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AssessmentsDec 21, 2020 | 15:40 GMT
Demonstrators hold a Catalonian flag ahead of a political meeting in Perpignan, France, on Feb. 29, 2020.
In Spain, the Next Phase of Catalonia's Independence Push
Pro-independence forces in Spain’s Catalonia region will likely remain in power after February regional elections, but they are unlikely to achieve their secessionist goals in the near-to-medium term. Nonetheless, Catalonia’s persistent push for independence will risk eventually undermining its own political and economic stability, as well as that of Spain’s. It could also stoke a nationalist backlash in other parts of the country. Catalonia will hold an early regional election on Feb. 14, though the vote could be postponed depending on the evolution of Spain’s COVID-19 epidemic. Opinion polls suggest that secessionist forces, which include the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) will win enough seats in the Catalan parliament to form a government. Both parties were involved in the illegal referendum and the 2017 unilateral declaration of independence, and some of their leaders are in jail while others have fled the country to avoid arrest. 
SnapshotsNov 11, 2019 | 18:21 GMT
Spain’s 4-Year Search for a Government Continues
On Nov. 10, Spain held its fourth general election in as many years in the hopes of ending the country's deep political fragmentation. But instead, the vote produced a splintered parliament that will struggle to appoint a new government. The new Spanish parliament will hold its first session on Dec. 3. After that, King Felipe IV will begin consulting with all the political parties to see if a government can be found. This process does not have a specific timetable, however, meaning it can take months. If no alliances emerge, Spain may have to hold yet another general election in early 2020. In the meantime, prolonged uncertainty about the country's political future -- driven in part by the successionist push in Catalonia -- risks exacerbating the country's economic slowdown. 
SnapshotsApr 29, 2019 | 17:13 GMT
Spain: What the Election Results Mean for Madrid’s Next Government
Spain's latest election resulted in a fragmented parliament, which means an agreement between several parties will be needed to appoint a government. Meanwhile, a far-right party received enough votes to enter Madrid's legislature for the first time in almost 40 years. Together, these two developments confirm that in Spain, like in most of the largest economies in Europe, fragmentation and the growth of anti-establishment parties are disrupting the political landscape.
AssessmentsMar 27, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Deputies meet on June 14, 2017, in Madrid's Congress of Deputies.
In Spain, Elections Won't Shield Madrid from Economic and Political Headwinds
Spain will hold an early general election on April 28 called by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez after the Spanish parliament rejected his budget proposals for 2019, forcing his minority Socialist government to resign. The elections come at a time of increasing fragmentation and polarization in Spanish politics, creating uncertainty regarding the future of Spanish domestic and foreign policy. But no matter who ultimately takes charge, the next administration in Madrid will be forced to cope with political, economic and foreign policy challenges ranging from separatism in Catalonia to an uneven economic recovery.
On GeopoliticsFeb 21, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Nationalist supporters rally outside the Catalan government building in Barcelona during a protest in October 2017.
How Geopolitics Is Bringing Nationalism Back to Spain
Spain is preparing for an early general election that will mark a new chapter for the country. Propelled by factors such as the global financial crisis, rising economic inequality, growing skepticism about globalization, and fears of the economic, cultural and security impact of immigration, nationalist and populist political parties have made gains in national elections across Europe over the past decade, in some case, entering government coalitions. Spain has remained an exception -- until now. The country is finally joining its European neighbors in experiencing a rise in nationalism. But the process is taking a very distinctive shape, setting Spain apart in a new way.
SnapshotsFeb 13, 2019 | 17:10 GMT
Spain: A Failed Budget Portends an Election
Spain is getting closer to calling an early general election. On Feb. 13, the Spanish Congress of Deputies rejected Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's budget plans for 2019, meaning a snap election is all but certain. Holding just 84 of 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, Sanchez's Socialist government has long been rickety, requiring support from other parties, including pro-independence parties from Catalonia, to pass the budget. The Catalan parties, however, voted against Sanchez's budget to protest the start of a trial this week against a dozen secessionist leaders. A spokesperson for the Spanish government said Madrid would make an announcement about its future plans on Feb. 15 amid media speculation that a general election could occur on either April 28 or May 26 (the latter of which would coincide with European Union parliamentary elections).
