinion polls throughout early 2018 suggesting a PP electoral meltdown.[5][6] Sánchez, who was re-elected as PSOE leader in a leadership contest in 2017, brought down Rajoy's government in June 2018 through a motion of no confidence, after the National Court found that the PP had profited from the illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme of the Gürtel case and confirmed the existence of an illegal accounting and financing structure that ran in parallel with the party's official one since 1989.[7][8][9][10] Rajoy resigned as PP leader,[11][12] being replaced by 37-year old Pablo Casado.[13]

Overview[edit]

Background[edit]

After a second general election in June 2016 had resulted in the People's Party (PP) gaining votes and seats from its December 2015 result, a new round of talks throughout the summer saw Mariano Rajoy obtaining the support of Ciudadanos (C's) and Canarian Coalition (CC) for his investiture, but this was still not enough to assure him re-election. Criticism on Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez for his electoral results and his hardline stance on Rajoy's investiture, said to be a contributing factor to the country's political deadlock, reached a boiling point after poor PSOE showings in the Basque and Galician elections.[14] A party crisis unraveled, seeing Sánchez being ousted and a caretaker committee being appointed by party rebels led by Susana Díaz, who subsequently set out to abstain in Rajoy's investiture and allow a PP minority government to be formed, preventing a third election in a row from taking place.[15][16][17][18] Díaz's bid to become new party leader was defeated by party members in a party primary in May 2017, with Sánchez being voted again into office under a campaign aimed at criticising the PSOE's abstention in Rajoy's investiture.

Concurrently, the incumbent PP cabinet found itself embroiled in a string of political scandals which had seen the political demise of former Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre—amid claims of a massive financial corruption plot staged by former protegés—as well as accusations of judicial meddling and political cover-up.[19][20][21][22] This prompted left-wing Unidos Podemos to table a no-confidence motion on Mariano Rajoy in June 2017.[23][24] While the motion was voted down due to a lack of support from other opposition parties, it revealed the parliamentary weakness of Rajoy's government—as abstentions and favourable votes combined amounted to 179, to just 170 MPs rejecting it.[25][26]

Pressure on the Spanish government increased after a massive constitutional crisis over the issue of an illegal independence referendum unraveled in Catalonia. Initial actions from the Parliament of Catalonia to approve two bills supporting a referendum and a legal framework for an independent Catalan state were suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain. However, the government's crackdown on referendum preparations—which included police searches, raids and arrests of Catalan government officials, as well as an intervention of Catalan finances—sparked public outcry and protests accusing the PP government of "anti-democratic and totalitarian" repression.[27][28][29] Subsequently, the Catalan parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain,[30] which resulted in the Spanish Senate enforcing Article 155 of the Constitution to remove the regional authorities and impose direct rule.[31][2][32] Puigdemont and part of his cabinet fled to Belgium after being ousted, facing charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement.[33][34][35] Rajoy immediately dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a regional election for 21 December 2017,[36] but it left his PP severely mauled as Cs capitalized anti-independence support in the region.[3]

The scale of PP's collapse in Catalonia and the success of Cs had an impact in national politics, with Ciudadanos skyrocketing to first place nationally in subsequent opinion polls, endangering PP's stand as the hegemonic party within the Spanish centre-right spectrum.[37][38][5][6] This was joined by massive protests of retiree groups—long regarded to constitute the PP's electoral base—demanding pension increases,[4] further undermining the PP stand in power.

