The Challenges of the New Spanish Multipartism: Government Formation Failure and the 2016 General Election Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2016

start page

  • 493

end page

  • 517


  • 4


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1360-8746

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9612


  • The 2016 general election was the result of the incapacity of Spanish political parties to agree on the formation of a government following the previous parliamentary election six months earlier. The paper begins by examining how and why this process failed, focusing on institutional and contextual factors, especially those related to the emergence of Podemos and Ciudadanos in the Spanish political arena. Also explained are the negotiation strategies of the different parties, the electoral campaign and the results of the subsequent 2016 general election. These results show that, on the right, most vote changes went from Ciudadanos to the Popular Party while, in the case of the new pre-electoral coalition of UP, former Izquierda Unida voters were more prone to desert.


  • government formation; polarisation; party system change; podemos; ciudadanos; psoe; pp; democracies; spain