A new video shows grass roots members of Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) apologising for the party’s handling of the economy when in power under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Those featured cite the Socialist government’s austerity measures, such as cutting wages and freezing pensions, as among its many mistakes. “We favoured the interests of the few, those who were powerful, over the majority,” says one of the party members. Decisions on social policy are also rued, such as failing to change the religious freedom law, or introduce a dignified death law. The legacy of Zapatero’s handling of the economic crisis has severely hindered his party since it was voted out of power in November 2011 and the PSOE is still struggling to win back voters.
As economic disaster threatens to engulf Spain, the country’s prime minister faces his greatest challenge. But while Mariano Rajoy seems convinced about the measures needed to battle the ongoing debt crisis, he still hasn’t discovered how to communicate effectively with his electorate – or persuade them the economy is safe.
Record cuts, a key regional election, market hostility and a general strike – all in three months. What does all this tell Spain’s prime minister?
Spain’s Socialists have chosen a veteran of two previous governments as their new leader. Given this baggage, his challenge is to show he can come up with new ideas.
The Socialist Party holds its primary this weekend. But while the campaign ahead of the vote has been laden with intrigue, we still don’t know what the two rival candidates stand for.
A disastrous 2011 has left the Socialist Party divided and defeated. A party convention is looming, but it’s unlikely to resolve some major problems.