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Andalusian parliamentary election, 2015

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22 March 2015  Next →
7 September 2013  1 March 2014
47 seats, 39.6%  50 seats, 40.7%
Registered  6,462,627 1.1%
1 March 2014  9 February 2015
Andalusian parliamentary election, 2015
Turnout  4,026,282 (62.3%) 1.5 pp

The 2015 Andalusian parliamentary election was held on Sunday, 22 March 2015, to elect the 10th Parliament of Andalusia, the regional legislature of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia. All 109 seats in the Parliament were up for election.

Contents

While the election was not scheduled until 2016, regional President Susana Díaz chose to terminate the coalition agreement between her Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE–A) and United Left (IULV–CA), dissolving the Parliament and calling a snap election for 22 March 2015. Andalusia had been traditionally considered a PSOE stronghold, being the only region in Spain in which no other party had led the regional government.

The PSOE–A regained first place from a declining People's Party (PP). Suffering from voters' anger at Mariano Rajoy's national government management of the economic crisis and the corruption scandals affecting the party nationwide, the PP scored its worst result since 1990. The election also saw a strong performance by newcomers Podemos (Spanish for "We can") and Citizens (C's), which faced their first electoral test since the 2014 European Parliament election. IULV–CA was decimated by Podemos' surge and obtained its worst historical showing.

After the election, the PP announced it would block any PSOE attempt to form a government, a shock to many after the party had assured during the electoral campaign that it would allow the most-voted party to access government. Podemos and C's remained reluctant to lend support to Susana Díaz's investiture, whereas IU was not willing to align with the Socialists again after their previous alliance broke up. In the end, however, after the 2015 Spanish regional and municipal elections were held, C's agreed to support Díaz investiture on less harsher conditions than initially required, in order to end the parliamentary deadlock and prevent a new election.

Overview

The Parliament of Andalusia was the unicameral legislature of Andalusia at the time of the 2015 election. Legislative initiative for those areas of responsibility attributed to the regional government belonged to this chamber, which also had the attribution of granting or revoking confidence from the President of Andalusia.

The President had the ability to dissolve the chamber at any given time and call a snap election. Additionally, the Parliament's dissolution was automatically triggered if investiture attempts failed to elect a regional President within a two month-period from the first ballot.

Electoral system

Voting was on the basis of universal suffrage, with all residents over eighteen and in the full enjoyment of all political rights entitled to vote. Concurrently, residents meeting the previous criteria and not involved in any cause of ineligibility were eligible for the Parliament. Groups of electors were required to obtain the signatures of at least 1% of registered electors in a particular district in order to be able to field candidates.

All 109 Parliament seats were allocated to eight multi-member district—each constituency corresponding to a province—using the D'Hondt method and a closed list proportional representation. Each district was entitled to an initial minimum of eight seats, with the remaining 45 seats allocated among the eight provinces in proportion to their populations on the condition that the number of seats in each district did not exceed two times those of any other. A threshold of 3% of valid votes—which included blank ballots—was applied, with parties not reaching the threshold not entitled to enter the seat distribution.

Background

Despite losing in the 2012 election to the People's Party (PP), which won a regional election in Andalusia for the first time since the establishment of the autonomous community, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) under José Antonio Griñán was able to remain in office for a ninth consecutive term thanks to the support of United Left (IU), with whom the Socialists formed a coalition government.

In July 2013, President Griñán announced his intention to resign from office in order to "preserve the [regional] Government from the erosion of the ERE scandal", a large slush fund corruption scandal involving former leading figures of the regional PSOE's branch, including former Development Minister Magdalena Álvarez, with former Andalusía President Manuel Chaves and himself being accused of knowing and concealing such a plot. Griñán was succeeded by Susana Díaz as President of the regional government.

Despite the apparent parliamentary comfort of the ruling coalition, friction between both PSOE and IU remained an issue throughout the entire legislature, especially after Susana Díaz took over the government in September 2013. In April 2014, an episode of IU's Housing Counsellor awarding several government houses to homeless families without the President's consent resulted in the Counsellor seeing her competences removed and in the coalition pact nearly breaking up.

