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VV’s Diary

August 17: Specialists in useless pacts

Ciudadanos is fast becoming the Spanish political party that specialises in useless pacts. Or in theatrical pacts, if you like

Ciudadanos is fast becoming the Spanish political party that specialises in useless pacts. Or in theatrical pacts, if you like. During the ephemeral previous term, their agreement with the PSOE was presented as the foundation of a broad new space occupying the political centre, which turned out to be very short-lived. Now they are doing it again with the Partido Popular, in what is being portrayed as a great accord for Spain.

Both deals share one important thing: neither affords a parliamentary majority large enough to elect a president. In both cases, then, the whole point is to pressure and to intimidate, to persuade someone who hasn’t signed the pact to do so.

The PSOE-Ciudadanos agreement was an attempt to force the PP to join them, actively or otherwise. The current pact between Ciudadanos and the PP is an attempt to force the PSOE to join them, actively or otherwise. It is a pantomime devised to impress a certain target audience. This requires the deal to be clinched with as much fuss, baroque paraphernalia and apparent significance as possible. It is very like an All Blacks’ pre-match haka: it seeks to awe the opponent. And so here we are.

But, at the end of the day, if the party they wish to awe (now, the PSOE; earlier, the PP) refuses to be awed, then what they aim to present as a momentous feat is but a charade.