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Velasco
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« on: January 03, 2015, 01:39:56 pm »

I was about to start one this month, when I had the time to write some little explanatory effort post. The election may be in November or December and, according to some rumours, even as late as January 2016.

If you have patience and interest, give this Guide to the 2011 Spanish Elections a chance. It was written by El Caudillo of this board.

http://welections.wordpress.com/links/guide-to-the-2011-spanish-election/
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 06:34:30 pm »

Should this thread serve as a general Spanish election thread, including the regional and locals in May; and a potential Catalan snap election?

(also do we have polls for the regional elections?)

I think it's not a good idea melting all the elections in a single thread. Local and regional elections may not be as interesting for forumites as the parliamentary elections. They will be key for the developments in the second half of the year. However, it'd be rather confusing if we discuss them alongside with the general elections. Regional and local realities in Spain have some complexities, including regionalist and nationalist parties in particular territories. As for Catalonia, it has particular developments and a different party system (trend accentuated since 2011 onwards). Snap elections in Catalonia would deserve another single thread, as it happened with the pseudo-referendum held in November.

My idea was starting a thread on the General Elections with some basic info (parties, electoral system, election background), as well posting polls at national level here instead of using the Spain's General Discussion. I thought there wasn't a rush, because elections will be held in all likelihood by the end of the year and not too many people here is following Spanish politics. As you can see, someone took the lead. February might be a good month to start a thread on the regional and locals, because by that time will be announced most of the candidacies in the main cities and territories.

I wonder the remaining traditional Left in Asturias will switch from PSOE/IU to Podemos? Could be a decisive factor.

Asturias has little demographic weight in the whole Spain. It has a population of 1.054 million, a 2.34% of the country according to Wikipedia. I guess the 'traditional left' in Asturias may be represented by the towns located in the mining basis, which have been declining in population but are still important in the regional context.

In the EP Elections, PSOE won narrowly in Asturias taking 26.08% with PP second getting 24.12%. Podemos came third getting 13.64%, which was the best regional result for the Pablo Iglesias' party, while IU came fourth getting 12.9% (a strong result, but slightly below the 2011 elections). The right-wing regionalist Foro Asturias (FAC) did poorly getting only 4.23%. Although the FAC -party splitted from the Asturias' PP led by Francisco Álvarez Cascos- will likely improve that performance in the next regional elections, it would be far from its good results in the two consecutive elections held in May 2011 and March 2012.

In the EP Elections, Podemos got around 15% in Oviedo (regional capital and PP's main fortress), the port of Gijón (the most populated city) and the town of Avilés (formerly a seat of the steel industry). In the mining towns of Mieres and Langreo, Podemos performed between 13% and 14% coming behind PSOE and the IU, the latter getting more than 20% of the vote in both. The traditional left in Asturias is not particularly in good shape, with the socialist SOMA-UGT and the formerly communist CC.OO unions facing a serious crisis of credibility. Furthermore, a veteran SOMA-UGT and PSOE member was involved in the Caja Madrid 'black card' scandal. The IU has internal divisions and is controlled by the faction loyal to Gaspar Llamazares, currently MP for Asturias and formerly national leader. Maybe critics of the IU's regional leadership are ready to support Podemos. Asturias might be well a target district for Podemos to win in the next general elections, collecting many voters disappointed at the two traditional parties in the left. The MP that IU returned to the Congress of Deputies from Asturias might be in danger. IU would need around 10% of the vote to win one of the 8 deputies returned by Asturias; Gaspar Llamazares got 13.2% in November 2011. As well, the FAC could lose the seat won in the past election. It's up to see which strength shows Podemos in the next regional elections on May 24.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 10:44:00 am by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 06:43:16 pm »

Forgive my ignorance, but what is Podemos' exact position on a Catalan referendum?

EDIT : I have just seen that the vast majority of their newfound supportters in Catalonia are from the PSC. So I imagine they are not in favour of a referendum.

Podemos is in favour of a referendum, but Pablo Iglesias stated that he wants Catalonia to stay in Spain. Recently, Iglesias spoke before a crowd in Barcelona, bashing at the same time the ruling pro-independence CiU and the Spanish "Casta" represented by the PP government in Madrid (and the PSOE). Podemos tries to avoid the confrontation between independence supporters and opponents, considering that debate is not a priority for them. They say they want to decide in a wide range of matters, not only on independence. Podemos in Catalonia is 'transversal' in what regards that debate; there are supporters and vocal opponents amongst the membership.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 10:58:18 am »

Should this thread serve as a general Spanish election thread, including the regional and locals in May; and a potential Catalan snap election?

(also do we have polls for the regional elections?)
Catalonia (9-13 Dec - link)Sad
Podemos - 20.4%
CiU - 18.8%
ERC - 17.5%
PSC - 13.3%
PP - 10.7%
C's - 5.1%
ICV-EUiA - 4.6%
CUP - 2.7%
Others - 6.9%

This is not a vote estimation for regional elections, but for the Spanish General Elections (Congress of Deputies) in Catalonia. This is one of the reasons why I would not happy melting in a single trhread all the elections that will take place in Spain. It's going to generate confusion.

The poll was conducted by the CEO, a Catalan sociologic institute attached to the regional government (it's the equivalent of the Spanish CIS). The CEO vote estimation for the Parliament of Catalonia is the following:



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Velasco
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 04:27:16 pm »

I can't resist the temptation of sharing this article from the Very Serious Paper: 'Restless and Resentful'.

