chapter  11
18 Pages

Spain’s coalitional dynamics

The relevance of multilevel politics
WithJosep M. Reniu

Despite no formal coalition government at the national level having been formed in recent Spanish history, parties regularly engage in coalition dynamics necessary to form and support governments. Since the reinstitution of democracy, after the end of the Franco dictatorship, Spain’s political system has been characterized by two opposing elements: strong national parties and a continuous push by regional parties for decentralization. The country’s electoral system, while proportional, is weighted toward stability by strengthening constituency majoritarianism. At the same time, parties representing subnational political objectives play a decisive role in determining which national party will lead government. The different parties supporting and opposing the government reflect regional cultural differences and changes in Spanish society. Thus, analysing Spanish coalition dynamics requires understanding the peculiar effects of the political system’s institutional design as well as the different, and sometimes conflicting, national and subnational priorities and objectives of Spain’s political parties.