Spanish general election, 2015
| Most voted party by autonomous community and province.
The 2015 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 20 December 2015, to elect the 11th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain. All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 266 seats in the Senate.
After a legislature plagued by the effects of an ongoing economic crisis, corruption scandals affecting the ruling party and social distrust with traditional parties, the election resulted in the most fragmented Spanish parliament in its history. While Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's Party (PP) emerged as the largest party overall, it obtained its worst result since 1989. The party's net loss of 64 seats and 16 percentage points also marked the largest loss of support for a sitting government since 1982. Opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) obtained its worst result since the Spanish transition to democracy, losing 20 seats and nearly 7 points. Newcomer Podemos (Spanish for "We can") ranked third, winning over 5 million votes, some 20% of the share, 69 seats and coming closely behind PSOE. Up-and-coming Citizens (C's), a party based in Catalonia since 2006, entered the parliament for the first time with 40 seats, though considerably lower than what pre-election polls had suggested.
Spanish minoritary parties were decimated, with historic United Left (IU), which ran in a common platform with other left-wing parties under the Popular Unity in Common label, obtaining the worst result in its history. Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), a newcomer which had made gains in both the 2008 and 2011 general elections, was obliterated, losing all of its seats and nearly 90% of its votes. At the regional level, aside from a major breakthrough from Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), all regional nationalist parties lost votes, with the break up of Convergence and Union (CiU), support for the abertzale left EH Bildu coalition falling sharply, Canarian Coalition (CC) clinging on to a single seat and the expulsion of both Geroa Bai and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) from parliament; the latter of which had maintained an uninterrupted presence in the Congress of Deputies since 1996.
With the most-voted party obtaining just 123 seats—compared to the 156 of the previous worst result for a first party, in 1996—and a third party winning an unprecedented 69 seats—the previous record was 23 in 1979—the result marked the transition from a two-party system to a multi-party system. After months of inconclusive negotiations and a failed investiture, neither PP or PSOE were able to garner enough votes to secure a majority, leading to a fresh election in 2016.
This bicameral system was regarded as asymmetric, as while legislative initiative belonged to both chambers—as well as to the Government—the Congress had greater legislative power than the Senate, and it could override most of the Senate initiatives by an absolute majority of votes. Furthermore, only Congress had the ability to grant or revoke confidence from a Prime Minister. Nonetheless, the Senate possessed a few exclusive, yet limited in number functions which were not subject to the Congress' override.
Settled customary practice had been to dissolve and hold elections for both chambers at the same time, thus triggering a "general" election. Article 115 of the Spanish Constitution allowed, however, for each chamber to be elected separately. The electoral system in Spain was on the basis of universal suffrage in a secret ballot, with a minimum voting age of 18.
- Congress of Deputies
For the Congress of Deputies, 348 members were elected in 50 multi-member districts using the D'Hondt method and closed-list proportional representation for four-year terms. In addition, Ceuta and Melilla elected one member each using plurality voting. Each district was entitled to an initial minimum of two seats, with the remaining 248 seats being allocated among the 50 provinces in proportion to their populations. Only lists polling above 3% of the total vote in each district (which included blank ballots—for none of the above) were entitled to enter the seat distribution. However, in most districts there was a higher effective threshold at the constituency level, depending on the district magnitude.
For the 2015 election, seats were distributed as follows:
|36 × 1 = 36||Madrid|
|31 × 1 = 31||Barcelona|
|15 × 1 = 15||Valencia(–1)|
|12 × 2 = 24||Alicante and Seville|
|11 × 1 = 11||Málaga(+1)|
|10 × 1 = 10||Murcia|
|9 × 1 = 9||Cádiz(+1)|
|8 × 5 = 40||A Coruña, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Las Palmas and Biscay|
|7 × 4 = 28||Granada, Pontevedra, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Zaragoza|
|6 × 7 = 42||Almería, Badajoz, Córdoba, Girona, Gipuzkoa, Tarragona and Toledo|
|5 × 8 = 40||Cantabria, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Huelva, Jaén(–1), León, Navarre and Valladolid|
|4 × 9 = 36||Álava, Albacete, Burgos, Cáceres, Lleida, Lugo, Ourense, La Rioja and Salamanca|
|3 × 8 = 24||Ávila, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Huesca, Palencia, Segovia, Teruel and Zamora|
|2 × 1 = 2||Soria|
|1 × 2 = 2||Ceuta and Melilla|
|= 350||Total seats|
For the Senate, each of the 47 peninsular districts (the provinces) was assigned four seats. For the insular provinces, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, districts were the islands themselves, with the larger—Mallorca, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife—being assigned three seats each, and the smaller—Menorca, Ibiza-Formentera, Fuerteventura, Gomera, Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma—one each. Ceuta and Melilla were assigned two seats each, for a total of 208 directly elected seats. The system used was that of limited voting. In districts electing four seats, electors could vote for up to three candidates; in those with two or three seats, for up to two candidates; and for one candidate in single-member constituencies. Electors voted for individual candidates; those attaining the largest number of votes in each district were elected for four-year terms.
In addition, the legislative assemblies of the autonomous communities were entitled to appoint at least one senator each, and one senator for every million inhabitants, adding a variable number of appointed seats to the 208 directly elected senators. This appointment usually did not take place at the same time as the general election, but after the autonomous communities held their respective elections.
Dual membership of both chambers of the Cortes or of the Cortes and regional assemblies was prohibited, meaning that candidates had to resign from regional assemblies if elected. Active judges, magistrates, ombudsmen, serving military personnel, active police officers and members of constitutional and electoral tribunals were also ineligible, as well as CEOs or equivalent leaders of state monopolies and public bodies, such as the Spanish state broadcaster RTVE. Additionally, under the Political Parties Law, June 2002, parties and individual candidates could be prevented from standing by the Spanish Supreme Court if they were judicially perceived to discriminate against people on the basis of ideology, religion, beliefs, nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation, foment or organise violence as a means of achieving political objectives or support or compliment the actions of "terrorist organisations".
Following changes to the electoral law which took effect for the 2007 municipal elections, candidates' lists were required to be composed of at least 40% of candidates of either gender and each group of five candidates to contain at least two males and two females.
Parties and coalitions of different parties which had registered with the Electoral Commission could present lists of candidates. Groups of electors which had not registered with the Commission could also present lists, provided that they obtained the signatures of 1% of registered electors in a particular district. Also, since 30 January 2011, political parties without representation in any of the Chambers in the previous general election were required to obtain the signatures of 0.1% of registered electors in the districts they wanted to stand for in order to present lists for those districts.