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21637423-year-electoral-turbulence-lies-ahead-restless-and-resentful

Quote
SPAIN is facing a year of bruising, confrontational politics, with several elections that could result in dramatic changes in the way the country is governed. Not least, the constitution, which has underpinned democracy ever since 1978, may not survive in its present form. The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his centre-right Popular Party (PP) may soon find themselves fighting on two fronts at once: trying to save Spain from disintegration if snap elections based around independence are held in Catalonia; and fighting to stop the PP being kicked into third place nationally when other regions and municipalities vote in May.

Nor do Mr Rajoy’s troubles end there. A general election looms in December 2015 which could result in either the Socialists or an upstart leftist party, Podemos, ousting Mr Rajoy and dismantling economic reforms brought in to tackle Spain’s debt crisis. The country is now outperforming most of the rest of Europe. But the scars left by austerity and a lengthy recession have not yet healed. Unemployment remains at 24% and GDP is still below its previous peak.

The entry is eloquently dramatic: Disintegration and Chaos. The independence movement in Catalonia is certainly a serious challenge and its victory could bring serious consequences. However, if the writer expects that Mariano Rajoy is going to save Spain handling the defy of Catalan nationalism in the way that he's been up... Catalonia will be independent soon and independence supporters will reach Paradise on Earth. This is not unrelated with the second concern, the survival of the 1978 Constitution in its present form. The current constitutional text underpinned democracy for 35 years, but the multilevel crisis that is facing Spain is making evident that it's about time for a serious reform... Among other things, one that includes a clarification of the structure of the State. Only fearful XIX Century conservatives like Rajoy - the columnist seems to be on the same wavelength- think that the answer is resisting to change. At all costs.

The second paragraph overcomes the 'scars' left by austerity: dismantling of the middle class and the welfare state, increasing inequality, impoverishment. On the other hand, the economic performance of Spain hasn't been as brilliant as the text suggests. Real GDP growth rate was -0.6% in 2011, -2.1% in 2012 and -1,2% in 2013 (source: Eurostat). The Spanish government claims that now the country has the highest growth rate in the EU. It's false. The Winter 2014 European Economic Forecast says that Spain's Real GDP is growing by 1% and foresees a growth of 1.7%  in 2015. EU average is at 1.2% and 1.8% in the same dates. Latvia, Estonia or Ireland are doing far better. The adjective that can better describe the result of Rajoy's 'reforms' is mediocre.

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tec00115&plugin=1

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2014/pdf/ee2_en.pdf

No further comments on the following paragraph:

Quote
The timing of a Catalan election depends on the regional president, Artur Mas. He wants a quick vote to serve as a plebiscite on independence, but is also anxious not to hand power to his rival, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party. To that end he wants the ERC to stand on the same list as the separatist wing of his own Convergence and Union (CiU) coalition. The ERC prefers to be on a separate list of its own, but has guaranteed Mr Mas the presidency. “The important thing is the [Catalan] republic, not the presidency,” says the party’s leader, Oriol Junqueras. If agreement does not come soon, the election may not happen. A pre-Christmas poll found the parties neck-and-neck. But backing for independence has dropped from 47.1% in April to 44.5% now. Adding to the uncertainty is the rise of a left-wing party, Podemos, which supports a referendum but is mistrusted by both Catalan and Basque separatists.

On Podemos and the PSOE's 'leftist drive':

Quote
The eruption of Podemos, which calls Spain’s right “the enemy” but despises the entire political establishment, has set the tone for a newly combative era and changed the game. Podemos, which first appeared in May’s European elections, is now intent on becoming the country's biggest party. The newish Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, has been pushed leftward, ruling out a “grand coalition” with Mr Rajoy and denouncing as mistaken reforms introduced by a former Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the height of the financial crisis in 2011. He would alter the constitution, softening a Zapatero measure that caps future budgets and further federalising Spain in a bid to keep the Catalans happy.

But Mr Sánchez, appointed in July, has yet to secure the full backing of his party. The Socialists are losing voters to Podemos, whose leaders were once cheerleaders for anti-capitalism, debt-restructuring, “degrowth” and even Venezuela’s former president, Hugo Chávez. Podemos is distancing itself from some of such nuttier stuff, but the political programme it is drawing up will still be far to the left of the Socialists. The party wants a big constitutional rewrite. It may seek alliances with a future left-wing Syriza government in Greece (it welcomed this week’s news of an early Greek election) and with Sinn Fein in Ireland. Podemos clearly has Spain’s financial and political elites in its sights. That appeals to many voters, who blame them for the debt crisis and its aftermath.

Mr Rajoy’s hopes of eventual victory rest on his boast to have ended Spain’s economic crisis. Spanish voters seem disinclined to show him much gratitude.

Ruling out in public a "Grand Coalition" with PP can hardly be described as a drive to the left, it's just a matter of common sense realising that PP's invitations for a bear hug might be a suicide for the Spanish socialists. The constitutional reforms introduced by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero by the end of his term (summer 2011), which emphasize that containing debt is a budgetary priority, were enacted under the pressure if the Troika and were a vain attempt to calm down the 'markets'. Some people may think that the text of the reformed article 135 of the Spanish Constitution isn't very harmful in itself:

Quote
1. El Gobierno habrá de estar autorizado por Ley para emitir Deuda Pública o contraer crédito.
2. Los créditos para satisfacer el pago de intereses y capital de la Deuda Pública del Estado se entenderán siempre incluidos en el estado de gastos de los presupuestos y no podrán ser objeto de enmienda o modificación, mientras se ajusten a las condiciones de la Ley de emisión.

