Spain Votes In Contentious National Election – Huffington Post

“A BIT OF A MESS”

Rajoy said on Wednesday he would consider a cross-party pact to ensure a stable administration over the scheduled four-year term, but all the other main parties have come out against joining the PP in a coalition.

That points to a stalemate that analysts agree would probably disrupt an economic reform program that has helped pull Spain - the fifth-largest economy in the 28-nation EU – out of recession and dented a still sky-high unemployment rate.

“If there is no majority and many parties have a say, that could be a bit of a mess,” said Josefa Robledillo, 50, a housewife from the Aluche district of Madrid who voted for the PP. “I hope that now that the economy is going a little better, things will stay on track.”

Ciudadanos and Podemos insiders say both parties are looking beyond Sunday’s vote and aim to keep poaching voters from the PP and the Socialists, giving them no incentive to agree on a pact unless they win major concessions.

The Spanish constitution does not set a specific deadline to form a government after the election. Analysts say negotiations to win enough parliamentary support for a new prime minister to be picked could last many weeks – and maybe even trigger another election.

While Rajoy’s government has already passed the 2016 budget and a combination of low interest rates and cheap oil should help underpin economic growth, soothing any market concerns over political instability, prolonged deadlock in Madrid could be used by pro-independence Catalan parties to press their cause.

The Catalan issue is expected to quickly move back up to the top of the national political agenda as separatist parties have to decide on a joint government no later than Jan. 9. If they fail to agree, new elections would have to be held in Catalonia within two months.

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