In January 2015, tension between both coalition partners had grown up after IU had proposed to hold a referendum among its members set for June 2015 to decide whether to remain or withdraw from the government. Susana Díaz declared that "we need a government which enjoys a stability that currently does not exist", opening the door for a snap election to be held in short time. On 20 January Díaz met all eight PSOE provincial leaders in order to seek support within the party for a snap election to be held in March 2015, which she received, with the PSOE national leadership taking for granted that a snap election would be held by March 2015. By 21 January mutual attacks between both PSOE and IU, accusing each other of breaching the coalition agreement, made it clear that the only solution to the ongoing governmental crisis would come by the calling of a snap election.

On 22 January, after President Díaz said "this cannot be delayed any longer", it was announced that an extraordinary parliamentary plenary session would be held on Monday, 26 January, where she announced the dissolving of parliament and the subsequent calling of a snap election for 22 March. Díaz herself had previously declared, during a PSOE rally in Seville, that "It is time for the Andalusian people to speak" and "We shall obtain the [people's] confidence in the ballots". Spanish media speculated that the snap election came as a result of different factors; namely, Susana Díaz's private aspirations to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's leadership—despite her publicly refusing it—, as well as both Podemos' surge in opinion polls and to prevent the party's exhaustion after all 2015 electoral calls—local and regional in May, Catalan in September and general in autumn—, in a time when opinion polls were still favorable to the PSOE in Andalusia.

On 17 February 2015, one month short of the election, the Spanish Supreme Court charged former Andalusia Presidents Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán in the ERE scandal for their possible responsibility in the misuse of the misappropriated public funds. The PSOE insisted on the same day that it would not ask Chaves and Griñán to give up their seats in the Spanish Congress and Senate, despite both incumbent President Susana Díaz and PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez having assured in the past that they would do so in the event of both of them being charged.

Opinion polling

Individual poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first, and using the date the survey's fieldwork was done, as opposed to the date of publication. If such date is unknown, the date of publication is given instead. The highest percentage figure in each polling survey is displayed with its background shaded in the leading party's colour. In the instance of a tie, the figures with the highest percentages are shaded. in the case of seat projections, they are displayed in bold and in a different font. The lead column on the right shows the percentage-point difference between the two parties with the highest figures. 55 seats were required for an absolute majority in the Parliament of Andalusia.

Color key:

  Poll conducted after legal ban on opinion polls   Exit poll

Aftermath

The result of the election was a hung parliament, with the PSOE winning the same amount of seats it had previously—47. Still, it performed slightly better than what most polls had predicted, despite falling 8 seats short of the absolute majority they had set as an objective. The PP plummeted to just 33 seats after scoring its best ever result in the 2012 election, suffering the burden of PM Mariano Rajoy's governance in the Spanish Government. This represented the party's worst result at a regional election in Andalusia since the 1990 election, falling below the 30% threshold. The main beneficiaries of the election were parties alternative to the considered "traditional" ones — Podemos and Citizens, both of them, despite polling slightly lower than what early polls predicted, winning seats for the first time in the Parliament of Andalusia, achieving an historical record for any party standing from zero at an election of any kind.

The post-election scenario, however, turned more difficult than what was originally expected. IU collapse from 12 to 5 seats turned it into a minority force in the new parliament unable to decide a future government, preventing PSOE from even attempting a renewal of the PSOE-IU government of 2012-2015 (a scenario which IU itself refused, due to the early dissolution of the coalition agreement). The PP, initially widely expected to abstain in Susana Díaz's investiture voting in order to allow "a government of the most-voted party", announced instead that it would vote against Díaz's investiture.

