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  #1021  
Old 12-23-2015, 06:40 AM
Majesty
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBirds View Post
Thank you, yet the words in bold is what has me confused, A party, what I don't know is: how many political parties are there in say Spain? Here in the US we have 2 only(sad) so are there more then 2 and if so, do they have names? Can anyone group of people just form a political party and if so, how does the political party(the parties) get on ballots so that their candidates can have the chance to be elected to parliament.

What sometime is hard to understand is that people talk about a person in the party and yet I get the impression that is the name of the party, the person's name, doesn't the party as a whole have a name and would they be either a republican, democrat, independent or monarch?

Here we have 2 parties, republicans or democrats and nothing else but there should be more then 2. Is that they way it is for the parliaments of Europe, only 2 parties, republicans and democrats?

I am find this very interesting as with what is going on here, it shows that there is a huge need for more then 2 parties and wonder how many parties are in a country in, say Spain? If there are 3 or more, then how do they get together to hold elections all the time, must the current PM put that to a vote within the present parliament or can he just state that on such and such a date there is going to be an election for what ever reason?

I do understand now that the people elect the parliament being all the parties that are running for office and that the majority party gets to put their PM in office and then form a government, yet the only confusing part for me is The Parties, just how many parties can there be running at one time, do they campaign around the country like here in the US? I have never really taken an interest in political elections before but what is going on in Spain and here has sparked an interest. So I am a novice in this and all your information is very helpful, Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

I know my questions must sound silly but they are coming from someone who knows almost nothing about politics so this is a learning process for me about European government and how they are formed.

First of all, the United States does not have only two parties. In addition to the Republican and Democratic parties, there are other parties like the Green party, the Libertarian party, and many others . Most Americans just don't notice them because they are not represented in Congress and their presidential candidates typically get less than 1 % of the national popular vote, although sometimes a third-party candidate gets more than that.

In Europe on the other hand, most countries (if not all) have more than two parties with seats in parliament. In the United Kingdom, however, where members of parliament (MPs) are separately elected by simple majority vote in single-member districts, one of the two major parties, i.e. the Conservative party or the Labour party, normally wins an outright majority of seats in the House of Commons and forms the government alone. In that scenario, the smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats, or the Scottish Nationalists, have in practice very little national influence and the system becomes in practice close to a two-party system. On the other hand, in countries like e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands, or Denmark, MPs are elected by a system known as proportional representation where each party, sometimes subject to a minimum threshold, gets a number of seats proportional to its share of the aggregate popular vote. Under that system, there are normally many parties in parliament and none of them has an absolute majority. Coalition governments then become the norm and small parties have a disproportionately big influence as they sometimes hold the balance of power.

Spain specifically also uses proportional representation, but based on regional, rather than national electoral lists. Since the different regions are not represented in the lower house of parliament in exact proportion to their respective shares of the national population, it may happen that a party which wins far less than 50 % of the national popular vote can still win more than 50 % of the seats in the lower house. That used to be case in Spanish politics where one of the two main parties, i.e the center-right PP and the center-left PSOE, used to win alone either over 50 % of the seats or slightly under 50 %. That balance was shattered in this election because new parties both on the left (Podemos) and on the right (Ciudadanos) took votes respectively from the PSOE and the PP, leaving both with fewer seats. Those new parties grew in support mostly after the 2008 economic crisis due to the frustation of sectors of the Spanish society with the traditional parties. In addition, however, to the new parties, there are also many other smaller parties that already existed before , including the former Communist party (which is now part of the so-called United Left) and various nationalist parties that contest elections in the Spanish regions like Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, etc.
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  #1022  
Old 12-23-2015, 08:27 AM
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Kanton = federal state in the 'Confederatione Helvetica' = Federal Republic of Switzerland

Bundesrat=Goverment is elected by Nationalrat=Parliament -which is elected by the people (proportianal to inhabitants of a federal State = Kanton).

der Ständerat = Senat is elected by the people; each Kanton has 2 Ständeräte - so small Kantone with very small population have the same amount of Ständeräte (2) like the biggest Kanton, with about 1/3 of all Swiss people living there (Zürich).

