Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist Workers' Party leader Pedro Sánchez. Photo: Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Socialist party of incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez emerged with a plurality from Spain's snap election this weekend, while its conservative rivals collapsed.

The big picture: The eruption of nationalist populism, championed by the far-right Vox party, made this a landmark election. Although the Socialists' margin of victory is not enough to avoid long, difficult negotiations to form a government, it does establish majority support for a progressive, pro-European platform.

Context: Spain is, by and large, progressive. It was the third country in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, in June 2005. Its feminist movement has mobilized broadly and empowered new generations: Madrid and Barcelona are led by female mayors; women hold 11 of 17 current ministerial posts and will make up 48% of the new parliament.

Details: For a country undergoing its third general election in four years, the 75% turnout was high (the highest since the end of Francisco Franco's reign in 1977, in fact).

  • Vox secured 24 seats in parliament, fewer than some polls had predicted. But over the past four decades, the radical right has only once earned a single seat.

Between the lines: While Catalan independence and anti-feminism dominated media attention during the campaign, the issue that keeps Spanish people up at night is unemployment. Spain's economy is slowly recovering from recession, but 3 million people are unemployed and youth unemployment is over 30%.

What to watch: Sánchez has pledged to tackle inequality and reduce corruption, but he should not take continued support for granted unless he can deliver benefits to the population that feels disenfranchised.

The bottom line: The election results make clear that social democracy is not dead in Europe, and that defending both the interests of workers and cosmopolitan values can still resonate with voters.

Jordi Vaquer is the regional director for Europe at the Open Society Foundations and a co-director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe.

Go deeper

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.