Spain votes against austerity

The new mayor of Barcelona, anti-eviction activist Ada Colau

The results of Spain’s regional and municipal elections held on 24 May mark a sea-change in Spanish politics as millions of voters rejected the austerity policies of the ruling Popular Party (PP). In Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, left-wing activists are set to become mayors. New radical coalitions are emerging that could have a significant impact in the general election in November. JUANJO RIVAS reports from Madrid.

While the conservative PP still received the most support (27%), it has lost 2.5 million votes since the 2011 local elections. This allowed left-wing coalitions, backed by the new left-wing party Podemos, to make significant gains. Although Podemos itself only received 12% of the vote, it may well gain important conservative strongholds, such as Madrid, Asturias, Valencia and Galiza if it forms alliances with the socialist democratic Socialist Party (PSOE), which was second overall.

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Can Spain follow Greece in the fight against austerity?

President Mariano Rajoy boasts about the end of the recession and an apparent slow decrease in unemployment rate. However, his optimism is overshadowed by endless cases of corruption, growing discontent among vast sections of society and the triumph of anti-austerity party Syriza in Greece, which could encourage those following similar strategies in Spain. This is a crucial year in which voters will have the chance to give an important blow to the two-party system, in municipal, regional and general elections, and possibly transform the political scenario.

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Spain: A wind of change

On 20 November, Mariano Rajoy completed his third year as President of Spain, a post he won in 2011 with a solid 44.6% of the vote. Three years later, Rajoy is trying desperately to lead a government which is staggering under the weight of corruption scandals, demands for referendums and increasing unemployment and poverty. A new political party has emerged from the social movements (see FRFI 241) which is already ahead in the polls. Podemos (‘We can’) rejects the austerity policies of the EU and is attempting to radically deepen democracy. A wind of change is blowing and it is making the privileged minority, those who have become richer from a crisis that the working class has to bear, very uneasy. Juanjo Rivas reports from Madrid.

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Catalonia: pushing the Spanish state into crisis

The struggle for Catalan independence is pushing the Spanish state into an unprecedented political crisis. On 9 November (9-N), 2.3 million people (out of an electorate of 5.4 million) participated in a symbolic vote on Catalan self-determination, with 80.1% declaring in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state. Those who exercised their democratic rights did so in defiance of the Spanish Constitutional Court, which had suspended the official vote, and of a hostile central government, which declared the ballot illegal. The Director of Public Prosecutions has now filed criminal charges against Catalan President Artur Mas for defying a court order and wasting public funds. The Catalan government, along with other parties, is now calling for early ‘plebiscite elections’ to the Catalan Parliament, which, if a pro-independence majority is returned, will proceed to a unilateral declaration of Catalan independence. The complete inability of the Spanish state to meet the most basic democratic and social needs of the working class is becoming clearer every day.

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Spain - Solidarity is the future

On 8 September, the OECD congratulated the Spanish government on the measures it has taken to overcome the crisis – and proposed a few more. For instance, like the IMF, it demands yet another increase in VAT, while reducing corporation tax. Prime Minister Rajoy’s cabinet assures us that the economy is in recovery, but the continuing risk of deflation and the poverty rate, alongside record levels of youth unemployment and economic exile, expose the uncomfortable truth. Juanjo Rivas reports from Madrid.

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  5. Spain: unity and struggle against austerity and fascism
  6. Gamonal resists: a battle for the heart of Spain
  7. Spain: Economy stagnates as resistance grows / FRFI 236 Dec 2013/Jan 2014
  8. Spain: Fight cuts and privatisation/FRFI 235 Oct/Nov 2013
  9. Spain: Corruption – and resistance/ FRFI 233 Jun/Jul 2013
  10. Spain: Fightback against austerity /FRFI 232 Apr/May 2013
  11. Spain: poor get poorer as ruling class squanders millions /FRFI 231 Feb/Mar 2013
  12. Spain: Resistance and direct action/FRFI 230 Dec 2012/Jan 2013
  13. Spain: resisting austerity and police brutality - Nov 2012
  14. Spain: Following in the footsteps of Greece /FRFI 229 Oct/Nov 2012
  15. Urgent letter from Spain
  16. Spain goes begging to EU: resistance grows / 228 Aug/Sep 2012
  17. Arrests in Britain as Spain steps up war on Basque nationalists/ FRFI 228 Aug/Sep 2012
  18. Spanish Miners Fight Back
  19. Fightback in Spain grows: ‘the movement will itself become the future’ / FRFI 227 June/July 2012
  20. Spain: Austerity plans face growing resistance /FRFI 226 April/May 2012
  21. Spain: corruption and social struggle / FRFI 225 Feb/Mar 2012
  22. Spain: On the march against austerity/ FRFI 224 December 2011/January 2012
  23. Spain: revolt of the outraged / FRFI 221 June/July 2011
  24. Spain Workers pay for the crisis / FRFI 215 Jun/ Jul 2010
  25. Spanish people oppose war, terrorism and lies