However, the perception in the Spanish people is that this 'reform' was an unacceptable imposition from foreign powers, prioritises fulfilling the debt terms at the cost of basic needs like financing education and healthcare. Also, it's used by the current government to justify aggressive cuts in public spending. Far from being an extremist drive, in denouncing that constitutional change as mistaken Pedro Sánchez is trying desperately to recover credibility amongst PSOE's centre-left electoral base.

It's certainly laughable the contrast between those concerns on the reformed article 135 and the fear that the columnist expresses on further alterations of the constitution, like that proposal to federalise Spain to keep Catalans happy. Is he a Rajoy's adviser? In any case, the article can be used as a brief sample of PP's stances.

The last paragraph depicting Podemos as a bunch of dangerous extremists may work to frighten good people abroad, but hardly creates an impression in Spain. The radical left background of some of the Podemos founding core members is well known. When asked, Podemos spokepersons don't try to refute sympathies for certain Latin American governments. They just say that the 'Bolivarian model' cannot be transplanted to Spain remarking the obvious: the big differences betwen realities in Latin America and the southwestern corner of Europe. As it happens with the Syriza's economic programme, Podemos has softened some key points in the economic agenda, which can hardly be described as 'extremist' or 'Bolivarian', even though words like "debt-restructuring" may cause alarm amongst analysts at The Economist.  
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 06:51:53 am by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 07:27:52 am »

There's no answer for those questions.

However, don't worry. Spain and Andorra are about to sign an agreement to combat tax fraud:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/07/inenglish/1420618570_101304.html

Quote
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to sign an agreement that will include a system for automatically sharing tax information between Andorra and Spain during an official two-day visit to the principality that begins on Wednesday.

The agreement is aimed at making it difficult for Spaniards to evade taxes by depositing money in the small Pyrenean nation. The move comes in the wake of last summer’s scandal in which former Catalan regional premier Jordi Pujol admitted that he had kept accounts containing several million euros in Andorra and other tax havens for 34 years. Pujol is scheduled to appear before a Barcelona court on January 27 (...)

It's a pity that our government has not deployed the same enthusiasm in fighting other Spaniard tax evaders by funding the tax inspectorate. Instead, Minister of Finance Cristóbal Montoro decreed a tax amnesty and our great fortunes have a wonderful tool at their disposal called SICAV, financial vehicle usually based in tax havens such as Luxembourg.

More on topic, Audit Court found nearly all Spanish parties guilty of financial crimes.

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/05/inenglish/1420477280_010065.html

Quote
Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC). The prosecutor claims that CDC, one half of the ruling CiU bloc in Catalonia, committed crimes in its 2012 accounts. Specifically, there are €1.7 million that the party lists as revenue from services rendered to the CiU and various foundations, but which are not properly documented. The only evidence of these services are a few “internal notes” that fail to confirm whether the services existed in the first place.

CDC also made contributions to its various foundations, yet failed to reflect them properly in the accounts. The main foundation, Cat-Dem, holds that these amounts were donations, which are governed by a different legal system from contributions. The party’s 2012 accounts do not include all incoming and outgoing money, says the report, noting that the financial activity of its local headquarters is not included.

Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC). CDC’s longtime partner in the Catalan executive, UDC, does not fare much better. The party’s headquarters in Girona was acquired with a loan of €402,016 that is “practically paid off” according to the report, yet still shows up as pending repayment. The party also took out a €9.5 million loan from Kutxabank, “which this lender has forgiven” to the extent that the debt has been reduced to less than €1 million. The prosecutor also highlights that UDC paid over €57,773 in expenses to an unnamed party leader, and that this money was classified as operating costs.

Popular Party (PP). The Audit Court’s report does not paint a rosy picture of Spain’s ruling party, which may be guilty of having committed “several tax crimes” in 2012. Eight lenders have provided information to the effect that the PP holds bank accounts worth a total €1.3 million that were not declared to the tax authorities. The prosecutor notes that the PP “has refused” to provide the Audit Court with copies of 34 contracts signed with alleged service providers.

The conservative group also accepted a €86,000 donation from a company that was awarded public contracts, a forbidden practice. Asked for explanations, the party said it had no way of checking whether donors have a business relationship with government agencies, and simply trusted their sworn statements.

The Bárcenas case, currently under investigation at the High Court, suggests that the PP may have accepted as much as €8 million in illegal donations over the last 20 years.

PSOE. The report identifies wrongdoing in the Socialist Party’s financial relationship with its Pablo Iglesias and Ideas para el Progreso foundations. In 2012, the party loaned at least €4.4 million to both despite the fact that this money would never be repaid, considering the foundations’ negative balances. The prosecutor also considered it irregular that the manager of the Socialist Party and the manager of the Ideas foundation were one and the same person. In 2010 and 2011, the PSOE also lent its foundations over €1 million that has since been practically written off.