On 24 May 2018, the National Court found that the PP profited from the illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme of the Gürtel case, confirming the existence of an illegal accounting and financing structure that ran in parallel with the party's official one since 1989 and ruling that the PP helped establish "a genuine and effective system of institutional corruption through the manipulation of central, autonomous and local public procurement".[7] This event prompted the PSOE to submit a motion of no confidence in Rajoy and in Cs withdrawing its support from the government and demanding the immediate calling of an early election.[8][9] An absolute majority of 180 MPs in the Congress of Deputies voted to oust Mariano Rajoy from power on 1 June 2018, being replaced as Prime Minister by PSOE's Pedro Sánchez.[10] On 5 June, Rajoy announced his farewell from politics and his return to his position as property registrar in Santa Pola,[11][12][39] vacating his seat in the Congress of Deputies and triggering a leadership contest in which the party's Vice Secretary-General of Communication, Pablo Casado, defeated former Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and became new PP president on 21 July 2018.[40][13]

For most of his government, Sánchez was reliant on confidence and supply support from Unidos Podemos and New Canaries (NCa), negotiating additional support from Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) and Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) on an issue-by-issue basis. ERC, PDeCAT and En Marea withdrew their support from the government in February 2019 by voting down the 2019 General State Budget, with the government losing the vote 191–158 and prompting a snap election being called for 28 April.[41]

Electoral system[edit]

The Spanish Cortes Generales are envisaged as an imperfect bicameral system. The Congress of Deputies has greater legislative power than the Senate, having the ability to vote confidence in or withdraw it from a Prime Minister and to override Senate vetoes by an absolute majority of votes. Nonetheless, the Senate possesses a few exclusive, yet limited in number functions—such as its role in constitutional amendment—which are not subject to the Congress' override.[42][43] Voting for the Cortes Generales is on the basis of universal suffrage, which comprises all nationals over eighteen and in full enjoyment of their political rights.[44] Additionally, Spaniards abroad are required to apply for voting before being permitted to vote, a system known as "begged" or expat vote (Spanish: Voto rogado).[45]

For the Congress of Deputies, 348 seats are elected using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation, with a threshold of 3 percent of valid votes—which includes blank ballots—being applied in each constituency. Parties not reaching the threshold are not taken into consideration for seat distribution. Additionally, the use of the D'Hondt method may result in an effective threshold over three percent, depending on the district magnitude.[46] Seats are allocated to constituencies, corresponding to the provinces of Spain. Each constituency is entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 allocated among the constituencies in proportion to their populations. Ceuta and Melilla are allocated the two remaining seats, which are elected using plurality voting.[42][47][48][49]

For the Senate, 208 seats are elected using an open list partial block voting, with electors voting for individual candidates instead of parties. In constituencies electing four seats, electors can vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member districts. Each of the 47 peninsular provinces is allocated four seats, whereas for insular provinces, such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, districts are the islands themselves, with the larger—Majorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife—being allocated three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, IbizaFormentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla elect two seats each. Additionally, autonomous communities can appoint at least one senator each and are entitled to one additional senator per each million inhabitants.[42][47][48][49]

The electoral law provides that parties, federations, coalitions and groupings of electors are allowed to present lists of candidates. However, parties, federations or coalitions that have not obtained a mandate in either House of Parliament at the preceding election are required to secure the signature of at least 0.1 percent of the electors registered in the constituency for which they are seeking election, whereas groupings of electors are required to secure the signature of 1 percent of electors. Electors are barred from signing for more than one list of candidates. Concurrently, parties and federations intending to enter in coalition to take part jointly at an election are required to inform the relevant Electoral Commission within ten days of the election being called.[47][49] After the experience of the 2015–16 political deadlock leading to the June 2016 election and the possibility of a third election being needed, the electoral law was amended in order to introduce a special, simplified process for election re-runs, including a shortening of deadlines, the lifting of signature requirements if these had been already met for the immediately previous election and the possibility of maintaining lists and coalitions without needing to go through pre-election procedures again.

Election date[edit]

Prime Minister Sánchez announcing a snap election for 28 April 2019.