The Bundesräte serve without timelimit - but every 4 years there is an election. Normally the same Bundesräte are getting reelected - in the last 60 years only two Bundesräte wherent reelected.

By fare most of our politicians have a job; there are not very many full time politicians. In the last Years the Bundesräte stoppt working for the time beeing.

To get a consent is a valued highly in Switzerland - on all levels in the political System. Consent and activ participation and a miliz system on the political level. The idea is, that a great part of the population participates and is involved in the goverment on every level. So consent and teamwork is ensured.

If you want your law get passed - you have to make it palatable to as many as possible - and if your opponent has a law - you can also participate in the formulation of it. They need your consent, as much as you need theirs.

The good thing is: with extreme positions you go no where in Switzerland - everything must be balanced. The downside is - everything takes a loooong time to get decieded on - but in the end everybody can live with the compromise achieved.
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  #1023  
Old 12-23-2015, 09:41 AM
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In short: the monarchy was no item in the election campaign, the Partido Popular of the current Government remains the biggest fraction in the Lower House. Their fraction in the Upper House (the Senate) holds a majority. Conclusion: the monarchy will not be affected by this election result.
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  #1024  
Old 12-23-2015, 01:58 PM
Aristocracy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nice Nofret View Post
Kanton = federal state in the 'Confederatione Helvetica' = Federal Republic of Switzerland

Bundesrat=Goverment is elected by Nationalrat=Parliament -which is elected by the people (proportianal to inhabitants of a federal State = Kanton).

der Ständerat = Senat is elected by the people; each Kanton has 2 Ständeräte - so small Kantone with very small population have the same amount of Ständeräte (2) like the biggest Kanton, with about 1/3 of all Swiss people living there (Zürich).

The Bundesräte serve without timelimit - but every 4 years there is an election. Normally the same Bundesräte are getting reelected - in the last 60 years only two Bundesräte wherent reelected.

By fare most of our politicians have a job; there are not very many full time politicians. In the last Years the Bundesräte stoppt working for the time beeing.

To get a consent is a valued highly in Switzerland - on all levels in the political System. Consent and activ participation and a miliz system on the political level. The idea is, that a great part of the population participates and is involved in the goverment on every level. So consent and teamwork is ensured.

If you want your law get passed - you have to make it palatable to as many as possible - and if your opponent has a law - you can also participate in the formulation of it. They need your consent, as much as you need theirs.

The good thing is: with extreme positions you go no where in Switzerland - everything must be balanced. The downside is - everything takes a loooong time to get decieded on - but in the end everybody can live with the compromise achieved.
Now I understand it, your Kanton is like a state in your country like we have states in this country. When I read that it made sense to me about how your government works. It seem that the people really take an interest in making sure that the government cooperates not just within itself but with the people. As you said, consent and teamwork.

I think that your politicians in having a real job outside of the government role that they have is highly commendable for IMO it helps them face the problems of the people for they are among the people each day and can hear and see the problems.

How I wish that could happen here, but knowing the American people, that will never happen. The number of people voting in each election decreases for there is a lot of very unhappy and disgusted people in this country. The majority of people that I have spoken with do not vote any longer, they just have given up on their government as I have. One vote no longer means anything anymore, sad.

What you have written here is something I would like, it seems things run more smoothly in your government. I know that nothing is perfect in life, no government, no person, no organization or party, but with the consent and teamwork, it seems like Switzerland works well.

Thank you for taking the time to explain all this to me. I really appreciate it for I am very interested in how the countries of Europe work because my country no longer works for the people.

One thing, one time I flew over the mountains of Switzerland and was amazed how beautiful they were and to this day I can still see them in my mind. Being a country girl at heart, I am so looking forward to visiting those mountains one day and at anytime of the year.
Happy Holidays
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  #1025  
Old 12-23-2015, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
First of all, the United States does not have only two parties. In addition to the Republican and Democratic parties, there are other parties like the Green party, the Libertarian party, and many others . Most Americans just don't notice them because they are not represented in Congress and their presidential candidates typically get less than 1 % of the national popular vote, although sometimes a third-party candidate gets more than that.