Mariano Rajoy became Prime Minister of Spain on 20 December 2011, after his People's Party's (PP) landslide victory in the 2011 general election. The PP's overall majority of 186 seats gave Rajoy a free hand to handle the country's political and economic situation for the next four years, attaining a parliamentary stability that his predecessor, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, had not enjoyed. However, Rajoy's use of decree-laws and the blocking of opposition bill amendments and parliamentary committees would earn him strong criticism from both the media and opposition parties throughout the Legislature, because of the perceived undue use his party made of such an absolute majority.
In contrast, the previous ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) had suffered from the worsening economic situation, having its worst electoral performance since 1977 and being ousted from power amidst a climate of high unpopularity. Then-Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero had decided to stand down as PM candidate in early 2011, and as party leader once the quadrennial party conference—due for March 2012—was held. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, PSOE candidate for the 2011 election and former Deputy Prime Minister, was elected as the new party's Secretary General in a tight fight against former Defence Minister Carme Chacón.
After taking office, Rajoy's government popularity in opinion polls began to erode after its U-turn on economic policy, which included the breaching of many election pledges. After it had promised to lower taxes during the election campaign of 2011, Rajoy's government announced a first austerity package ten days into office—including new tax rises and a spending cut worth €9 billion—as a result of a larger-than-expected public deficit of 8% (instead of the projected 6%). This was followed by a harsh labour reform, criticised as paving the way to cheapen dismissals and which was met with widespread protests and two general strikes in March and November 2012, and an austere state budget for 2012. The crash of Bankia, one of the largest banks of Spain, in May 2012 resulted in a dramatic rise of the Spanish risk premium, and in June the country's banking system needed a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was later revealed that Bankia, then directed by Rodrigo Rato, former PP politician, had falsified its accounts between 2011 and 2012 in order to create a false illusion that it was creditworthy. A major spending cut of €65 billion followed in July 2012, including a VAT rise from 18% to 21% which the PP itself had opposed during its time in opposition, after the previous Socialist government had already raised the VAT to 18%.
At this time, incumbent Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro came under public scrutiny after being accused of telling other opposition MPs, back in 2010, to "let Spain fall, we will get it up", in reference to a PP political opportunist attempt at forcing the fall of Zapatero's cabinet in order to have an early election, which the PP would have presumably won. Montoro later recognized this fact, but justified himself in that he "was working in an alternative. If Zapatero had shortened the legislature, he would have saved much suffering to all Spaniards".
New spending cuts and legal reforms followed throughout 2012 and 2013, including cuts in budget credit lines for the health care and education systems, the implementation of a pharmaceutical copayment, a reform of the pension system which stopped guaranteeing the increase of pensioners' purchasing power accordingly to the consumer price index, the suppression of the bonus for public employees, or the withdrawal of public subsidies to the dependent people care system. Other measures, such as a fiscal amnesty in 2012 allowing tax evaders to regularize their situation by paying a 10% tax—later reduced to 3%—and no criminal penalty, had been previously rejected by the PP during its time in opposition. Additionally, public funding to rescue the Spanish banking system from bankruptcy amounted to €61 billion by late 2013, despite Rajoy having stated during the 2011 campaign that he "would never give public money to help banks". Most of these measures were not included in the PP 2011 election manifesto and, inversely, many of the pledges included within were not fulfilled. Rajoy argued that "reality" prevented him from fulfilling his programme, and that he had been forced to adapt to the new economic situation he found upon his accession to government.
The impact of the government's economic reforms on the Spanish economy was mixed. Unemployment, which peaked in Q1 2013 at 6,202,700 and an unprecedented unemployment rate of 27.16%, had decreased to 2011 levels by late 2015, with 4,850,800 unemployed and 21.18%. This fall was largely attributed by critics and economists to a decrease in the labour force—resulting from many Spaniards emigrating in search of job in other countries—and an increase in temporary contracts, with newly created employments being dubbed as precarious. The risk premium decreased from a record 638 basis points in July 2012 to 113 in October 2015, but it was widely considered that it had largely come as a result from the European Central Bank actions under Mario Draghi of reducing interest rates, which had also benefitted other countries. Public deficit was reduced from 10.3% in 2012 to 5.8% in 2014, while public debt peaked at 98.0% of the GDP in mid-2015 from 69.2% in 2011.
In the domestic field, the 2011–2015 period was dominated by a perceived regression in social and political rights. Spending cuts on the health care and education systems had fueled an increase in inequality among those without enough financial resources to afford those services. Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón's authorization of the enforcement and increase of court fees, requiring the payment of between €50 and €750 to appeal to the courts, was dubbed as violating the rights of effective judicial protection and free legal assistance. The controversial fees would later be removed in early 2015. Education Minister José Ignacio Wert's new Education Law (LOMCE), allegedly introduced to address the extremely high-school dropout rates, received heavy criticism from the Basque and Catalonia regional governments, which dubbed it as a re-centralization attempt, as well as from social sectors which considered that it prompted segregation in primary schools. Another bill, the Citizen Security Law proposed by Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, also dubbed the "gag law" by critics, was met with a global outcry because of it being seen as a cracking down on Spaniards' rights of freedom of assembly and expression. This bill laid out strict guidelines on demonstrations, perceived to limit street protests, and set up steep fines to offenders.
In September 2013, Minister Ruiz-Gallardón announced that the government was studying a reform of the 2010 abortion law approved by the previous Socialist government, which allowed free abortion up to 14 weeks, and up to 22 weeks in cases of foetal deformities. The bill, in the draft law published in December 2013, allowed abortion only in cases of rape and when there was a serious (but undefined) health risk to the mother. Public outrage was felt from most opposition parties, as well as from many feminist organizations, with the bill being criticised as 'too restrictive' and 'a return to the past'. As the bill received widespread criticism both from within and outside the PP itself, its final approval date was postponed several times. In September 2014, PM Mariano Rajoy announced that his government was scrapping the reform and would instead opt for minor changes to the current abortion law, mainly the requirement for 16 and 17-year-old women to obtain parental consent to have an abortion, and suggesting the 'lack of consensus' as the main reason behind the decision to scrap the bill. This resulted in Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón announcing his resignation from his ministerial position and from politics the same day, "feeling unable to fulfill the assignment he was tasked", and amid voices pointing to him having been discredited by his own party.
