A ferocious democratic drama is playing out in Spain, which may keep the social democratic prime minister Pedro Sánchez in power and help stem the populist tide across Europe.
In Sunday’s general election, Sánchez appears to have held off a seemingly inevitable victory for the right-wing People’s Party (PP) in alliance with the far-right populist party Vox. Coming from 10 points behind in the polls as the beleaguered incumbent demonised by an impassioned right-wing media, Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) ended up just one point behind the PP after relentlessly campaigning against the dangers of a PP-Vox populist coalition. Small left-wing and nationalist parties won enough parliamentary seats to block Alberto Feijóo, the PP leader, from taking power with Vox’s burly leader Santiago Abascal. The question now is whether the left/nationalist parties will enable Sánchez to continue in office, or whether there has to be another election.