In Europe on the other hand, most countries (if not all) have more than two parties with seats in parliament. In the United Kingdom, however, where members of parliament (MPs) are separately elected by simple majority vote in single-member districts, one of the two major parties, i.e. the Conservative party or the Labour party, normally wins an outright majority of seats in the House of Commons and forms the government alone. In that scenario, the smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats, or the Scottish Nationalists, have in practice very little national influence and the system becomes in practice close to a two-party system. On the other hand, in countries like e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands, or Denmark, MPs are elected by a system known as proportional representation where each party, sometimes subject to a minimum threshold, gets a number of seats proportional to its share of the aggregate popular vote. Under that system, there are normally many parties in parliament and none of them has an absolute majority. Coalition governments then become the norm and small parties have a disproportionately big influence as they sometimes hold the balance of power.

Spain specifically also uses proportional representation, but based on regional, rather than national electoral lists. Since the different regions are not represented in the lower house of parliament in exact proportion to their respective shares of the national population, it may happen that a party which wins far less than 50 % of the national popular vote can still win more than 50 % of the seats in the lower house. That used to be case in Spanish politics where one of the two main parties, i.e the center-right PP and the center-left PSOE, used to win alone either over 50 % of the seats or slightly under 50 %. That balance was shattered in this election because new parties both on the left (Podemos) and on the right (Ciudadanos) took votes respectively from the PSOE and the PP, leaving both with fewer seats. Those new parties grew in support mostly after the 2008 economic crisis due to the frustation of sectors of the Spanish society with the traditional parties. In addition, however, to the new parties, there are also many other smaller parties that already existed before , including the former Communist party (which is now part of the so-called United Left) and various nationalist parties that contest elections in the Spanish regions like Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, etc.
Mbruno:
Your comment really helped me to understand, first I did not know about the other parties in the US for as you said, they are not noticed and I bet most Americans like me have never heard of them. I am not a republican nor a democrat, I don't believe in following one party and doing as they say, I am what most refer to as an outsider or someone who thinks for herself, independent.

I do know about the Conservative Party and the Labor Party in the United Kingdom and remember how when Scotland wanted to be free from the Parliament in England there was much distress and anger among the people of Scotland for they felt they were not heard nor represented in Parliament. That was all due to under representation and that problems in Scotland were not being addressed by members of Parliament, (if this is wrong please let me know) yet the people of Scotland voted to stay in the Union.
This I find very interesting...proportional representation...I have never heard that term before (yet don't we have something like that here, each state gets so many seats in the house and senate yet it is not working here). I also see that in Spain due to the crisis how the people got together and created 2 other parties that in a sense upset the apple cart of the PP and PSOE,(I so wish that would happen here) and now that I have names to these parties and who is the head of each of these parties I can identify who they are and what is going on.

I am going to be following this in Spain for I want to see the outcome and how the people are going to benefit from this 4 party system.

As I have said, this is very new to me and maybe my questions don't make much sense to anyone, yet now I find this very interesting learning about the governments in European countries. Learning is a very good thing, a person is never to old to learn something so Thank you very much for all your help in my endeavor of learning and understanding all this.
Happy Holidays
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  #1026  
Old 12-23-2015, 04:22 PM
Duc_et_Pair's Avatar
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It is not a 4 party system in Spain and it actually has never been a 2 party system either. Spain has always had a variety of parties but -like in many countries in Europe- it are mainly Labour (PSOE) and the Conservatives (Partido Popular) who outnumber all other parties. The PP is the party of the current Prime Minister, Mr Mario Rajoy Brey, the PSOE are Labour, Podemos is a left-wing progressive "protest" movement and C's (Ciudadanos) is a progressive centre party.