The report underscores that it is difficult to understand why the party would do such a thing, then ask banks for a €14.7 million loan to finance a labor adjustment plan. The Pablo Iglesias foundation (named after a historical Socialist leader, not to be confused with the leader of new party Podemos of the same name) recorded its loan from the PSOE as a “contribution,” which is not taxable.

Basque Nationalist Party (PNV). The ruling party in the Basque region failed to include income worth €4.9 million in its 2012 accounts. This amount was the result of a strange and lucrative swap involving a large property. The prosecutor also says that the party unlawfully owns a complicated web of companies (some headquartered in France) whose activities could be providing a source of illegal financing. In 2012, the PNV had 357 checking accounts, savings accounts and investment funds worth a combined €3.1 million that were not included in its official accounting.

It must be noted that the Audit Court has never acted against any major party to date, has faced criticism for inefficiency and nepotism and having been notoriously slow in analysing parties' finances.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 07:12:49 am by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 08:02:01 pm »

I found a website called The Spain Report which might be interesting as an English language source of news and analysis on Spanish politics.

https://www.thespainreport.com/

I don't share necessarily the points of view stated in the editorial articles. I have read only a few of them and I have no concrete opinion of the editorial line. At first sight, it doesn't look bad and it's always interesting to me knowing how people from abroad perceives politics in my country. One of the editorials puts forward three hypothetical scenarios for this election year, focusing on the narratives:

https://www.thespainreport.com/13643/three-scenarios-spain-uncertain-2015/

Quote
The steadfast and often silent Spanish Prime Minister is betting on increasing the fear of Podemos in the minds of older, rural and business voters—to stop them from abstaining—on convincing them that the Popular Party (PP) has successfully turned the country’s economic crisis into a thing of the past, that all of the corruption cases are just a few bad apples, now isolated, and that Spain just needs to pay more attention to the 1978 Constitution. This strategy, combined with the dynamics of Spain’s electoral system (a form of proportional representation), which is skewed towards making it easier for Spanish conservatives to win rural seats and a majority in Congress, mean some recent estimates suggest Mr. Rajoy could hope to win a new majority with as little as 34% of the vote, the share Adolfo Suárez’s UCD needed in 1977 to win Spain’s first general election since the Second Republic.

Pablo Iglesias and Podemos have risen from nothing 12 months ago to sharing approximately equal pre-election mindshare with the PP and PSOE on a narrative of a broken, corrupt constitutional system that is not fit for Spaniards and the 21st-Century. Increasing numbers of young, urban voters have had enough after years of broken promises from the two mendacious establishment parties that have ruled the roost since 1978, 54% youth unemployment or €600-a-month temporary contracts with no future. It is now well past the time for rooting out a few rotten apples and more the moment to overturn the whole constitutional apple cart, chop it into firewood and build some other form of transport. Millions of angry, fed up Spaniards are readying their axes and Mr. Iglesias holds the lighter. Not only are the lying extractive elites doing their best to destroy all those hopes and futures, they are also being helped by the European establishment and Mrs. Merkel, so the euro project as it currently exists will need turning into a bonfire too, with the help of comrades in Greece.

In between these two increasingly polarised options, there is Mr. Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and what might, in other circumstances, be a promising Spanish Third Way of constitutional reform, which the PSOE would also like to apply to solving the problem of Catalan secession. The modern Spanish electorate has until now been sociologically slightly left-of-centre (hence the lack of competition for the PP on the right and a confusion of options fighting for the centre left), and the PSOE has dominated, but this long-standing assumption might have undergone a fundamental shift since the crisis began to take its toll, thus Podemos. The Popular Party criticises the PSOE’s lack of concrete proposals for constitutional reform, and it is not very wrong. Five months before the election cycle begins, Mr. Sánchez, initially nicknamed “Ken” for his square-jawed good looks, appears more preoccupied with restoring the vowels to his name on his personal blog and of taking selfies with a well-known Spanish adventure TV show action man.

(...)

The site translates into English news from Spanish media and its focus is taking "a broad, systemic view of the Spanish nation and its international situation".
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 03:51:08 am »

Some polls have been released recently. It'd be illustrative posting the Wiki graph to see the general trend from November 2011 to December 2014.



Key: light blue PP, red PSOE, maroon IU, magenta UPyD, navy blue CiU, green PNV, yellow ERC, orange Ciudadanos, purple Podemos.

Metroscopia / El País (Jan 10)



Changes in the centre-left and the centre-right. PP and PSOE are the most adversely affected, IU and UPyD under the pressure created by the surge of Podemos and now Ciudadanos (Cs), which according to the pollster seems to be on the rise in the last weeks catching voters in the centre-right (1/2 coming from PP).

My Word/ Cadena SER (Jan 9)



Podemos comes first as in the previous poll, but PP and PSOE exchange their places with the latter falling below 20% in the estimation. Ciudadanos is on the rise too, but the estimation places the party behind UPYD -both parties are competing in the same ideological range-. IU polls quite low.

NC Report/ La Razón (Jan 4)



PP first, PSOE and Podemos virtually tied in the second place, IU resists on the 5% line polling better than UPyD and Cs.

For reference, El Pais (Madrid newspaper) and Cadena SER (a radio station) belong to the same media group are are alligned on the centre-left (PSOE). La Razón is a conservative and PP-friendly Madrid newspaper.

