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Banality and pragmatism on Spain’s campaign trail

The upcoming local elections will almost certainly deliver a major shift in Spanish politics, but you wouldn’t know it from following an uninspiring campaign by both major parties.

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There’s little room for doubt now that the May 22 regional and municipal elections will mark a hugely significant change for Spain’s political map. The Popular Party (PP) is heading for an overwhelming victory, as underlined by the latest poll published by Metroscopia. The pollster points to major gains across the country for the conservatives, but the fact they now look poised to take traditional Socialist strongholds such as Seville and Castilla-La Mancha is the most striking development.

Given that such enormous changes are afoot, it is strange –and frustrating– that this election campaign has not been more compelling.  Instead of seeing the Socialists dig deep to fight for their political lives, we have seen mainly the banality of the desperate. And the populares, rather than offering a clearly articulated alternative to Socialist policy, have been content to sit back and let the national government’s handling of the economy do their campaigning for them. In a bizarrely pragmatic strategy, the PP has used Prime Minister Zapatero more than it has used its own leader, Mariano Rajoy.

Meanwhile, in areas such as Valencia, corruption looks as if it will not only be tolerated by voters, but actually rewarded, with the scandal-plagued PP government cruising towards a resounding win.

If Spain’s electoral map does change radically next Sunday, I only hope that something also shifts in the way this generation of politicians go about their business.





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Published: May 16 2011
Category: Uncategorized
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
Short URL: http://iberosphere.com/?p=2835
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