In last Sunday's general election, the voters demonstrated unequivocally who they blame for this sorry state of affairs. The PSOE (Partido Socialista de Obreros Españoles), which has been power since 2004 under the leadership of Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, saw its share of the vote fall from 44% to 29%, its lowest ever since democracy was restored after the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1976. The right-wing PP (Partido Popular) "swept to victory" with a large majority and an even larger avalanche of clichés. The political map of Spain is now almost totally blue, apart from red blobs in Seville and Barcelona and a few separatist enclaves in Catalunya and the Basque Country.
The campaign slogans for the two main parties were a sick joke. "Pelea por lo que quieres!" (Fight for what you want!) declared the avuncular Alfredo Rubalcaba on the PSOE posters. How meekly his party rolled over on its back when confronted with the bared teeth of Angela Merkel and the IMF, signing the Euro Pact and committing the country to austerity measures and privatisation! How they wrung their hands with remorse while cutting 5% off teachers' wages, while dithering endlessly over whether or not to raise taxes for the wealthy! No, sorry Alfredo, we aren't buying that one.
And the PP's "Súmate al cambio!" (Take part in the change!) was even more of a hoot. Change there will most certainly be, but what it will consist of we can only guess. Their slightly disturbed-looking leader, Mariano Rajoy, must be unique in contemporary Western politics for having won a landslide victory without declaring a single detailed policy in advance, other than the vague threat of more austerity measures and the even vaguer promise of more private sector jobs. "There are difficult times to come", he said in his victory speech. To come? You mean they haven't arrived yet???
|Spain's new leader, Mariano Rajoy, on realising |
what he's let himself in for
|Voting figures for Alcalá de los Gazules|