High unemployment and competition for social services between locals and immigrants has fuelled the rise of xenophobic politicians in Catalonia and elsewhere in recent months. But, despite the populist fear-mongering, immigrants remain a boon, not a burden, to Spain’s economy.
The Spanish Socialist Party has just suffered its heaviest election defeat ever. But with internal strife finally bubbling over, things can still get worse.
The Spanish prime minister wanted to maintain a robust welfare state while handling the demands of the global economy. His decision to abandon the former in favour of the latter goes a long way to explaining the Socialists’ local election disaster.
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.
The Spanish electoral lists are contaminated with candidates who are under investigation, meaning next month’s vote offers not just a reflection of how people feel about their leaders, but also how they feel about corruption.
The Spanish prime minister’s decision not to run for a third term gives the Socialists a small boost ahead of local elections. But it also opens up a new series of problems for the party.