The term of each House of the Cortes Generales—the Congress and the Senate—expires four years from the date of their previous election, unless they are dissolved earlier. The election Decree shall be issued no later than the twenty-fifth day prior to the date of expiry of the Cortes in the event that the Prime Minister does not make use of his prerogative of early dissolution. The Decree shall be published on the following day in the Official State Gazette, with election day taking place on the fifty-fourth day from publication. The previous election was held on 26 June 2016, which means that the legislature's term will expire on 26 June 2020. The election Decree shall be published no later than 2 June 2020, with the election taking place on the fifty-fourth day from publication, setting the latest possible election date for the Cortes Generales on Sunday, 26 July 2020.[47][49]

The Prime Minister has the prerogative to dissolve both Houses at any given time—either jointly or separately—and call a snap election, provided that no motion of no confidence is in process, no state of emergency is in force and that dissolution does not occur before one year has elapsed since the previous one. Additionally, both Houses are to be dissolved and a new election called if an investiture process fails to elect a Prime Minister within a two-month period from the first ballot.[42][48] Barred this exception, there is no constitutional requirement for simultaneous elections for the Congress and the Senate, there being no precedent of separate elections and with governments having long preferred that elections for the two Houses take place simultaneously.

After the 2019 General State Budget was voted down by the Congress of Deputies on 13 February 2019, it was confirmed that Sánchez would call a snap election, with the specific date to be announced following a Council of Ministers meeting on 15 February.[50][51][52] Sánchez confirmed 28 April as the election date in an institutional statement following the Council of Ministers, with the Cortes Generales being subsequently dissolved on 5 March.[53][54]

Status at dissolution[edit]

The Cortes Generales were officially dissolved on 5 March 2019, after the publication of the dissolution Decree in the Official State Gazette.[55] The tables below show the status of the different parliamentary groups in both chambers at the time of dissolution.[56][57]

Congress of Deputies
Parliamentary group Deputies
People's Group in the Congress 134
Socialist Group 84[e]
UP–ECP–Marea Confederal Group 67[f]
Citizens Group 32
Republican Left Group 9
PNV Basque Group 5
Mixed Group 19[g]
Total 350
 
Senate
Parliamentary group Senators
People's Group in the Senate 147[h]
Socialist Group 60[i]
Podemos Group 20[j]
Republican Left Group 12
PNV Basque Group in the Senate 6
Nationalist Senators Group 6[k]
Mixed Group 15[l]
Total 266

Timetable[edit]

The key dates are listed below (all times are CET. Note that the Canary Islands use WET (UTC+0) instead):[47][49][58]

  • 4 March: The election Decree is issued with the countersign of the Prime Minister after deliberation in the Council of Ministers, ratified by HM The King.[55]
  • 5 March: Formal dissolution of the Cortes Generales and official start of ban period for the organization of events for the inauguration of public works, services or projects.[47]
  • 8 March: Initial constitution of Provincial and Zone Electoral Commissions.
  • 15 March: Deadline for parties and federations intending to enter in coalition to inform the relevant Electoral Commission.
  • 25 March: Deadline for parties, federations, coalitions and groupings of electors to present lists of candidates to the relevant Electoral Commission.
  • 27 March: Submitted lists of candidates are provisionally published in the Official State Gazette.
  • 30 March: Deadline for citizens entered in the Register of Absent Electors Residing Abroad and for citizens temporarily absent from Spain to apply for voting.
  • 31 March: Deadline for parties, federations, coalitions and groupings of electors to rectify irregularities in their lists.
  • 1 April: Official proclamation of valid submitted lists of candidates.
  • 2 April: Proclaimed lists are published in the Official State Gazette.
  • 12 April: Official start of electoral campaigning.
  • 18 April: Deadline to apply for postal voting.
  • 23 April: Official start of legal ban on electoral opinion polling publication, dissemination or reproduction and deadline for citizens entered in the Register of Absent Electors Residing Abroad to vote by mail.
  • 24 April: Deadline for postal and temporarily absent voters to issue their votes.
  • 26 April: Last day of official electoral campaigning and deadline for citizens entered in the Register of Absent Electors Residing Abroad to vote in a ballot box in the relevant Consular Office or Division.
  • 27 April: Official 24-hour ban on political campaigning prior to the general election (reflection day).
  • 28 April: Polling day (polling stations open at 9 am and close at 8 pm or once voters present in a queue at/outside the polling station at 8 pm have casted their vote). Provisional counting of votes starts immediately.
  • 1 May: General counting of votes, including the counting of votes coming from abroad.
  • 4 May: Deadline for the general counting of votes to be carried out by the relevant Electoral Commission.
  • 13 May: Deadline for elected members to be proclaimed by the relevant Electoral Commission.
  • 23 May: Deadline for both chambers of the Cortes Generales to be re-assembled (the election Decree determines this date, which for the 2019 election was set for 21 May).[55]
  • 22 June: Maximum deadline for definitive results to be published in the Official State Gazette.

