Big election debate on Spanish National TV

by Lorraine Williamson
live political debate

MADRID – RTVE is organising a seven-party debate that will be broadcast on Thursday (tonight) at 10.00 pm. The participating parties all have their parliamentary group in the Congress of Deputies. 

The following politicians will participate in the debate:

  • Patxi López (PSOE)
  • Cuca Gamarra (PP)
  • Iván Espinosa de los Monteros (Vox)
  • Aina Vidal (Sumar)
  • Gabriel Rufián (ERC)
  • Aitor Esteban (PNV)
  • Oskar Matute (E. H. Bildu)

The seven-party debate will be broadcast live on La 1, the 24-Hour Channel, TVE International, Radio Nacional, Radio 5, Radio Exterior, the website and the RTVE Play platform. 

This is the second televised debate after last Monday’s face-to-face between the socialist candidate and prime minister, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) and the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. It became, writes, a debate full of arguments and with a lack of proposals. 

Tonight the parliamentary spokespersons of the main parties will have 125 minutes to discuss their programs and ideological positions against those of other parties. The debate is divided into four thematic blocks:

  • economics
  • social policy
  • territorial politics
  • state and post-electoral pacts

The presenter and moderator is Xabier Fortes. 

In addition to this big debate, RTVE will hold the decisive debate on Wednesday, July 19, four days before the elections, with Pedro Sánchez and Vox candidates, Santiago Abascal, and Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, without Feijóo, as the PP has refused to participate.

The important role of possible pacts 

Everything indicates that the agreements will also become the main electoral weapon in this debate. Also, the only weapon constantly used by PSOE and PP to criticise each other. On the one hand, there is Vox, which has had to make agreements in municipalities and autonomous regions with the PP to govern together. On the other hand, it concerns ERC and Bildu, parties that are criticised by the right-wing and far-right parties for their parliamentary pacts with the PSOE. 

Cogesa Expats

Further, tonight’s debate is likely to be heated by these pacts, as well as economic governance and issues such as equality, gender violence and even ETA. These already emerged in the face-to-face between Sánchez and Feijóo and still occupy a prominent place in this first campaign week. 

PP and Vox will also compare their positions. For weeks, on the one hand, the parties have concluded government agreements in the Valencia region, Extremadura and in more than 140 municipalities. And, on the other hand, they have constantly attacked each other. 

Feijóo emphasises the importance of having enough useful votes so that his party can form a broad majority and does not need Vox to govern. However, he does indicate that if necessary, he will ask Abascal. Abascal, in turn, criticises the PP for offering the PSOE a pact so that the list with the most votes can rule. Vox says that only with his party will “the true abolition of ‘Sanchism'” take place. 

ERC has already said in the campaign that if her vote is indispensable for Sánchez to rule, she will “raise the price”. Like PNV and Bildu, ERC considers the risk of “relapse” “enormous” if PP and Vox were to rule. The three formations never miss an opportunity to shoot at the two right-wing parties. 

PSOE and Sumar 

PSOE and Sumar will also have the first chance to confront points of view in a debate. The Socialists attack Sumar and Yolanda Díaz very little, aware that only with their help will they be able to rule again. Yolanda Díaz tries to keep more distance from the PSOE but still defends the work and management of the progressive coalition government. 

All speaking minutes will be used by all parties to present the core ideas that they have used throughout this summer campaign. 

The opening and closing times of each thematic block in the debate and the positions of the spokespersons on stage are determined by lottery. The chronometers to measure speaking times will be managed by professional sports referees. 


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