The new PSOE/UP government in Spain (and left in Portugal and Denmark)

by Klaus Dräger

Since 7 January 2020, there is a new government in place in Spain. PSOE’s Pedro Sanchez is again Prime Minister. He is leading a minority coalition government of his Social Democrats and Unidas Podemos (UP), which was enabled by the abstention of the Catalan indepnendence party ERC.
Views and opinions on the stability of this government and its chances to reform Spain in a ‘progressive’ direction differ very much, also on the left.
So here are some examples.
First, let’s start with Jaime Pastor’s earlier analysis (Nov. 2019) about the election result and what it could mean or not concerning the relationship of poltical and societal forces in Spain:

Second, consider a cautiously optimistic evaluation of the new government’s prospects by Juan Laborda and Andrés Villena.
They claim and hope: ‘Burying the ‘Mitterrand syndrome’, and the subsequent dogma of ‘no alternatives’, entails both risks and opportunities, as well as an enriching debate on economic policy that many citizens have long wanted to witness and understand. The opportunity of a coalition government lies in the possibility of demonstrating that politics still makes sense in European democracies.’
Manuel Cervera-Marzal argues along similar lines, and provides interesting reflections about Podemos history etc.:


Third, less optimistic, but supportive of the new government (because the only alternative would be a government of the Spanish nationalist right) are Jacobin authors Tommy Greene and Eoghan Gilmartin. There is pretty good information in that article:
Fourth, and finally, the critics:
Carlos Garcia Hernández (MMT theorist) states: “Unfortunately, both the economic policies of the PSOE and Unidas-Podemos are in the hands of economists who could be called good-hearted neoliberals (as reflected in the Unidas-Podemos logo).” See here:
On the concerns and stance of the Anticapitalista-current within Podemos, see here for an earlier contribution:
All that told, I hope that these pieces are interesting both as sources of information and for thinking about the different viewpoints voiced in them.
In my personal view, the political situation in Spain will stay quite volatile. In neighbouring Portugal, PS Prime Minister Antonio Costa ended the “contraption” model (leaning on the Left Bloc and PCP to form majorities) after the last election in October 2019. Costa and the PS now seek arrangements with those forces on particular issues, but also with the right on others. His main objective is to stick to the EU’s rules on EMU and the Single Market.
So much for the ‘return’ of social democratic ‘paradises’ within the EU – a term used by many on the German left and trade unions for the former Portuguese constellation … Also – have a look at Denmark (Social Democrats deal on social policy with the Red-Green-Alliance and the Socialist Peoples Party, on migration, crime etc. with the hard right) …
Read also:
The Challenges of the Left in the current juncture. Debates between Latin America and Europe