On Sunday, 20 November Spain will hold a general election. This blog is live in Madrid covering the build-up and the vote itself. For regular updates throughout the weekend, follow @cullennews on Twitter
Depende, depende (It depends, it depends)
It has been pleasantly mild in Madrid today and the same could be said for the campaigns of the two major parties in Spain, the conservative opposition PP (Popular Party) and the socialist party in government, the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party). With one full day left until the Spaniards follow their Iberian neighbours the Portuguese and head off to the ballot boxes for a eurozone crisis general election the mood in town seems calm; almost resigned.
This has been an ambulatory run-up to the election. There has been no bloody battle between the parties, just consistent criticism from the sidelines. They have been warming up for a match for months but have yet to take the field. And it seems that Arturo Pérez Rubalcaba (@conRubalcaba), the PSOE’s potential next prime minister, is privately accepting of the defeat. He has spent the whole campaign electioneering without a chosen finance minister and has resorted to psychological electioneering:
“Cuanta más fortaleza tenga el PSOE mejor la democracia española”
(Spanish democracy will be all the better for having a strong PSOE)
That is: do not vote us out of power totally or Spain’s democratic principles will be at risk. Not that PP leader and the probable new presidente del gobierno on Sunday, Mariano Rajoy (@marianorajoy), has been any more clear with his policies. He has infamously replied “depende” (it depends) when the elephant in the room, namely, the economy and austerity measures, has been raised. The leading newspaper El País today stated that Rajoy’s main objective for this campaign has been:
“Llegar hasta las elecciones del domingo sin anunciar una sola medida impopular. Sin molestar a nadie. Disimulando”
(To get to Sunday’s election without announcing a single unpopular policy. Without annoying anyone. Hiding)
Maybe all this sighing and dragging of feet is because both men know that whoever wins on Sunday will have to face a financial nightmare. Perhaps Pérez Rubalcaba has not appointed a finance minister because nobody wants the job. Perhaps Rajoy has been hiding because he himself knows that, if he wins, he will certainly have to announce some unpopular belt-tightening measures.