Two last pics from electograph.com.
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 12:14:35 pm »

In the case of La Razón it's possible, yes. The polls conducted by Metroscopia in El País are placing PSOE higher than the rest and PP lower, with some weird oscillations which can be due to methodology. If you have a mean mind, you might suspect some bias being El País one of the few media where you can read some kind words about the erratic PSOE leadership. In the case of other media, it's harder to say. Sigma Dos, which works for El Mundo, used to have a tendency to overestimate PP in the past, but now is amongst the pollsters which places Podemos higher. The polls conducted by Celeste-Tel in eldiario.es (an online paper somewhat close to Podemos) are amongst the most 'conservative' in the vote estimation.
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2015, 08:01:04 pm »

Catalan premier Artur Mas announced yesterday that elections in Catalonia will be called on September 27, within an agreement with the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) to complete the independence process "Onward to Victory".

Mas proclaimed that the pact of unity "has been remade (...) to guarantee the process of national transition which concluded on November 9". His statement of intention means that his goal is the independence of Catalonia. The agreement reached with ERC will allow the CiU government to pass the budget and saving time to complete the creation of what Mas calls "state structures".

Despite the ERC pressed for an immediate call and gave the Catalan premier an ultimatum, finally the party led by Oriol Junqueras gave ground on the election date. However, they get away with another key issue which was bogging down the negotiation: the joint pro-independence ticket has been discarded, despite pressures from Mas and the civic pro-independence associations.  

CiU and ERC will run in separate lists with a "shared roadmap on the political process" which has to be agreed between forces. The document on that roadmap is already far advanced, according to Mas, and will contemplate the path to take until the proclamation of independence.

The agreement was forged in a five-hour meeting between Artur Mas (CiU), Oriol Junqueras (ERC), Carme Forcadell (ANC), Muriel Cassals (Òmnium Cultural) and Josep Maria D'Abadal (AMI). The main points are:

1) Re-validation of the stability pact between CiU and ERC until the elections on September 27, one year before the end of term in November 2016.

2) CiU and ERC run in separate lists .

3) ERC removes the threat to veto the regional budget, if it prioritizes the creation of state structures and the social area.

4) CiU and ERC will cooperate to strengthen the state structures with a view on an eventual independence, advancing towards a Catalan Treasury and a Catalan Social Security.

5) Mas compromises to prioritize social educational schemes, among other things concluding a law on professional training.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 08:06:11 pm by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 12:34:43 am »

Actually, the compromises made by Mas to keep the unity between CiU and ERC have been ridiculous. From a tactical point of view, Mas manages to survive and is still the 'pilot' of the separatist process. However, the strategy to attain the final goals of said process looks unclear. For example, it sounds fairly unrealistic the intent of building "state structures" within an eight month period, given that it's predictable that the Spanish government is going to oppose such move and Rajoy has the tools to prevent it.

According to the news, the path to independence is still undefined in the deal reached by Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras and Mas evaded talking about deadlines -he had a previous plan to achieve independence within 18 months-. It's considered a priority the cooperation between CiU and ERC in the upcoming municipal elections on May 24, but many ERC candidates don't want CiU as preferential partner and prefer to be open to deals with other parties in the left. Alfred Bosch, the ERC candidate in Barcelona, stated that the deal isn't going to condition his strategy to challenge the CiU mayor Xavier Trias. In the next Catalan elections, there are differences between CiU and ERC on the inclusion of independents (some prominent figures from the civic associations may run). Days ago Mas made an extravagant requirement to ERC, which was accepted: ERC shouldn't include independents if it was rejecting the joint list. Junqueras promised that ERC would never vote a regional budget again, but now agrees to pass this year's budget in exchange for tiny additional items in the reduced social expending -Catalonia is in the lead in expending cuts-. Finally, the deal may suppose that CiU and ERC will cooperate in order that Mas won't stand before the parliamentary commission which investigates the former regional premier Jordi Pujol, accused of tax crimes. Junqueras has advocated for a Catalonia clean of corrupts.
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 12:28:56 am »

It's a question of power gambling, indeed. On the issue of independents, CiU and ERC would score a goal in hiring people like Carme Forcadell, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) spokeswoman, to run in their lists. She is a linguist and was once an obscure ERC councilor in Terrassa, near Barcelona. Forcadell is still an ERC member, but she retired from partisan politics when she failed to be reelected in 2007. As the ANC head, she rose to prominence because of her good organisational capacity, evidenced in the 'Prussian' precision in which massive pro-independence demonstrations were conducted. Forcadell is not in bad terms with Artur Mas.

In the Parliament of Catalonia, CiU and ERC 'saved' Artur Mas by the fourth time to stand before the Jordi Pujol parliamentary commission. The hearing was seconded by the rest of parties.



To date, we have the folowing electoral calendar in Spain:

May 24: Regional and Local Elections.

September 27: Elections in Catalonia.

November or December: General Election (Congress of Deputies and Senate).

As said before, I think that every election should have a separate thread in order to not muddling issues too much. However, I'm not sure if I'll have time to post regularly on the separate elections. If I haven't, I won't start a thread on the regional and locals next month -it'd be great if another person wants to-. In any case, I wouldn't start a thread on the Catalan elections before May 25. I hope that the Andalusian premier won't call snap elections, because this would be a total madness.

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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2015, 04:57:40 am »

I'll try to make of summary of relevant news concerning the major parties.

Let's start with PP and the corruption scandals.