These are the parties in the Lower House (350 seats):
123 PP
90 PSOE
42 Podemos
40 C’s
12 En Comú
9 Podemos-Compromís
9 ERC-CATSÍ
8 DL
6 Podemos-En Marea-Anova-EU
6 EAJ-PNV
2 IU-UPeC
2 EH Bildu
1 CCa-PNC

And these are the parties in the Upper House (the Senate, 208 seats), the PP alone having more senators than all other parties combined:
124 PP
47 PSOE
9 Podemos
6 ERC-CATSÍ
6 DL
6 EAJ-PNV
4 En Comú
2 Podemos-En Marea-Anova-EU
1 Podemos-Compromís
1 Cambio-Aldaketa
1 CCa-PNC
1 ASG
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  #1027  
Old 12-23-2015, 04:40 PM
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The Spanish monarchy is not threatened at this time. The monarchy is of the few things that still unites Spain.
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  #1028  
Old 12-26-2015, 12:14 PM
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I think IF Podemos (left) are able to prove themselves in governing and become the strongest party in Spain in the next decade or so, I am sure the voters will ask for a referendum on the monarchy and get it.
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  #1029  
Old 12-26-2015, 01:17 PM
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Yes, if a party would enable it, then it would be Podemos.
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  #1030  
Old 12-26-2015, 03:04 PM
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Spain's TRF what is your opinion on the future of monarchy? They think that the Spanish monarchy is at risk?
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  #1031  
Old 12-27-2015, 02:52 AM
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The monarchy will not face any difficulties from the established parties PP and PSOE as they are part of the 'old' system that JC created.
If these two parties should vanish/change dramatically over the next decades or be replaced by leftist parties like Podemos probably in coalition with other extremist-ish parties the chance is very high that there will be a referendum and a republic. But my guess is that this will take another 10, 20 years so there will be the reign of Felipe VI but no Queen Leonor.
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  #1032  
Old 12-27-2015, 04:00 AM
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It needs a major re-do of the Spanish election system (a re-drawing of the electoral districts and distribution of seats) and that needs a change of the Constitution which is a long and complicated process.

The Partido Popular is needed in the Lower House for a qualified majority. The same party holds the absolute majority in the Upper House. So it is practically impossible for Podemos to make constitutional changes. That is also not their priority anyway. They focus on a leftist economic agenda. We have seen in France (first septennat of Président M François Mitterrand and now during the first quinquennat of Président M François Hollande) that lefties can storm into a parliament on a wave of support, have a lot of crispy fresh progressive ideas, even obtain an outright majority but that already in the first or the second year of a term the popularity tumbles down to never-seen depths. Economical reality is not the same as free dreams during a campaign...

Morale of the story: the constitutional building is robust. It needs a robust and lengthy mandate by the electorate to make far-going constitutional changes. We can say that Podemos got extra votes because they promised a referendum. But it is also possible that when the choice is really, really there, people flock to unitarian parties because the overwhelming majority of the Spaniards and a small majority in Catalonia itself does not want a separation at all... Podemos still has a long way to go.
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  #1033  
Old 12-27-2015, 04:56 AM
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Plus. People tend to be pretty conservative, regardless of their otherwise day to day political standing, when it comes to voting away old symbols. Especially if these symbols work, like the royal family.
Also, people need an anchor in a time of change.

It's akin to being politically far left wing and a devout Catholic at the same time. Many people can easily combine both. In such a case they may wish for reforms within the church, but not abolishing it.

So if the royal family is doing their job, why abolish them?

On another note, let's say the Basques and the Catalans gain independence. Is it possible that there would a kind of commonwealth or confederation with the Spanish Monarch as head of state for all of them? - It would perhaps placate those who are not in favor of independence. Not to mention that countless families have strong family ties between these three countries.
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  #1034  
Old 12-27-2015, 05:22 AM
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If Podemos establishes itself as one of the main parties and governs it will be as the new PSOE. They've already mellowed considerably to attract voters, they are the PSOE biggest problem. They'll need to settle into the establishment if they wish to govern, and they want the government badly enough to overhaul their political program. They started as the Spanish Syriza and their program now is just to the left of PSOE.
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  #1035  
Old 12-27-2015, 08:34 AM
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And now Ana mentioned Syriza: in the end Tspiras ousted Varoufakis and the more extreme factors and see... e-ve-ry-thing enforced by the EU has been swallowed, by the very same Syriza... The next elections will then see Syriza loosing approval because the electorate realizes they were not the miracle cure they hoped for...
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  #1036  
Old 12-27-2015, 08:48 AM
eya eya is offline
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Unfortunately or fortunately people are always looking for the changes that will get better their life in all countries. Now if they are successful or not is another sad story.
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  #1037  
Old 12-27-2015, 01:15 PM
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Can someone who knows spanish tell us how extensive does the '#adiosfelipe' comments on twitter, following the king's Xmas address seem, in following and outrage..?
Is it just the 'Podemos' followers tweeting, or a more general trend over the past couple of days..?
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  #1038  
Old 12-27-2015, 03:50 PM
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It was Christmas Eve, the Spaniards at that time are having dinner with the family, not chatting on twitter ... so for the Republicans, communists or separatists (probably some also contrary to these religious celebrations) was very easy to convert the theme in trending topic ... really the number of messages needed was much lower than usual.