In August and September 2014, two Spanish priests infected with the Ebola virus disease during the virus epidemic in West Africa were medically evacuated to Spain. Both patients died as a result of the disease, but a failure in infection control during the treatment of the second priest led to the infection of one of the nurses who had treated him; the case being confirmed on 6 October 2014. Health Minister Ana Mato came under heavy criticism under allegations that security protocols had not been effectively enforced and because of an alleged confusing and disorganized management of the situation. Five days after the nurse's Ebola case was confirmed, PM Mariano Rajoy handed the crisis' management to Deputy PM Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, in a move seen as critical of Mato's handling of the situation. Ana Mato would resign later in November 2014 as consequence of her involvement in the Gürtel case.
The political landscape of Spain was shaken in early 2013 by the Bárcenas affair. On 18 January 2013, Spanish daily El Mundo revealed that former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas had, up until 2009, used a slush fund to pay out monthly amounts, ranging from €5,000 to €15,000, to leading members of the party. On 31 January 2013, Spanish daily El País published what became known as the "Bárcenas' Papers", facsimile excerpts from handwritten ledgers in Bárcenas' hand. Among the recipients were incumbent party leader and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Secretary General María Dolores de Cospedal. The PP took the position that these payments were in accordance with law. Further, on 14 July 2013, El Mundo published excerpts from several SMS between Bárcenas and Rajoy from 2011 through 2013 in which Rajoy promised help to Bárcenas and gave him encouragement. The most recent of these messages was in March 2013, when the Bárcenas affair had already broke out. Under pressure from international media and opposition parties threatening him with a motion of censure, Rajoy spoke out to Congress in an extraordinary plenary session on 1 August. Rajoy denied any criminal responsibility, which he attributed solely to Bárcenas, but recognized "errors" and "having trusted the wrong person". This did not prevent the opposition bloc from demanding Rajoy's resignation, but with the PP commanding an absolute majority in parliament and with no judicial proof on Rajoy's direct involvement in the scandal, chances for a successful motion were slim.
At the same time, a corruption scandal affecting Duke of Palma Iñaki Urdangarín, the Nóos case, resulted in the charging in April 2013 of his spouse Cristina de Borbón, Infanta of Spain and daughter of King Juan Carlos I, for tax fraud and money laundering. She was summoned to court in February 2014, and in November 2014, the High Court of Palma de Mallorca upheld charges against her, paving the way for her to face trial, though only on tax fraud charges. In June 2015, King Felipe VI officially deprived his sister of her dukedom, privately announcing his intention beforehand. These corruption allegations severely eroded the Spanish Royal Family's popularity within Spain; according to an opinion poll by the CIS, between 1995 and 2013 the Spanish monarchy's approval rating had dropped from 7.5 to 3.68 on a scale of 10 amongst Spaniards.
In late 2014, the sudden emergence of several episodes of corruption that had taken place over the course of the past years and decades was compared to the Italian Tangentopoli episode in the 1990s. As a result, this episode has been dubbed by some media as 'the Spanish Tangentopoli' or 'Black October'.
- Starting in July 2014, former Catalonia President Jordi Pujol had come under investigation after he acknowledged possessing a large, undeclared, familiar fortune, with several of his sons being already under investigation on alleged tax offense charges. By October 2014, most of his family had already come under investigation under alleged money laundering, fraud, public contract kickbacks and other tax offenses.
- In early October a massive expenses scandal was unconvered involving former Caja Madrid senior executives and advisers. At least 86 bankers, politicians, officers and trade union leaders were accused of using undeclared "black" credit cards between 2003 and 2012, spending over €15 million in private expenditures. Involved was former Caja Madrid chairman between 1996 and 2009, Miguel Blesa, but also notable members from the PP, PSOE and IU parties, such as former Deputy PM, IMF Managing Director and Caja Madrid/Bankia chairman Rodrigo Rato, as well as members from Spain's main trade unions UGT and CCOO.
- In late October, judge Pablo Ruz charged former PP Secretary General and several-times Minister during José María Aznar's tenure, Ángel Acebes, with a possible misappropriation of public funds as a result of the Barcenas affair. A few days later, Ruz' inquiry on a Treasury investigation unveiled that the People's Party could have spent as much as €1.7 million of undeclared money on works of its national headquarters in Madrid between 2006 and 2008. On 27 October, a large anti-corruption operation, Operation Punica, resulted in 51 people arrested because of their involvement in a major scandal of public work contract kickbacks, amounting at least €250 million. Among those arrested were notable municipal and regional figures from both PSOE and PP, as well as a large number of politicians, councilors, officials and businessmen in the Madrid community, Murcia, Castile and León and Valencia.
On 26 November, judge Ruz summoned Health Minister Ana Mato to court after concluding she could have benefited from several corruption crimes allegedly committed by her former husband Jesús Sepúlveda, charged in the Gürtel case. As a result, Ana Mato resigned from her office that same day, defending that she had not been charged with any penal crime, but declaring that she did not want to bring further harm to her party. A Congress plenary in which Rajoy was to announce legal reforms against corruption had been scheduled for 27 November several weeks previously; the media concluded that Rajoy had forced Mato's resignation in order to prevent a complicated political situation on that day.
Catalan independence movement
On 9 November, one month before the election, the Parliament of Catalonia passed an official declaration that launched the "initiation of the process of independence of Catalonia" in a 72–63 vote with no abstentions. Two days later, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy threatened to suspend the political powers of 21 key political figures in the Catalonian independence movement if they moved forward regarding the provisions of the declaration.
The Spanish anti-austerity movement, also known as the 15-M Movement or Indignants Movement, born on the eve of the 2011 municipal and regional elections, had resulted in an increase of street protests and demonstrations calling for a more democratic governmental system, a halt to spending cuts and tax increases and an overall rejection of Spain's two-party system formed by the People's Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). After the PP's arrival to government and its subsequent breach of electoral promises as well as the emergence of corruption cases, protests intensified. Social mobilization channeled through various protest actions, such as Surround the Congress ("Rodea el Congreso"), the so-called Citizen Tides ("Mareas Ciudadanas") or the Marches for Dignity ("Marchas de la Dignidad").