Gürtel case prosecutors seek 800 years in jail for 41 suspects:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/16/inenglish/1421428986_419540.html

Quote
The Anticorruption Attorney’s Office wants a 123-year prison term for Francisco Correa, the mastermind behind the massive Gürtel bribes-for-contracts scandal that has tainted the ruling Popular Party (PP) at the national, regional and local levels.

The state’s attorneys are also asking for a 42-year sentence for former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who was involved in the Gürtel network and hoarded €48 million in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Bárcenas also allegedly kept parallel accounts for the conservative party that suggest illegal financing and side payments to top PP officials.

Almost matchless in scope, the Gürtel investigation has taken five years to complete. It involves six regional governments, originally targeted nearly 200 suspects, and reads like a Who’s Who of conservative officials (...)

PP claims to be alien to the corruption network and having transparent accounts, despite prosecutors attest the existence of a parallel accounting which, among other things, served to fund building works in PP headquarters in Madrid.

Days before Mariano Rajoy made a surprise trip to Greece, in order to offer his support to the embattled Antonis Samaras ("promising the impossible generates frustration", said the Spanish PM in Athens), PP National Executive Committee met in Madrid. Several members showed concern because last polls are predicting adverse results for PP in the upcoming regional and locals, which may suppose the loss of several PP bastions (remarkably Madrid and Valencia). The 2011 elections gave PP a huge territorial base of power, which no party has enjoyed in the present democratic period. Mariano Rajoy tried to calm people down, assuring in another and more reduced meeting of the party leadership in Toledo that (according to his controversial polling chief Pedro Arriola) PP is still first with 27-28% of the vote, Podemos is second, a weak (albeit more resistant than its Greek counterpart) PSOE is coming third and Ciudadanos "emerges strongly". Spanish conservatives fear that Ciudadanos, led by the young but already veteran politician Albert Rivera, is going raze PP in the next Catalan elections. Esperanza Aguirre was amongst the most vocal in showing alarm. Aguirre wants to run for Mayor of Madrid, although the decision lies on Rajoy given the pyramidal structure of the party, which doesn't hold primaries. PP organizational secretary Carlos Floriano was appointed as campaign manager. Floriano is a man of María Dolores de Cospedal (PP secretary general and premier of the Castilla-La Mancha region) and is not the brightest of sparks, nor he is particularly eloquent. Maybe that's the reason why Pablo Casado, who is a promising young performer battle-hardened in television talk shows close to Aguirre and José María Aznar, has been appointed as spokesman of the campaign committee.  

Podemos, on the other hand, held yesterday a crowded rally in Seville on the day of its first anniversary. Pablo Iglesias and MEP Teresa Rodríguez were the key speakers. Iglesias accused PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez of "being lost". According to Iglesias, Pedro Sánchez doesn't know if he's in favour or against of a Grand Coalition with PP and he doesn't know which party he's supporting in Greece (Podemos is obviously with Tsipras). Iglesias challenged Andalusian premier Susana Díaz, "who apparently has more command than Pedro Sánchez" in the PSOE, to debate with him. Pablo Iglesias will be with Tsipras in Greece on Jan 22 and Podemos has announced a mass rally in Madrid on Jan 31, which will measure the party's convening power.

Meanwhile, Pedro Sánchez took his "message of change" to Washington. Only PSOE can implement radical democracy in Spain, told Sánchez to Democrats. He met with Obama's chief economic advisor Jason Furman and IMF head Christine Legarde, among other people.

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/16/inenglish/1421407447_012734.html
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 11:40:44 am by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2015, 07:24:29 am »

LOL. It wasn't intentional leaving that "o" drifting in the water, just a distraction on my part. I guess I wanted to write "let's wait until the outcome of the Greek elections" or something similar. Of course, those questions will have an answer. Sadly, I can't travel into the future, come here and give a prospective answer with the advantage of retrospective Wink
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 11:42:47 am »

The question may be relevant in the case of a coalition government involving PSOE and Podemos. I don't think this is the likeliest thing to happen, but anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2015, 01:20:34 pm »

El País released today an interview with Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, in Seville. Highlights:

- "In the next elections, there will be only two choices: PP and Podemos"

-  After remarking that Pedro Sánchez is "lost", because he doesn't say if he's supporting Syriza or ND, nor clarifies his stance on issues like the reform of Article 135 and tax havens, stated his opposition to Juncker -PSOE didn't vote him- but didn't support a proposal for a motion of censure made by the GUE/NGL in the wake of the 'luxleaks' scandal... Pablo Iglesias assures that he won't have difficulty to deal coalitions with PSOE if the Spanish socialists make an U turn, that is to say: acknowledging that austerity policies "have been a mistake" and assuming that "in this country is necessary to talk about a restructuring of the debt and the dation in payment*".

* In Spain, people evicted from their homes still have to pay the terms of mortgages.

- "Spain is a plurinational reality" and "the solution to the territorial problem (Catalonia) passes through a referendum" and the latter through a "constituent process", which Iglesias deems necessary in order that people can decide on the territorial question and other issues and putting all options on the table.

- Iglesias admits that it's not the same making a platform to run in the EP elections and making a platform to govern. He says the economists with which they are working told them that it's not possible to reduce retirement age to 60 or implementing basic income within two years, as it was in the EP elections manifesto.