Parties and alliances[edit]

Below is a list of the main parties and electoral alliances which will contest the election:

Party or alliance Candidate Ideology Refs
People's Party (PP)
Pablo Casado 2018c (cropped).jpg Pablo Casado Conservatism
Christian democracy
[59]
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)
Pedro Sánchez 2019 (cropped).jpg Pedro Sánchez Social democracy
Pablo Iglesias 2018b (cropped).jpg Pablo Iglesias Left-wing populism
Democratic socialism
[60]
[61]
Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (Cs)
Albert Rivera 2017c (cropped).jpg Albert Rivera Liberalism [62]
Republican Left of Catalonia–Sovereigntists (ERC–Sobiranistes)
Oriol Junqueras 2016b (cropped).jpg Oriol Junqueras[b] Catalan independence
Social democracy
Democratic socialism
[63]
[64]
Together (JuntsxCat)
Jordi Sànchez 2017 (cropped).jpg Jordi Sànchez[b] Catalan independence
Liberalism
[66]
[67]
[68]
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) Aitor Esteban 2016 (cropped).jpg Aitor Esteban Basque nationalism
Christian democracy
Conservative liberalism
Commitment Coalition (Compromís)
Joan Baldoví 2013 (cropped).jpg Joan Baldoví Valencian nationalism
Eco-socialism
[69]
Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)
Portrait placeholder.svg TBD Basque independence
Left-wing nationalism
Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CCa–PNC)
Ana Oramas 2017 (cropped).jpg Ana Oramas Regionalism
Canarian nationalism
Centrism
[70]
New Canaries (NCa) Pedro Quevedo 2017 (cropped).jpg Pedro Quevedo Canarian nationalism
Social democracy
[71]
Vox (Vox) Santiago Abascal 2015b (cropped).jpg Santiago Abascal Right-wing populism
Ultranationalism
Neoliberalism

Two opposing coalitions were formed in Navarre at different levels: for the Senate, Geroa Bai, EH Bildu, Podemos and Izquierda-Ezkerra re-created the Cambio-Aldaketa alliance under which they had already contested in the 2015 Spanish general election.[72] Concurrently, UPN, Cs and PP formed the Navarra Suma alliance for both Congress and Senate elections.[73] In Galicia, En Marea, the former Podemos–EUAnova alliance which had been constituted as a party in 2016, broke away from the creator parties and announced that it would contest the election on its own.[74][75] Podemos, EU and Equo in Galicia formed a regional branch for the Unidas Podemos alliance branded En Común–Unidas Podemos,[76] whereas Anova chose to step out from the election race.[77] In the Balearic Islands, an alliance was formed for the Congress election by More for Majorca (Més), More for Menorca (MpM), Now Eivissa (Ara Eivissa) and Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), named Veus Progressistes;[78] for the Senate election, the alliance was styled as Unidas Podemos Veus Progressistes and included Podemos and IU.[79]

Opinion polls[edit]

6-point average trend line of poll results from 26 June 2016 to the present day, with each line corresponding to a political party.
  PP
  PSOE
  Cs
  ERC
  PDeCAT
  PNV
  PACMA
  CC
  Vox