Despite the PP's enormous loss of support, the main opposition party, the PSOE, remained unable to channel this social discontent and to regain lost support, with pundits hypothesizing that the memory of Zapatero's last government and its economic management remained fresh in voters' minds. A series of negative regional election results throughout 2012, coupled with an internal crisis in 2013 and the threat of rupture from the party's Catalonia partner, the PSC, further weakened the PSOE, with Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba's leadership being put in question as his popularity ratings plummeted. The crisis was temporarily settled after the party's Political Conference in November 2013, with the question on the party's leadership being initially postponed for late 2014.
All of this culminated in the 2014 European Parliament election. Claims from the ruling PP government that economic recovery was already underway did not prevent a major collapse in support for both main parties, together falling below 50% of the votes for the first time ever. This came coupled with the confirmation of a large rise in support for minor national parties that polls had partly predicted, but also a surprisingly strong performance for the new Podemos party, which from that moment, together with Citizens (C's), began to attract the support of those disaffected with both PP and PSOE, according to opinion polls. PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba resigned the day after the European election. A PSOE extraordinary conference was held, resulting in Pedro Sánchez being elected as new party leader. The election was also said to have hastened the abdication of the 39 year-reigning King Juan Carlos I, already weakened from a deteriorating health and a diminishing popularity as a result of several scandals, in favor of his son Felipe in June 2014.
Date of the election
In May 2014, the Spanish newspaper ABC published an article discussing the possibility of the government studying to delay the general election date until early 2016, supported on an ambiguous interpretation in the law of the General Courts' expiry date. In September 2014, the Spanish media Vozpópuli and El Plural reiterated the possibility that the PP government would be planning to delay the legislature as much as possible, not holding a new election until February 2016. However, the lack of a precedent and the fact that, in Spain, election day had been always considered by convention to mean the day in which the election is held, brought doubts about the legality of such an action, and this scenario was finally discarded. An opinion article published in Público on 8 December 2014 suggested that the probable date for the election would be either on 25 October or on a Sunday in November, not counting All Saints' Day.
Mirroring what happened to the PSOE four years previously, the PP suffered a spectacular debacle in the 2015 municipal and regional elections. Not only were the PP gains made in 2011 reverted, but it also lost historical party strongholds such as the Valencian Community and the cities of Madrid and Valencia to left-wing post-election coalitions. Podemos-led and/or promoted municipal platforms, together with allies, enjoyed huge success at the local level, being able to reach power in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, A Coruña, Ferrol, Santiago de Compostela or Cádiz among others. PSOE results were mixed, as while it lost ground compared to the already negative results of 2011, it was able to recover much lost territorial power thanks to post-electoral agreements with other parties. C's also made notable gains, entering in most autonomous communities' parliaments and main cities' councils, holding the key to government in many of them.
After the municipal and regional elections, it was suggested that the general election would presumably be held on either 22 or 29 November. However, once it was confirmed in June 2015 that the 2016 Budget would be passed into law before the Cortes' dissolution, it was strongly implied that election day would have to be delayed until December to allow for completion of the budgetary parliamentary procedure, with 13 and 20 December being chosen as the most likely days. During an interview on 1 October, Rajoy announced that the election would be held on 20 December, the latest possible legal date to hold it.
|26 October 2015||The Council of Ministers convenes to approve the decree ordering the Cortes Generales' dissolution and the calling of the general election on the advice of the Prime Minister. Subsequently, the decree is ratified by the King.|
|27 October 2015||The decree enters into force by its publication in the BOE. Parliament is officially dissolved and the general election is called. Official start of the electoral period.|
|6 November 2015||Deadline for parties intending to contest the election in coalition with other parties to communicate it to the appropriate electoral boards.|
|11–16 November 2015||Time limit for parties intending to contest the election to submit their candidacies to the Electoral Board.|
|18 November 2015||Submitted candidacies are provisionally published in the BOE.|
|21 November 2015||Deadline for Spanish electors residing abroad to apply for voting.|
|21–25 November 2015||Sweepstakes to appoint members of the polling stations.|
|24 November 2015||Candidacies for parties, coalitions and groups of voters standing for election are proclaimed and published in the BOE after a period of notification and amendment of possible irregularities in 20–22 November 2015.|
|4 December 2015||Official start of the electoral campaign at 00:00 CET (UTC+01:00).|
|10 December 2015||Deadline for electors residing in Spain to apply for postal voting.|
|15–19 December 2015||Legal ban on opinion polling publication in Spanish territory.|
|18 December 2015||Official end of the electoral campaign at 24:00 CET (UTC+01:00).|
|19 December 2015||Reflection day.|
|20 December 2015||Election Day. Polls open from 09:00 CET to 20:00 CET. Provisional vote count officially starting from 21:00 CET. From this day, the incumbent government assumes caretaker functions until a new government is formed.|
|13 January 2016|| The elected Congress and Senate convene.
The PP chose to continue its electoral alliance with PAR under which it had already won the general election in Aragon in 2011. In Asturias, an alliance with FAC—former PP member Francisco Álvarez Cascos' party—was reached. Hastened by FAC vote collapsing in the 2015 regional election, this was the first time both parties contested an election together since Cascos' party split in 2011. An accord with UPN was also reached, after a period of negotiations in which the regional party had considered to contest the general election on its own in Navarre. For the Senate, the PP also aligned itself with the Fuerteventura Municipal Assemblies (AMF) to contest the election in the Senate district of Fuerteventura.
Meanwhile, the PSOE and NCa both announced they would contest the general election together in the Canary Islands. NCa had already contested the 2008 and 2011 elections before: in 2008 they stood alone and won no seats, while in 2011 they won 1 seat as a result of an alliance with CC, alliance which they chose not to continue in 2015. Extremaduran Coalition and United Extremadura broke up their coalitions with both PSOE and PP, respectively, and chose to contest the general together under a single joint list, Extremeños (Spanish for "Extremadurans").
In order to contest the general election, Podemos set up an extensive alliance system in several autonomous communities with other parties. After the negative results of the Catalunya Sí que es Pot alliance in the September Catalan election, Podemos and ICV–EUiA reached an agreement with Barcelona en Comú—Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau's party—to form a joint list to contest the general election in Catalonia: En Comú Podem (Catalan for In Common We Can). The coalition was aimed at mirroring Colau's success in the 2015 Barcelona local election at Catalan level; if successful, it was planned to be maintained permanently for future electoral contests. In Galicia, Podemos, Anova and EU merged into the En Marea ticket (Spanish for In Tide). Such a coalition, which represented a qualitative leap from the AGE coalition in the 2012 Galician election, was aimed at channeling the results of the local "mareas" ("tides") that succeeded throughout Galicia's largest cities in the May municipal elections. The coalition also received support from those local alliances, such as Marea Atlántica, Compostela Aberta or Ferrol en Común.