- "Ideological definitions serve badly to understand the current situation"

http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2015/01/17/actualidad/1421526937_154439.html

Pedro Sánchez counterattacked from Barcelona:

"Pablo Iglesias is a politician who lies rather than he speaks" referring to the aforementioned interview, in which Iglesias eluded to position himself in the right or in the left (the sentence on ideological definitions) and to detail promises like basic income. "Iglesias ran in the EP elections with a platform which now refuses, he said he was on the left and now not". Sánchez stated that, in contrast with Podemos, PSOE will take decisions once in power such as abolishing: the last labor market reform, the educational reform sponsored by the controversial minister Wert and the local governments reform. Sánchez didn't focus on Catalan problem in Barcelona, but talked about people wanting to build a homeland and bringing their fortunes to Switzerland and Andorra.

http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2015/01/18/catalunya/1421584831_463820.html

Links in Spanish.
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2015, 03:57:14 pm »

Also lol that Podemos are already running away from their basic income pledge. Wasn't that supposed to be one of Iglesias's biggest pet issues?

The current economic draft, written by economists Juan Torres and Vicenç Navarro, mentions "a state pact against poverty and social exclusion" geared towards the implementation of a minimum guaranteed income. Pablo Iglesias said in the interview that economists told him that such implementation is not going to be possible in the first two years. It can be interpreted as a withdrawal or as a more realistic approach, depending on consumer's taste. It has relation with the question of "how far left you can go..."

I must admit I don't really understand the appeal of C's and UpyD. Are they just for people who really really dislike Catalans? I certainly don't understand this new surge by C's. Who are they stealing votes from?

Well, they dislike Catalan nationalists. Disliking nationalists doesn't imply necessarily disliking Catalans, although dislike of Catalans is common among certain circles. I wouldn't say that it's a feeling shared by a majority but certainly exists, as some past campaigns led by PP against the Catalan statute of devolution demonstrate. Said this, it should be noted that Ciutadans (Ciudadanos in Spanish) is a party founded in Catalonia by Catalan people disliking Catalan nationalism. Only as of recently, C's is starting to increase its territorial implementation in the rest of Spain. With UPyD happens the opposite. Being the stances of both parties quite similar on the basic issues, the party led by Rosa Díez (formerly a prominent member of the Basque socialists) has been always extremely weak in Catalonia because Ciutadans already existed. UPyD appeals secular and liberal people with centralist leanings. UPyD people reject the 'centralist' label and talk about 'symmetric federalism', which means that all regions should have the same competences and treated the same, advocating for a re-devolution of Education and Healthcare competences to the central government. UPyD has been since its foundation a strong advocate for political reform and the fight against corruption. Also, it has a hardline stance on terrorism (the origin of the party is in the Basque Country, people threatened by ETA).

In the case of C's it's a bit more complicated. Ciutadans started as a single-issue party, opposing the Catalan laws on linguistic immersion and what they perceive as a cultural monopoly excercised by the Catalan nationalism. They also advocate for political reform and have a strong anti-corruption stance, although they appear ideologically more inconsistent. Albert Rivera's calls against bankers in the last campaign in Catalonia sound like unconceivable in UPyD spokepersons, whom likely would deem them as 'populist'. However, Albert Rivera has a better appeal among PP voters. The past of Rosa Díez  in PSOE and vocal secularism play against UPyD's chances among conservative voters. Also, Rivera has never been a leftist (it is rumoured that he was once a PP member) and now plays much better than UPyD the card of representing the "new politics" (the young and 'fresh' Rivera has an advantage over the veteran Rosa Díez). Rivera also shows C's as a 'sane' reformist option, in contrast with the 'experiments' of Podemos. Rivera says that C's wants to reform the country, instead of breaking the 'Regime of 1978' implementing a constituent process, and states openness to pact with other parties (PP, PSOE or Podemos) in order to implement the changes they deem neccesary. In Catalonia, C's grew initially at the expense of PSC (voters disillusioned with the PSC-ERC-ICV tripartite governments in 2006 and 2010) and in 2012 they received voters from PSC, PP and even from CiU in the Barcelona metropolitan region. Now C's seems to be eroding further the PP voter base. In the rest of Spain, the growth seems to be primarily at the expense of PP. In the EP elections, C's tended to perform better in PP urban strongholds.  
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 04:26:55 pm by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2015, 04:50:00 pm »

Cheers! I was guessing they were eroding PP, but I knew they had moved populist left last Catalan election. I also kind of supposed that C's base in Catalonia was Castillian implants rather than the indigenous population, but that may not be true?

If with 'Castilian implants' you mean people living in metropolitan Barcelona and the region around Tarragona coming from other parts of Spain -primarily their descendants, because the big immigration was decades ago- the generic answer is yes. In the Catalonian inner countryside, where 'indigenous' population is supposed to be a majority, C's performs poorly. However, it's not strange to find that the sons and grandsons of immigrants from other regions are pro-independence. Catalonia is extremely complex and diverse.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2015, 03:51:55 am »

Tension between PSOE and IU paves the way for snap elections in Andalusia.


Andalusian premier Susana Díaz (PSOE) left open the possibility to call elections in Andalusia, the most populated region of Spain, bringing forward the end of term one year. In previous weeks, Díaz warned that  the continuity of her administration was conditioned  to not crossing what she calls the "red line", the "stability" of the PSOE-IU coalition which supports the regional government. Yesterday, she said by the first time that condition is not fulfilled: "we need a strong and stable government, and at the moment there's not stability". At the same time, regional papers spread that Susana Díaz (40) is 3 months pregnant, although she has decoupled electoral decisions of her pregnancy: "I'm very happy. It's something that concerns me and my family".

