9 Jan, 2016 @ 11:03
1 min read

Spain’s political chaos continues


THE events this past weekend in Catalunya are a reflection of what is happening throughout the entire country.

ARTUR-MASThe anti-establishment CUP party refused to support the investiture of Artur Mas as regional premiere, plunging the northeast region into further political chaos with new elections looming.

Catalunya has been under certain political upheaval after a regional election in September failed to give Mas and his Junts pel Si coalition an absolute majority to continue governing.

Mas needed the support of CUP, which had been divided over whether to give the pro-independence premier its backing because it had lost trust in him, and lost two CUP confidence voting rounds.

The caretaker Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy is also facing an unprecedented crisis in modern democracy. Rajoy cannot muster any type of support – so it seems for now – from any of the three other major political forces that took large chunks of seats in Congress during the past elections.

Rajoy had hoped to create a great coalition between his Popular Party, the Socialists and the new centrist group Ciudadanos. But Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez told Rajoy just before Christmas that he needed to go. Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera also rejected joining the PP but said it would abstain for voting in favor of or against his investiture if he could seek enough support from other groups.

The leftwing anti-austerity Podemos is keeping the Socialists from creating a leftist coalition government by demanding that it support a referendum for Catalan independence – a proposal that Sanchez has vowed he won’t accept.

Spanish society cannot be blamed for this political uncertainty caused by the fragmented results from December 20. There are deep divisions that have existed for a long time among Spaniards, and they are only surfacing now as the possibility of a new general elections begins to look real.

Mario Alegria (Columnist)

Our Man in Madrid - journalist Mario Alegria


  1. Exactly what do you mean Sir, when you say and I quote “Spanish society can’t be blamed for the political uncertainty caused by the election results?”. Excuse me, but is it not the Spanish who cast their votes? So is it not the Spanish who have indeed created their own mess, yet again?

    Foolishly rejecting the banking reforms, labor reforms, tax reforms, legal reforms, and hard work (aka the so-called austerity measures) which saved Spain from the brink of complete collapse, and earned the praise, as well as massive billions of inward investment from the rest of the world. In return for what? Silly child-like promises of rainbows and money trees, from Socialists and radical Communists?

    Spain now has Europe’s fastest growing economy. The real estate market has stabilized and is recovering strongly. Spanish banks were rated number #1 in Europe following the ECB tests. Even “official” unemployment is finally starting to improve, not to mention the ever strong gray labor market. And incredibly, the once humiliated Spain now leads European GDP, surpassing even that of Germany.

    So I guess you may be right, or at leasr believed by many. In the media today, we are constantly told that up is down and black is white. However, the fact remains that the Spanish people are indeed responsible for choosing rainbows and money trees, instead of reality. Votes matter and they will reap what has been sewn. One can only hope that the unprecedented macro-economic momentum of the last several years from hugely successful policies will be enough to overcome the disastrous consequences of the naive and childish comedy currently unfolding.

    Good luck Spain.

  2. As a spokesman for the PP you have done your best but frankly it is complete poo.

    Spanish banks are anything but healthy, try reading the FT. The property market has recovered somewhat in major cities like Madrid and Barcelona but not in the rest of Spain. The Spanish economy is still very fragile but again the markets must be wrong. Unemployment is only just below the basket case of Greece.

    As for voters, some have come to their senses at last but if China does catch a cold, countries like Spain are in for a really hard time.

  3. Rubicon Cross, you make some interesting points. Spain was on the brink of going the same way as Greece a few years ago and it took some very unpopular economic policies to get it back on the right track. Spain’s recovery is still very weak and their unemployment rate is still far too high and yes, there is much more work to do and it is far from perfect. But what was the alternative? If they had taken a different route, they would have gone the same way as Greece and been in an even bigger mess.

    It’s easy for political parties to shout their heads off when they are in opposition and not faced with having to make difficult and unpopular decisions but had they been in power for the past four years, no doubt they would now been deeply unpopular and Spain would probably be bankrupt.

    Others on here will no doubt beg to differ but I have no faith whatsoever in Podemos – thinking that Venezuela is a model for Europe is cloud cuckoo land stuff. PSOE are not much better, look at the state of Andalucia. The C’s are an anti-corruption party with some good ideas, what a pity they didn’t get more support.

  4. The famous italian Marxist thinker, Antonio Gramsci, said that “the political hegemony was the outcome of the cultural hegemony”; or that it’s the same, in one society the equilibrium of political power is the result of the balance of political ideas.

    I think, that we are witnessing a shift in the political hegemony that is driven by a shift in the cultural hegemony, triggered by the economic crisis. And about the commentary of Rubicon, I find remarkable the absence of mention to the issue of the corruption.

  5. “THE events this past weekend in Catalunya are a reflection of what is happening throughout the entire country.”

    Please allow me to offer some anthropological insight- a holistic perspective. What is happening in Spain is happening around the world: societal fragmentation resulting in religions and nations breaking up into smaller units often with violence: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Canada (?), Italy (?), and of course Islam on Islam genocide. Worldwide xenophobia is increasing often leading to violent outcomes. This phenomenon has been around for the past 10,000 years of human history but only in those parts of the world where over-crowding had been a problem like in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. At the individual level, people are quick to “take offense” and to be polarizing (look how polarized world politics has become). This “polarisation” phenomenon is a vain attempt to create “social” distance between groups of people because the earth is no longer big enough.

  6. The earth is plenty big enough, it’s over breeding by bipeds that is the problem. The one thing the red Fascists in China got right was the one child policy, they have now abandoned this. Because of this rational policy there are 300 million less Chinese. Process all the religious and political freaks into useful material and this insanity can be halted before it’s too late.

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