Spain. In mid-February, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his election. The government’s draft budget had been voted down in Parliament, not only by Conservative People’s Party (PP) and Liberal Conservative Ciudadanos, but also by the two Catalan separatist parties that previously supported Sánchez. This was seen as a response by the separatist parties to the government’s refusal to discuss independence for the region of Catalonia. However, it would turn out to be two parliamentary elections – one on April 28 and one on November 10.
In the April 28 election, Prime Minister Sánchez and his Socialist Party (PSOE) became the largest party with about 30% of the vote. The Left Union Unidas Podemos (UP) gained 14%, the Conservative PP backed and ended at just under 17%, Liberal Conservative Ciudadanos gained 16% and the farmer, right-wing extremist Vox, landed at just over 10%. This meant that no block was given a majority. It was in June 2018 that PSOE and Pedro Sánchez took over the government after a vote of no confidence which forced the then prime minister and PP leader Mariano Rajoy to resign.
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After several attempts to form a government – the UP wanted a government coalition while the PSOE wanted to continue its minority government – Sánchez was forced to once again announce new elections. In the November elections, right-wing extremists Vox went ahead strongly, from 24 to 52 seats in parliament. According to analysts, the crisis of independence with Catalonia is seen as one of the main reasons for the success of Vox. The stalemate in Spanish politics continued because none of the parties got a majority in the elections.
In December, Pedro Sánchez was commissioned by King Felipe VI to form a government. After the election, Sánchez succeeded in settling a deal with the UP, but in order to gain a majority in Parliament he must now apply to the bourgeois parties PP and Ciudadanos. This was not clear at the end of the year.
In the European Parliament elections on 26 May, the PSOE and its Catalan sister party (Catalonia’s Socialist Party) became the largest party with 33.2% of the vote, giving 20 seats. In second place was PP with 20.4% (12 seats), followed by Ciudadanos, which received 12.3% (7 seats); a coalition with the UP in the lead took home 10.2% of the votes (6 seats). Right-wing extremes Vox ended up at 6.3% (3 seats). Then followed a number of coalition parties, which together shared 6 seats. The turnout was 60.73%, which was significantly higher than the EU average, which was 50.66%.
In October, the twelve Catalan politicians who were charged with, among other things, insurrection and incitement in connection with the Catalan Declaration of Independence in 2016 were convicted. The longest sentence was given to the former vice-regional president of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras, who was sentenced to 13 years for incarceration. A further three defendants were convicted of disobedience but received no prison sentence. Following the verdict, violent protests erupted in the Catalan regional capital Barcelona, including at the international airport, where over 100 flights had to be canceled. On October 26, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Barcelona demanding independence and the sentenced to be released. The next day demonstrated the same number of people instead of Spanish unity.
Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont was not among the defendants because he had left the country and therefore could not be prosecuted. Some day after the verdict, however, Puigdemont surrendered to authorities in Belgium, where he has been on the run since 2017. Spain had issued a new arrest warrant against him. However, Puigdemont opposed extradition to Spain. In connection with the verdict against the separatist leaders, he wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian that the judges “will strike back against Spain. There is now only one way forward for Catalonia […]. It must become an independent state in the form of a republic. We will never back down. This is now an international issue. ”
In October, former dictator Francisco Franco’s remains were excavated and moved from El Valle de los Caidos, a mausoleum about 5 miles north of Madrid, to be buried at the El Pardo cemetery in Mingorrubio. According to the ruling party PSOE, it is extremely inappropriate to have a “mausoleum dedicated to a dictator” in a democratic country. The Mausoleum, which was established by the fascist regime, was built to some extent by forced labor from political prisoners.
The Spaniards will have the longest average life expectancy in 2040. According to Bloomberg’s annual ranking of 169 countries, the Spaniards would then become the oldest with a respectable age of 86 years. A well-functioning primary care together with the classic Mediterranean diet, which according to research reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, is said to have been crucial. Sweden came in sixth place.
In the north and northwest there is a temperate climate with mild winters and fresh summers. The precipitation here can be up to 2,400mm per year. The remaining part is very dry (500mm on average) with mild winters and hot summers. The temperatures in Madrid are 5 ° C in January average and 25 ° C in July average.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Spain in 2019 was 46,736,665, ranking number 30 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.090% yearly, and the population density was 93.6984 people per km2.