就在西班牙各全国性政党陷入政治僵局之际，在GDP占全国20%的加泰罗尼亚地区，独立派政党则有可能凭借在议会中的多数席位，力求实现该地区独立的目标。“一起说要”（Junts pel Sí）联盟赢得了9月27日的地区选举，并以其领导人Artur Mas不再出任政府领导人为代价，得到了左翼独立政党CUP的支持。
英文原文：Dynamic economy, log-jammed politics
The Spanish economy is likely to suffer from slowing growth in certain emerging markets. However, it retains numerous strengths. Record corporate profitability, advantageous financial conditions and the need to renew the capital stock are likely to boost investment. Job creation and purchasing power gains are also likely to continue to help support consumer spending. The transformation of the Spanish political landscape after the general election of 20 December 2015 does, however, raise questions as to the direction of the country's future economic policy.
Spanish growth is likely to lose some of its sparkle over the next few quarters. The country, which is highly export-orientated1 and which diversified its markets by increasing exports to Asia （9.2% of exports of goods in Q3 2015, from 6.3% in 2007） and Latin America, will suffer from slower growth in these regions.
A dynamic economy
Spain nevertheless retains a number of strengths and is likely to see relatively strong growth, of 3.1% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. Companies are winning market share and thus reaping the rewards of many years' efforts to increase competitiveness. They are also benefiting from the weak euro and the good resilience of eurozone demand, particularly in France and Germany, the country’s main trading partners （15.5% and 10.5% respectively of exports of goods, see Figure 1）. According to a Markit survey, the index of foreign orders addressed to manufacturing companies rose slightly in the fourth quarter （to an average of 54.8, from 52 in Q3 2015）.
More advantageous financial conditions, as a result of ECB monetary policy, and the need to renew the capital stock are likely to boost investment. The contraction of commodity prices is also likely to help boost the already strong margins of Spanish companies. These factors, coupled with a slight increase in real estate prices since the beginning of 2015, could also offer support to investment in construction, which is still far below the levels seen before the crisis in 2008 （Q3 2015 was nearly 45% down on Q2 2007）.
Against this background, companies are likely to continue to hire new staff. European Commission surveys and the PMI indices suggest that the rate of job creation is likely to remain strong, particularly in the service sector. Employment in the construction sector, which collapsed by 1.8 million during the crisis and weighed heavily on the Spanish economy, is also likely to continue to show signs of improvement. This trend will support consumer spending, which will also benefit from the absence of inflation. In December 2015 prices even fell slightly （0.1% over a year） in response to the further fall in oil prices.
Spain has managed to achieve dynamic growth and remove the threat of a sovereign debt crisis, albeit at the cost of harsh austerity measures. The budget deficit was probably 4.6% of GDP in 2015, having peaked at 10.4% in 2012. It could fall to about 4% of GDP in 2016. However, these improvements have not been enough to dispel the discontent of the many Spaniards still suffering persistent difficulties. In the third quarter of 2015 GDP was still 4.5% below the previous peak in the second quarter of 2008, whilst unemployment was nearly 14 points higher than in the spring of 2007 （at 21.6% in October, from 26.2% in Q1 2013） despite the creation of nearly 550,000 jobs since the winter of 2014. Wage moderation and the deterioration in the quality of employment have also played their part. Nearly 15% of employees worked part-time in the third quarter （from 11.6% in 2007）.
As a result, Spain finds itself in a political log-jam following the general election on 20 December 2015. The right-of-centre People’s Party （PP）, which won most votes in the election, is unable to govern alone. Despite winning 28.7% of the general vote, it has only 123 seats of the 350-seat Congress. However, no coalition has yet taken shape. The PP cannot count on Ciudadanos, which placed fourth in the election with 13.9% of the vote but only 40 seats. A grand coalition of the left also currently looks unlikely. The main left- of-centre parties, PSOE （Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party）, with 22% of votes and 90 seats, and the radical left Podemos （12.7% and 42 seats） disagree about the policy to follow with regard to Catalonia. Without prejudging the outcome, Podemos favours an independence referendum, whilst PSOE is firmly committed to the continued unity of Spain. For a grand coalition of the left to have a majority （176 seats）, PSOE would have to form alliances with a large number of smaller parties, including the Basque separatists.
A coalition between PP and PSOE would allow Spain to pursue the policies adopted so far. Such an alliance would, however, require both parties to overcome their reluctance. Spain's Francoist past has left a deep fissure between the PP and PSOE. Moreover, the parties would be unlikely to draw any long-term benefits from such a coalition. The recent elections showed that Spaniards want to bring to an end the hegemony of the traditional parties. In particular, left- leaning voters could move to Podemos in greater numbers if PSOE propped up the PP.
Thus a minority government by the PP looks the most likely outcome. The outgoing Prime Minister could form a new government on the basis of a simple majority of votes in the second round investiture vote in Congress2. Only Ciudadanos has already indicated that it will abstain from the investiture vote, but the rise in support for Podemos shortly before the elections could lead PSOE to reconsider its support, albeit only implicit, for the PP. If no government is invested within two months of the first investiture vote, which is expected later in January, Spain will have to call new elections. If a minority government were to be elected it would certainly be unstable. The PP could only legislate with the votes of political opponents and would therefore have little room for manoeuvre in governing.
This national impasse comes at a time when independence parties, with the majority of seats in the Parliament, will be able to pursue the goal of independence for Catalonia, which represents nearly 20% of total Spanish GDP. The “Junts pel Sí” （Together for Yes） coalition, which combines several independence parties, topped the regional elections on 27 September and managed to secure the backing of the extreme left independence party, Candidatura d’Unitat Popular （CUP）, in exchange for agreement not to re-appoint Artur Mas, leader of Junts pel Sí, as the head of the Catalan government. This centre-right politician has been associated with the austerity measures introduced in Catalonia in recent years, as well as with corruption scandals that have damaged the reputation of his party. This process is only a first stage on the road to an independence referendum in Catalonia. It could lead various stakeholders to begin negotiations, and will certainly feed into the political debate over the coming months.
Spain will need to meet a number of challenges without imperilling the public finances of a government with a high level of debt （99.3% of GDP in 2014）. All political parties will therefore be pushed to find compromise and ease austerity policies, without completely taking the foot off the brake.
1 Between 2007 and 2015, the weight of exports in total Spanish GDP rose from 26% to nearly 33%.