Newcomers Podemos and Citizens thus became decisive in the election of any future cabinet, yet remained reluctant to support a new PSOE government. The parties presented a series of harsh pre-agreement conditions regarding political corruption and other issues, for the PSOE to comply in order to allow for agreement talks:

  • Podemos offered to support Díaz's investiture only if she forced the resignation of former Presidents Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán (which at the time were MPs in the Congress of Deputies and Senate, respectively) because of their responsibility in the ERE scandal; that political parties were turned into subsidiary responsible for ensuring that misused public money was returned; that the Andalusian Government cancelled all agreements or accounts with financial institutions running evictions, as well as prompting legislation to prevent any future eviction; and finally, the readmission of personnel in education, health, equality and social welfare sectors fired as a result of the spending cuts, with a decrease in the number of party officials and advisers. In the event those conditions were not accepted, Podemos would vote against Díaz.
  • Citizens (C's) demanded the immediate resignation of Chaves and Griñán before entering any talks with Susana Díaz's party. Party leader Albert Rivera, however, opened the door to allowing Díaz's investiture if that condition was met, but ruled out any possible entry into a future Díaz's government.
  • The People's Party (PP) offered to easen Susana Díaz's investiture only if the PSOE allowed "the most-voted party" to rule in the municipalities after the May local elections, as an attempt to prevent left-wing coalitions from robbing the People's Party of the governments of the region's provincial capitals.
  • Susana Díaz immediately ruled out the PP conditions, suggesting party regional leader Juan Manuel Moreno to "act with responsibility, without pretending weird exchanges that the people would not understand". Moreno, in response, accused Díaz of "arrogancy" and told her that "with 47 seats one can't pretend to negotiate as if one had 55 [an absolute majority of seats]".

    Susana Díaz's investiture for a second term as President of Andalusia remained unclear for a month. She explicitly expressed her intention to form a minority government, ruling out a coalition with any other party; however, until June 2015 she was not able to prevent all other parties from blocking her election. Andalusian law established that if no candidate was elected President in the two months following the first investiture vote, then Parliament was to be automatically dissolved for a new election to be held no later than September 2015.

    Investiture vote

    Susana Díaz was unable to get a favorable vote in either of the three votings that took place in 5, 8 and 14 May, as all four PP, Podemos, C's and IU voted against her election. Further, negotiations between Díaz's PSOE and the opposition parties broke off when, on 13 May—the eve of the third investiture vote—it was unveiled that the Andalusian government had awarded the exploitation of the Aznalcóllar mine to a governmental-favored firm through illegal means and "without observing the slightest rigor" in February–March 2015, previously and during the regional election campaign. With Díaz's government refusing to give explanations over the scandal, all four parties reassured their negative to allow for Díaz's investiture in the 14 May vote, with then-acting President Susana Díaz blaming all four opposition parties of imposing a "political blockade" over Andalusia and threatening them with a new election to be held in the event of her failing to get elected.

    PP regional leader Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla accused Díaz of "arrogance" and of "asking them to allow her investiture without yielding to their conditions", also asking himself why Díaz kept holding investiture votings if no inter-party agreement had been reached. Teresa Rodríguez from Podemos also criticised Díaz for not accepting her party's conditions, blaming the PSOE for the political instability in the region and stating that a new election would mean the PSOE's failure in forming a government through dialogue. All opposition parties also reiterated their position that they did not trust Díaz to fulfill any compromise once she did get elected.

    New investiture votes were initially postponed until after the 24 May Spanish regional and municipal elections as a result of the electoral campaign centering the political focus. However, on 5 June, after the elections, on the impossibility to have Díaz formally invested, the PSOE threatened the opposition parties with letting the legal time limit for the automatic dissolution of the Parliament to expire should an agreement not be reached with anyone before Tuesday, 9 June. In the end, the PSOE and C's reached an agreement, with the latter accepting to support Díaz to end the parliamentary deadlock and prevent a new election, lifting off their requirement for Chaves and Griñan's resignations before considering to enter negotiations with the PSOE.

    References

    Andalusian parliamentary election, 2015 Wikipedia


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