Results[edit]

Congress of Deputies[edit]

Summary of 28 April 2019 Congress of Deputies election results
SpainCongressDiagram2019.svg
Parties and coalitions Popular vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Total +/−
People's Party (PP)1
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)
United We Can (Unidas Podemos)
Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (Cs)1 2
Republican Left of Catalonia–Sovereigntists (ERC–Sobiranistes)
Together (JuntsxCat)3
En Masse (En Marea)
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)
Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA)
Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)
Sum Navarre (UPNPPCs)4
Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CCaPNC)
Zero CutsGreen Group (Recortes Cero–GV)
Vox (Vox)
Galician Nationalist BlocWe–Galician Candidacy (BNG–Nós)
Communist Party of the Workers of Spain (PCTE)5
Yes to the Future (GBai)6
We Are Valencian in Movement (UiG–Som–CUIDES)
Libertarian Party (P–LIB)
Canaries Now (ANCUP)7
Commitment Coalition: BlocInitiativeGreens Equo (Compromís) New
New Canaries (NCa) New
Regionalist Party of Cantabria (PRC) New
Act (Actúa) New
Valencian Democrats (DV) New
Coalition for Melilla (CpM) New
Progressive Voices (MésMpM–Ara Eivissa–ERC) New
Free PeopleSom AlternativaPirates: Republican Front (Front Republicà) New
Commitment to Galicia (CxG) New
Andalusia by Itself (AxSí) New
European Retirees Social Democratic Party–Centre Unity (PDSJE–UdeC) New
Proposal for the Isles (El Pi) New
Blank ballots
Total 350 ±0
Valid votes
Invalid votes
Votes cast / turnout
Abstentions
Registered voters 36,893,976
Sources

Senate[edit]

Summary of the 28 April 2019 Senate of Spain election results
SpainSenateDiagram2019.svg
Parties and coalitions Directly
elected
Reg.
app.
Total
Seats +/−
People's Party (PP) 19
People's Party (PP) 19
Asturias Forum (FAC) 0
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 18
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) 17
Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) 1
United We Can (Unidas Podemos) 6
United We Can (PodemosIUeQuo) 5
In Common We Can (ECP) 1
Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (Cs) 6
Republican Left of Catalonia–Sovereigntists (ERC–Sobiranistes) 2
Together (JuntsxCat)1 2
Commitment Coalition (Compromís) 1
Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV) 1
Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CCaPNC) 1
Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CCaPNC) 1
Independent Herrenian Group (AHI) 0
Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu) 1
Create (Sortu) 1
Basque Solidarity (EA) 0
Vox (Vox) 1
Sum Navarre (UPNPPCs) 0
Total 208 ±0 58 266
Sources

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Data for PP in the 2016 election, not including results in Navarre.
  2. ^ a b c d Currently in preventive detention in Soto del Real (Madrid).
  3. ^ Data for CDC in the 2016 election.
  4. ^ Aggregated data for C's and UPyD in the 2016 election. Not including results in Navarre.
  5. ^ 77 PSOE, 7 PSC.
  6. ^ 46 Podemos, 7 IU, 4 BComú, 3 ICV, 3 eQuo, 2 EUiA, 2 Anova.
  7. ^ 8 PDeCAT, 4 Compromís, 2 EH Bildu, 2 UPN, 1 CCa, 1 NCa, 1 FAC.
  8. ^ 145 PP, 2 PAR.
  9. ^ 59 PSOE, 1 PSC.
  10. ^ 15 Podemos, 3 ICV, 2 IU.
  11. ^ 4 PDeCAT, 2 CCa–AHI.
  12. ^ 6 Cs, 2 Compromís, 1 UPN, 1 FAC, 1 NCa, 1 EH Bildu, 1 ASG, 1 Vox, 1 independent.
  13. ^ PDeCAT will run in a coalition list with its predecessor party, CDC, in order to guarantee public funding for the campaign.[65]

References[edit]

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