For the Valencian Community, the És el moment alliance (Valencian for It is time) was created as a result of the agreement between Podemos and Compromís, with a strong role from Valencian deputy premier Mònica Oltra. EUPV had also entered talks to enter the alliance, but left after disagreements with both Podemos and Compromís during negotiations. Additionally, Podemos was to contest the general election in the province of Huesca alongside segments of Now in Common within the "Ahora Alto Aragón en Común" coalition (Spanish for Now Upper Aragon in Common). In Navarre, all four Podemos, Geroa Bai, EH Bildu and I-E coalesced under the Cambio-Aldaketa umbrella for the Senate, aiming at disputing first place regionally to the UPN-PP alliance. The agreement was not extended to the Congress election, where all four parties ran separately.
In Catalonia and Galicia, IU–UPeC did not contest the election as such. The respective regional United Left branches joined En Marea and En Comú Podem, which supported Podemos at the national level. While a nationwide coalition between Podemos and IU had been considered, Podemos did not wish to assume IU's internal issues, and United Left candidate Alberto Garzón had refused to leave IU to integrate Podemos' lists. On the other hand, environmentalist party Equo was successful at reaching an agreement with Podemos, accepting to renounce their label and integrating themselves within Podemos' lists.
After the dissolution of the CiU federation in Catalonia, CDC joined Democrats of Catalonia and Reagrupament within the Democracy and Freedom alliance after the failure of talks with Republican Left of Catalonia to continue the Together for Yes coalition for the general election. CDC's former ally, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida's UDC, chose to contest the election alone despite losing its parliamentary presence in the Parliament of Catalonia after the 2015 regional election.
Parties, leaders and slogans
|People's Party (PP)||Mariano Rajoy||"Spain seriously"|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||Pedro Sánchez|
|United Left–Popular Unity in Common (IU–UPeC)||Alberto Garzón||"For a new country"|
|Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)||Andrés Herzog||"More Spain"|
|We Can (Podemos)||Pablo Iglesias||"A country with you"|
|In Common We Can (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||Xavier Domènech||"The change does not stop"|
|It is time (Podemos–Compromís)||Joan Baldoví||"It is just time"|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||Alexandra Fernández||"To change everything, so that nothing remains the same"|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||Albert Rivera||"Vote with hope"|
|Democracy and Freedom (DiL)||Francesc Homs|| "|
|Democratic Union of Catalonia (unio.cat)||Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida||"Solutions!"|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||Marian Beitialarrangoitia||"Join the decision"|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||Aitor Esteban||"First the Basque Country. It is what matters"|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||Gabriel Rufián||"Defend your vote"|
|Us–Galician Candidacy (Nós)||Carlos Callón||"The strength of our people"|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||Ana Oramas||"Fight for Canaries"|
The first debate was organized by the Demos Association and held in the Charles III University of Madrid on 27 November. The leaders of the four main parties were invited, but in the end only Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera attended. The debate was broadcast live on Youtube.
The second debate was held on 30 November. Organized by El País newspaper, it was broadcast live entirely through the websites of El País and Cinco Días, the Cadena SER radio station and on the 13 TV television channel. Pedro Sánchez, as well as Iglesias and Rivera, attended the debate. Mariano Rajoy (PP) was also invited to the debate but declined the offer. According to the organizer, PP proposed the presence of Deputy PM Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría instead but it was refused, as she "was not the PP candidate for PM". A poll conducted online immediately after the debate by El País to its readers showed Iglesias winning with 47.0%, followed by Rivera with 28.9% and Sánchez with 24.1%.
A third, televised debate was organized by Atresmedia, held on 7 December and broadcast live simultaneously on its Antena 3 and laSexta TV channels and on the Onda Cero radio station. Rajoy had also been invited to the debate, but the PP announced that Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría would attend in his place instead. The audience for the debate averaged 9.2 million, peaking at more than 10 million. Online polls conducted immediately after the debate by major newspapers coincided in showing Iglesias winning, while political pundits and journalists pointed on his strong performance.
A fourth, final debate, organized by the TV Academy, was held on 14 December. The signal of the debate was offered to all interested media. Among others, nationwide TV channels La 1, Canal 24 Horas, Antena 3, laSexta and 13 TV broadcast the debate live. Iglesias and Rivera were not invited to the debate, with only Rajoy and Sánchez participating. The audience for the debate averaged 9.7 million. A poll conducted by Atresmedia immediately after the debate showed 34.5% saying that "None of them" won, followed by Sánchez with 33.7%, Rajoy with 28.8% and "Both" with 3.0%.
|Spanish general election debates, 2015|
|Name Invited Participant. N Non-invitee. A Absent invitee.|
|1||27 November||UC3M||Carlos Alsina||A||A||Iglesias||Rivera||Broadcast live on YouTube. PP and PSOE were also invited, but none confirmed their attendance.|
|2||30 November||El País||Carlos de Vega||A||Sánchez||Iglesias||Rivera||Mariano Rajoy was also invited but declined the offer. The PP proposed the presence of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría instead but it was rejected.|
|3||7 December||Atresmedia||Ana Pastor
|Santamaría||Sánchez||Iglesias||Rivera||Mariano Rajoy was also invited to the debate, but it was announced that Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría would attend in his place instead.|
|4||14 December||TV Academy||Manuel Campo
|Rajoy||Sánchez||N||N||Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera were not invited.|
- Opinion polls
7 December debate
|Polling firm/Link|| Sample
|Redondo & Asociados||600||30.7||16.4||23.9||22.0|
14 December debate
|Polling firm/Link|| Sample
Opinion polls heading into the campaign had shown the PP firmly in first position, with both PSOE and C's tied for second place and Podemos trailing in fourth. However, as the campaign started and election day neared, Podemos numbers had begun to rebound while C's slipped. Podemos centered its campaign around the slogan of "remontada" (Spanish for "comeback"), trying to convey voters a message of illusion and optimism. After the Atresmedia televised debate on 7 December—in which Iglesias was said to have outperformed all other three with his final address—and following a series of gaffes by C's leaders that had affected their party's campaign, Podemos experienced a surge in opinion polls. By Monday 14 December it had reached a statistical tie with C's, and kept growing and approaching the PSOE, vying for second place, in the polls conducted—but unpublished by Spanish media—after the legal ban on opinion polls during the last week of campaigning had entered into force. On 18 December, the final day of campaigning, Podemos staged a massive rally in la Fonteta arena in Valencia, in support of the Compromís–Podemos–És el moment coalition and as the closing point of their campaign. With a capacity of over 9,000 people, 2,000 were left outside as the interior was entirely filled. It was noted by some media as a remarkable feat, as the PSOE had been unable to entirely fill the same place just a few days earlier on 13 December.