SnapshotsDec 3, 2018 | 17:53 GMT
Spain: Nationalist Party Makes Regional Ripples
Spain has managed to remain immune to the rise of nationalist parties across Europe for decades. However, that immunity came to an end Dec. 2, when the anti-immigration Vox party secured a spot in a Spanish regional parliament for the first time by winning almost 11 percent of the vote. Having earned 12 seats in Andalusia's regional parliament, Vox will now be the fifth-largest party in the lawmaking body behind the center-left Socialist Party with 33 seats, the center-right Popular Party with 26 seats, the centrist Ciudadanos party with 21 seats and the left-wing Forward Andalusia with 17 seats. Considering how fragmented the new Andalusian parliament is, Vox could play kingmaker in appointing the next regional government. Moreover, the election in Spain's most populous region was widely seen as a preview of the next general election, which could happen well before the current government's term ends in 2020.
AssessmentsSep 26, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, left, speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron during a summit on migration issues at EU headquarters in Brussels on June 24.
Reforming Southern Europe: What's Next?
The eurozone's largest Mediterranean members are heading toward choppy seas as 2019 approaches. In Italy, plans to cut taxes and increase spending will make financial markets nervous about the sustainability of the country's debt, while in France, a controversial pension reform proposal will once again prompt the French to take to the streets. Over the border in Spain, the minority government will push for a higher deficit but will struggle to get things done. As all three countries consider delicate economic measures, the risk of blowback from their own populaces, as well as from international investors, will be high.
AssessmentsMay 29, 2018 | 19:22 GMT
An Italian police officer in riot gear watches an anti-fascist counterdemonstration against a far-right meeting.
Italy and Spain Rattle the Eurozone
Political turmoil has returned to Southern Europe. The governments of Italy and Spain are facing crises that raise questions about the future of much-needed economic and institutional reforms and that could lead to early elections. In Italy, the country's continued use of the euro could be under threat. Because of these concerns, the second half of 2018 will be filled with economic uncertainty for the two countries, which are the eurozone's third and fourth largest economies, respectively.
AssessmentsMay 14, 2018 | 19:15 GMT
Quim Torra, a strong advocate for Catalan succession, delivers remarks to the regional parliament during his investiture as the region's president on May 14.
Independence-Minded Catalonia Will Tread a More Cautious Path
The Catalan parliament, ending months of uncertainty, on May 14 appointed Quim Torra, a fervent supporter of independence from Spain, as the regional president. Meanwhile, the Spanish central government will soon end its direct control of the Catalan government. Both events will lead to some degree of normalization in the region after months of direct Spanish government control. But they will also open the door for another round of confrontation between the region and the central government.
PodcastsMar 16, 2018 | 18:11 GMT
Antique map of Spain
Geopolitics of Spain
In this episode of the podcast, we explore the geopolitics of Spain. From the invasion of the Moors to the secessionist movement in Catalonia, Stratfor analysts Mark Fleming-Williams and Emily Hawthorne discuss the history of constraints facing this southern European nation, how it has responded throughout time and what new opportunities the future holds for Spain.
AssessmentsSep 26, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
The Spanish central government is using legal, political and economic means to block an independence referendum in Catalonia.
Spain Pumps the Brakes on Catalonia's Independence Drive
Tensions remain high between the Spanish government and the regional government in Catalonia. Madrid insists that the referendum on Catalan independence, scheduled for Oct. 1, is illegal and will not take place. The Catalan government has promised that the vote will go on as planned. While the region is unlikely to secede from Spain in the short run, independence sentiments will not go away soon. So far, Madrid's strategy has focused on trying to disrupt the vote. But it eventually will be forced to develop a deeper strategy for the rebellious region.
AssessmentsJun 9, 2017 | 20:14 GMT
Spain Struggles With Catalonia’s Push for Independence
Spain Struggles With Catalonia’s Push for Independence
Independence movements in Catalonia continue to frustrate Spanish leaders in Madrid. On June 9, the government of Spain's autonomous region of Catalonia announced plans to hold an independence referendum on Oct. 1. The Spanish government said it would not take any concrete action in response to what so far is only a verbal statement, but Madrid also insisted that it would not let the vote take place.
AssessmentsOct 31, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
A Semblance of Certainty in Spain
A Semblance of Certainty in Spain
After a year of political haggling and two inconclusive elections, the Spanish parliament has finally appointed a new government. On Oct. 29, lawmakers affirmed acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's position at the country's helm, ensuring that his center-right Popular Party stays in power and returning some semblance of certainty to Spanish politics. But given the difficult tasks that face the next administration, Spain's newfound stability may not last for long.
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