Actually when they react so strongly to something, it's because the king has done well and goes against their interests.
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  #1039  
Old 12-27-2015, 04:36 PM
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^^^Good point Lula!
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  #1040  
Old 12-27-2015, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lula View Post
It was Christmas Eve, the Spaniards at that time are having dinner with the family, not chatting on twitter ... so for the Republicans, communists or separatists (probably some also contrary to these religious celebrations) was very easy to convert the theme in trending topic ... really the number of messages needed was much lower than usual.

Actually when they react so strongly to something, it's because the king has done well and goes against their interests.
There are 2 issues here which are connected, but also need to be kept separate, to fully appreciate the Spanish situation in its entirety. The political question is, and will be in the foreseeable future, whether the kingdom of Spain can continue as it does today, within its territorial borders and with its current constitutional arrangements. My belief is, based on the data available, that the country will change into a federation, where more power is moved from Madrid to the regions that the country naturally consists of. This is easier to achieve than independence outright for i.e Catalonia and/or other regions (if the United Kingdom had any sense, they would make the same change to a federal state). Germany is a solid example in Europe today of a well-functioning federal state, with no real threats to its territorial integrity. Outside of Europe, Australia and Canada are two examples of the same.

New political parties always ride a wave of popularity when they enter the political arena, but they are always tempered, by bureaucracy, systemic rigidity and political and economical realities. In Europe today, one of the biggest reality checks, is the European Union. Not much is done on the continent without its involvement or approval, in one way or another, and a breakaway state will be a pariah when it comes to trade, diplomatic relations and integration into existing systems. For example, if Catalonia were to attempt to break free from Spain unlawfully, they would be barred from entering the EU at any point, by Spain itself, and countries such as Italy, Belgium and the UK, who fears the precendent of breakaway states. The posturing of people such as Artur Mas in Catalonia, is therefore mainly a way of a political leader to attain more powers and resources to his region, if possible through a systemic change. To stem the tide of independence in some of its regions, Spain should therefore move towards becoming a federal constitional monarchy, where the state is united, but where regional languages, culture, economy and customs is supported and encouraged.

The other issue is the popularity of the Spanish Royal Family itself. Despite being principally against the tradition in some Royal Houses to abdicate, I believe King Juan Carlos did the right thing when he stepped aside for his son to safeguard the throne for the future. He had become tainted in the eyes of too many Spaniards, and was in danger of becoming a person of ridicule, instead of the strong and determined King he was once seen as. In abdicating, he paved the way for King Felipe and Queen Letizia to establish a new image of royalty, which I believe they have greatly succeeded in doing. The tide that was growing of anti-monarchy sentiment is stemmed, and those vocal now are those who always were, and always will be critical, of the monarchy itself. Those groups exist in every kingdom, but they are nowhere near a majority of support in Spain today.

The last thing Spain has on its side is demographics. As people get older, they tend to become more conservative, and less interested in radical change. There is a saying: When you're in your 20s, you're a fool if you're not a radical thinker. If you're still a radical thinker in your 40's, you haven't learned anything.

As Spain ages, as the Royal Family behaves well and as politicians decide on how the Spanish state should function in the future, the monarchy seems quite safe to me, but as with anything, predictions are in the end, just predictions.
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