The most notable incident during the electoral campaign was an attack on Mariano Rajoy during a campaign event in Pontevedra on 16 December. At 18:50, while walking with Development Minister Ana Pastor in the vicinity of the Pilgrim Church, a 17-year-old approached him and punched him in the temple. The assailant was restrained by the Prime Minister's security guards and was subsequently transferred to the police station in the city. Rajoy, who was red-faced and stunned for a few seconds, continued to walk without his glasses, broken during the assault. The assailant turned out to be related to Rajoy's wife, as he was the son of a cousin of Elvira Fernández, and also a member of a family known for sympathizing with the People's Party.
The following day, Rajoy attended an European Council meeting in Brussels, where Angela Merkel and other European leaders approached him showing their support to him after the assault. During the meeting a camera recorded Rajoy, Merkel and other leaders discussing the electoral prospects of Spanish parties. Rajoy revealed to them that, according to PP internal opinion polls, Podemos was rising quickly and approaching the PSOE, to the point that there was the possibility of it becoming the second political force of the country. Merkel expressed concern about such an event.
Congress of Deputies
|People's Party (PP)||7,236,965||28.71||–16.33||123||–64|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||5,545,315||22.00||–6.76||90||–20|
|We Can–In Common–Commitment–In Tide (Podemos)||5,212,711||20.68||New||69||+65|
|We Can (Podemos)||3,198,584||12.69||New||42||+42|
|In Common We Can (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||929,880||3.69||+2.54||12||+9|
|It is time (Podemos–Compromís)||673,549||2.67||+2.17||9||+8|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||410,698||1.63||+1.31||6||+6|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||3,514,528||13.94||New||40||+40|
|United Left–Popular Unity in Common (IU–UPeC)||926,783||3.68||–1.81||2||–6|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||601,782||2.39||+1.33||9||+6|
|Democracy and Freedom: Convergence–Democrats–Realignment (DiL)||567,253||2.25||–1.92||8||–8|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||302,316||1.20||–0.13||6||+1|
|Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA)||220,369||0.87||+0.45||0||±0|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||219,125||0.87||–0.50||2||–5|
|Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD)||155,153||0.62||–4.08||0||–5|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||81,917||0.32||–0.27||1||–1|
|Us–Galician Candidacy (Nós)||70,863||0.28||–0.48||0||–2|
|Democratic Union of Catalonia (unio.cat)||65,388||0.26||New||0||±0|
|Zero Cuts–Green Group (Recortes Cero–GV)||48,675||0.19||New||0||±0|
|More for Majorca (Més)||33,877||0.13||±0.00||0||±0|
|Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE)||31,179||0.12||+0.01||0||±0|
|Yes to the Future (GBai)||30,642||0.12||–0.05||0||–1|
|Parties with less than 0.1% of the vote||100,226||0.40||—||0||±0|
|Proposal for the Isles (El PI)||12,910||0.05||New||0||±0|
|Citizens of Democratic Centre (CCD)||10,827||0.04||+0.04||0||±0|
|Blank Seats (EB)||10,084||0.04||–0.36||0||±0|
|Spanish Falange of the JONS (FE–JONS)||7,495||0.03||+0.02||0||±0|
|For the Left–The Greens (X Izda)||7,314||0.03||New||0||±0|
|We Are Valencian (SOMVAL)||6,103||0.02||New||0||±0|
|For a Fairer World (PUM+J)||4,586||0.02||–0.09||0||±0|
|Internationalist Solidarity and Self-Management (SAIn)||4,400||0.02||–0.01||0||±0|
|The Greens–Ecopacifists (Centro Moderado)||3,278||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Land Party (PT)||3,026||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Canaries Decides (LV–UP–ALTER)||2,883||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Libertarian Party (P-LIB)||2,854||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Humanist Party (PH)||2,846||0.01||–0.03||0||±0|
|Now, Valencian Country (Ara PV)||2,503||0.01||New||0||±0|
|United Extremadura–Extremadurans (EU–eX)||2,021||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Spanish Communist Workers' Party (PCOE)||1,909||0.01||New||0||±0|
|National Democracy (DN)||1,704||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|Feminist Initiative (IFem)||1,604||0.01||New||0||±0|
|Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (PREPAL)||1,419||0.01||±0.00||0||±0|
|In Positive (En Positiu)||1,276||0.01||New||0||±0|
|United Free Citizens (CILUS)||1,189||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Grouped Rural Citizens (CRA)||1,032||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Navarrese Freedom (Ln)||1,026||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Forward Valencians (Avant)||1,003||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Málaga for Yes (mlgXSÍ)||934||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Family and Life Party (PFyV)||714||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Andalusians of Jaén United (AJU)||711||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Aragon Independents' Federation (FIA)||676||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Democratic Forum (FDEE)||456||0.00||New||0||±0|
|To Solution (Soluciona)||409||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Social Justice, Citizen Participation (JS,PC)||406||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Death to the System (+MAS+)||313||0.00||±0.00||0||±0|
|Liberal Party of the Right (PLD)||205||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Welcome (Ongi Etorri)||110||0.00||New||0||±0|
|Votes cast / turnout||25,438,532||69.67||+0.73|
|Source: Ministry of the Interior|
|Won||+/−||Not up||Total seats|
|People's Party (PP)||124||–12||21||145|
|Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)||47||–7||20||67|
|We Can–In Common–Commitment–In Tide (Podemos)||16||+15||7||23|
|We Can (Podemos)||9||+9||4||13|
|In Common We Can (Podemos–BComú–ICV–EUiA)||4||+3||1||5|
|It is time (Podemos–Compromís)||1||+1||2||3|
|In Tide (Podemos–En Marea–Anova–EU)||2||+2||—||2|
|Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (C's)||0||±0||3||3|
|Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí)||6||+6||2||8|
|Democracy and Freedom (DiL)||6||–1||2||8|
|Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV)||6||+2||1||7|
|Basque Country Unite (EH Bildu)||0||–3||1||1|
|Canarian Coalition–Canarian Nationalist Party (CC–PNC)||1||±0||1||2|
|Gomera Socialist Group (ASG)||1||+1||—||1|
|Democratic Union of Catalonia (unio.cat)||0||–2||—||0|
The election results produced the most fragmented parliament in recent Spanish history. As opinion polls had predicted, the People's Party (PP) was able to secure first place with a clear lead over its rivals, but it lost the absolute majority it had held since 2011 in the Congress of Deputies. Its 123 seat-count was the worst result ever obtained by a winning party in a Spanish general election—previously been 156 seats in 1996. Its result was also slightly below the party's expected goal of reaching 30% of the vote. The party's net loss of seats (64 fewer than in 2011) and vote share drop (minus 16 percentage points) was the PP largest fall in popular support in its history, as well as the worst showing for a sitting government in Spain since 1982. Overall, it was also the worst result obtained by the PP in a general election since 1989, back to the party's refoundation from the People's Alliance.
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) obtained its worst election result in recent history, with just 22% of the total party vote and 90 seats, well below of Pedro Sánchez's target of at least 100 seats. Losing 20 seats and nearly 7 percentage points to its already negative 2011 result, this was the first time since the Spanish transition to democracy that one of the two largest parties fell below the 100-seat mark. Overall, while able to hold on to its second place nationally in terms of votes and seats, it lost the second and first place to Podemos in 8 out of the 17 autonomous communities, and finished a poor fourth in Madrid, the capital's district. It was able to narrowly win in Andalusia and Extremadura—which it had resoundly lost to the PP in 2011—thanks to the PP vote collapse in those regions, but it lost in Barcelona for the first time ever in a general election, and its sister party, the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), was reduced to third party status in Catalonia after decades of political dominance.
The combined results for the top two parties was also the worst for any general election held since 1977, gathering just 51% of the total party vote and 213 seats, just slighly above the required 3/5 majority for an ordinary constitutional reform. The result was regarded as a loss for bipartisanship in Spain as a whole, as the era of bipartisan politics was declared officially over by newcomers Podemos and Citizens, as well as by both national and international media.
Podemos, which contested a general election for the first time after having being founded in January 2014, obtained an unprecedented 21% of the vote and 69 seats together with its regional alliances, the best result ever obtained by a third party in a Spanish election. Coming short by just 340,000 votes of securing its campaign goal of becoming the main left-wing party in Spain, it managed to secure second place in 6 out of the 17 autonomous communities and came out on top in another two—the Basque Country and Catalonia. This result was way ahead of what initial pre-campaign and campaign opinion polls had predicted, and was in line with a late-campaign surge in support for the party. Citizens (C's) also had a strong performance for a national party in Spain, but its fourth place, 14% of the share and 40 seats were considered a letdown for party leader Albert Rivera, mainly as a consequence of the high expectations that had been generated around his candidacy. Pre-election opinion polls had placed C's near or above 20% of the vote share, and many also suggested a strong possibility of C's disputing second place to PSOE. Finally, it only came ahead of either PSOE or PP in Madrid and Catalonia. The party also found itself in a weaker political position than predicted, as the "kingmaker" position that was thought to go to C's under opinion polling projections finally went to PSOE, with the Congress' fragmentation resulting from the election meaning that neither the PP–C's nor the PSOE–Podemos–IU blocs would be able to command a majority on their own.
|Candidate: Pedro Sánchez|
|Yes||PSOE (89), C's (40), NC (1)|| |
130 / 350
|No|| PP (119), Podemos–ECP–Marea (65), ERC (9), DiL (8), PNV (6),
Compromís (4), IU–UPeC (2), EHB (2), UPN (2), FAC (1), Ind. (1)
219 / 350
|Abstentions||CC (1)|| |
1 / 350
|Source: Historia Electoral|
|Candidate: Pedro Sánchez|
|Yes||PSOE (89), C's (40), CC (1), NC (1)|| |
131 / 350
|No|| PP (119), Podemos–ECP–Marea (65), ERC (9), DiL (8), PNV (6),
Compromís (4), IU–UPeC (2), EHB (2), UPN (2), FAC (1), Ind. (1)
219 / 350
0 / 350
|Source: Historia Electoral|
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- "24M: PP total collapse in a political map marked by leftist pacts" (in Spanish). Huffington Post. 2015-05-25.
- "Rajoy works with the days 22 or 29 November for the general election". Europa Press. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
- "Rajoy plans to call the general election for 22 or 29 November". Europa Press. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
- "Budget approval may delay the general election until 13 December" (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. Retrieved 2015-08-04.
- "Rajoy announces that the general election will be on 20 December" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
- "Rajoy sets the longest period of democracy without a general election" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
- "Milestones of the electoral calendar for the 20 December general election" (in Spanish). El Confidencial. 2015-10-26.
- "Organic Law 5/1985, of 19 June, of the General Electoral Regime" (in Spanish). boe.es. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- "Rajoy and Aliaga sign the PP-PAR coalition for the election" (in Spanish). Heraldo. 2015-11-05.
- "Rajoy announces that the PP will contest the general election in coalition with Cascos' party" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-11-05.
- "UPN and PP will contest the next general election together" (in Spanish). Diario de Navarra. 2015-10-30.
- "PP and AMF renew their alliance to contest the Senate election in Fuerteventura" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-11-13.
- "PSOE to contest the election with New Canaries" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-10-18.
- "United Extremadura and Extremadurans agree on a coalition to contest the general election together" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-11-12.
- "Ada Colau imposes Pablo Iglesias her candidate and the "En Comú" label before Podemos' name" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-10-29.
- "Pablo Iglesias and Ada Colau look to seal a permanent coalition in Catalonia after 20-D" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-12-01.
- "Podemos, Anova and EU register the En Marea coalition" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-11-07.
- "Podemos and Compromís reach agreement for 20-D in Valencia" (in Spanish). Público. 2015-11-06.
- "Compromís imposes its name in the agreement with Podemos" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-11-07.
- "Compromís and Podemos will contest the 20D in coalition without EUPV" (in Spanish). La Vanguardia. 2015-11-06.
- "Now in Common and Podemos will contest the general election with a joint list for Huesca" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-10-17.
- "Podemos and EH Bildu agree in Navarre to run in a joint list to the Senate" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-11-02.
- "The candidates of the 'cuatripartito' want for the "voice of change in Navarre" to be heard in Madrid" (in Spanish). Noticias de Navarra. 2015-11-06.
- "Alberto Garzón does not want to be the gravedigger and Pablo Iglesias does not want to be the nurse" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-10-06.
- "Uralde emerges as head of Podemos and Equo list in the Basque Country for the general election" (in Spanish). eldiario.es. 2015-10-06.
- "CDC will contest the election under the Democracy and Freedom label" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-11-06.
- "CDC and ERC make it official they will go separate ways for 20-D" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-10-30.
- "Duran Lleida will repeat as candidate amid Unió crisis" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-10-19.
- "Between the campaign start and the war on terror" (in Spanish). Actuall. 2015-11-29.
- ""A future for the majority", PSOE campaign slogan" (in Spanish). EFE. 2015-12-01.
- ""A President for the majority", new PSOE slogan" (in Spanish). ABC. 2015-12-09.
- "UPyD reveals its political project for the upcoming election" (in Spanish). Albacete Capital. 2015-11-28.
- "Podemos reveals its campaign slogal: "A country with you"" (in Spanish). Expansión. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "'En Comú Podem' reveals its "The change does not stop" slogan and assures that "the real goal is to win the election"" (in Catalan). `Directe.cat. 2015-12-03.
- "Pablo Iglesias and Ada Colau will close the Compromís-Podemos campaign in Valencia" (in Spanish). Expansión. 2015-12-02.
- "PP and UPyD appeal to "Spain" in their campaign slogans, PSOE offers "future" and Citizens "hope"" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-12-02.
- "Citizens hardens its speech against PP and PSOE: "Sometimes they seem pathetic"" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-11-22.
- ""Possible", slogan of Democracy and Freedom" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-12-01.
- "Union reveals the slogan "Solutions!" for the general election" (in Spanish). Expansión. 2015-11-30.
- "PNV, EH Bildu and Podemos will open their campaigns in Vitoria, and PSE, PP and IU in Bilbao" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-12-02.
- "Pistol shot to the 20-D electoral campaign, the most open and dynamic in recent years" (in Spanish). RTVE. 2015-12-03.
- "Iglesias and Rivera will attend a debate before university students to which Rajoy and Sánchez are also invited" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-11-05.
- "Spain to Debate" (in Spanish). Asociación Demos. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "The first digital debate of democracy, on day 30" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-11-06.
- "Sánchez, Rivera and Iglesias, protagonists of the first electoral debate on Internet on the next 30 November" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-11-12.
- "EL PAÍS did not accept Santamaría in its debate with party leaders" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-11-25.
- "The winner of the debate and mentions between candidates" (in Spanish). El País. 2015-11-30.
- "ATRESMEDIA makes history again with the most expected debate by citizens with the four main parties on 7D" (in Spanish). laSexta. 2015-11-24.
- "'The Decisive Debate', the most watched broadcast of the year on TV with 9.2 million viewers (48.2%)" (in Spanish). Vertele.com. 2015-12-08.
- "Pablo Iglesias, winner of Atresmedia's 'decisive debate'" (in Spanish). El Huffington Post. 2015-12-08.
- "Soraya 'decisive' and Iglesias moral winner" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-12-08.
- "El Español ratings: Iglesias (7) wins and Sánchez (5.3) ranks fourth" (in Spanish). El Español. 2015-12-08.
- "The PP admits privately that Pablo Iglesias won the debate" (in Spanish). Cadena SER. 2015-12-08.
- "La Sexta gives the edge in the "bipartisan debate" aired on 13 channels" (in Spanish). El Huffington Post. 2015-12-14.
- "Rajoy and Sánchez will debate face-to-face on 14 December" (in Spanish). Levante-EMV. 2015-11-24.
- "The Rajoy-Sánchez debate, the most watched broadcast of the year with 9.7 millions and victory of laSexta" (in Spanish). Vertele.com. 2015-12-15.
- "Atresmedia poll: 34.5% vote "none of them" candidates has won" (in Spanish). Antena3.com. 2015-12-15.
- "Podemos arrives to the election in an euphoria state after a successful "comeback" campaign" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 2015-12-19.
- "Pablo Iglesias excels in his final debate address with a blunt message: "Yes we can"" (in Spanish). La Información. 2015-12-07.
- "Citizens recognizes strategic mistakes in the 20-D campaign" (in Spanish). El País. 2016-01-08.
- "Podemos' "comeback" won it (and the PP)" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-12-20.
- "Podemos and Compromís fill 'la Fonteta'" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-12-18.
- "'La Fonteta' is left small for the central rally of Compromís-Podemos" (in Spanish). ABC. 2015-12-18.
- "Pablo Iglesias sells out all tickets in the place that Pedro Sánchez could not fill in Valencia" (in Spanish). ABC. 2015-12-16.
- "A teen punches Mariano Rajoy in a street of Pontevedra" (in Spanish). Cadena SER. 2015-12-16.
- "Rajoy, assaulted with a punch in his face by a minor during a walk in Pontevedra" (in Spanish). La Sexta. 2015-12-16.
- "The youngster that assaulted Rajoy, son of a cousin of Viri, the Prime Minister's wife" (in Spanish). 20minutos. 2015-12-17.
- "Rajoy, wrapped by Merkel and Cameron in Brussels after the assault" (in Spanish). La Sexta. 2015-12-17.
- "Rajoy explains Merkel that Podemos can end up in second place" (in Spanish). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2015-12-18.
- "The PP trusts in reaching 30% despite the attack's management and corruption" (in Spanish). La Información. 2015-12-13.
- "The PSOE lowers its poor target for 20D ahead of the coming disaster" (in Spanish). esdiario. 2015-12-09.
- "Spain entombs bipartisanship and leaves government in the air" (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2015-12-20.
- "Spain's general election weakens decades of bipartisan hegemony". Financial Times. 2015-12-21.
- "Spanish election: national newcomers end era of two-party dominance". The Guardian. 2015-12-21.
- "Citizens' expectations are diluted in the polls" (in Spanish). laSexta. 2015-12-20.
- "Why Citizens did not meet expectations" (in Spanish). El Español. 2015-12-22.
- Media related to Spanish general election, 2015 at Wikimedia Commons