The estrangement between PSOE and IU is apparently motivated by the decision to call a referendum among the -always uneasy- IU membership on the continuity of the leftist party in the government. Socialists are upset with IU because that referendum means setting an "expiry date" to the coalition government. Also, another subject of discrepancy was that Susana Díaz prohibited deputy premier Diego Valderas (IU) to trip to Tinduf (Alger), in order to visit the refugee camps and giving support to the Western Sahara cause. Socialists understood that trip would suppose creating tension with Morocco, a key country for trade relations and security. IU regional coordinator Antonio Maillo said that order was "indecent". People at PSOE also blame national deputy Alberto Garzón for recent tensions, because the likely new lider of IU is pursuing an approach to Podemos. Regional polling suggests that Podemos emerges slightly less stronger than in other regions, but it's in a position to break the two-party system and be decisive in post-election deals. MEP Teresa Rodríguez emerges as the likely Podemos head in Andalusia. Rodríguez belonged to the Anticapitalist Left (IZAN), a small far-left party which recently agreed to dissolve into Podemos, and to the faction critic to Pablo Iglesias. Anyway Iglesias and critics seem to have reached an agreement, given that Podemos has some organisational problems in Andalusia.

However, others say the motivation is the ambition of Susana Díaz, who might be planning to run against Pedro Sánchez in the PSOE primaries which will decide the candidate in the next general election. Or maybe Susana Díaz, the woman "who apparently has more command than Pedro Sánchez in PSOE" (Iglesias dixit), wants to strengthen her position in Andalusia by catching rivals unaware.  There have been multiple disputes between the coalition partners, but recently the regional budget was passed and that was considered "the best signal of stability". A snap election would deprive IU to fulfill some promises, like basic income and a land bank, so the regional leadership is trying to calm down the waters. PP, on the other hand, has a new leader who is a complete unknown and it's not faring good in recent polls.
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2015, 06:48:14 pm »

Wow so the only regions not having elections this year are the Basque Country and Galicia? Intense.

Basque and Galician governments look stable, let us give thanks to the Lord.

Apparently, people in Pedro Sánchez's entourage take for granted that Susana Díaz is going to call soon -as soon as this week. The election would be in March (on day 22 or 29). Podemos and PP would be wrong-footed. The Pablo Iglesias' party is still consolidating its territorial implementation in small and middle Andalusian towns. PP's new regional leader, a certain Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, is a complete unknown -well, I know that he's a pupil of Soraya Sáez de Santamaría, the Spanish Deputy PM, and little more- and seems no rival for Susana Díaz. The IU regional coordinator denied yesterday that there's instability in the government, and said he's convinced that there's not going to be a snap election. We'll see.

In other news, former PP's treasurer Luis Bárcenas would be released on bail paying 200,000 Euro. Bárcenas, who has his properties seized, will try to collect money among family and friends.

Good news for Rajoy: IMF predicts that Spanish economy to grow 2%.

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/20/inenglish/1421749237_534488.html

Quote
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) improved its growth forecast for Spain for the sixth time in a row on Tuesday, predicting that the economy would expand 2% in 2015.

Only Spain and the United States saw their prospects revised upwards in an otherwise pessimistic report that lowered global economic growth forecasts to 3.5% for 2015 and 3.7% for 2016, a 0.3% drop for each year.

The new figures were released as part of the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report, which is produced quarterly.

The organization’s forecast coincides with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s own claims about Spanish economic growth this year.

And José María Aznar is going to come in rescue:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/20/inenglish/1421751020_638963.html

Quote
With a busy election year now underway, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his team have decided to use everything they have to reach out to their traditional voting base: the ultra conservatives.

The Popular Party (PP) fears a disastrous race and has called on its members to close ranks. Not only is the PP trying to appeal to conservatives by sending out messages to victims of terrorism, it also wants to give former Prime Minister José María Aznar a bigger role in the campaign (...)

(oh my God Grin )
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2015, 04:51:54 am »

Aznar is an asset to keep hardcore conservatives loyal to PP. Aside from that, Rajoy will focus himself on the narrative of the economic recovery and the "stability". Needless to say that Rajoy and Aznar dislike each other.

On the left, two lists will compete for the leadership in Madrid representing the two souls of Podemos -although they reject such terminology or talking of internal dissidence-. The advocates of preserving the asambleary spirit of the beginnings will be represented in the list topped by Miguel Urbán (Podemos Ganar Madrid), one of the founders of Podemos coming from the Anticapitalist Left and personal friend of Pablo Iglesias. Urbán calls himself being representative of the "protest Podemos", whereas the newly elected national leadership seems to be moving away from the initial characterisation of Podemos as protest party, in order to become in a government alternative.  The list backed by the Pablo Iglesias' team (Claro que Podemos) will be topped by Luis Alegre, candidate to be the next regional secretary general. Alegre is professor pf philosophy in the Complutense University and member of the founding core as well. He wants to turn Madrid in "the metaphor of Spain" for being one of the big places in dispute and "an absolute cornerstone in the political challenge". Alegre wants to organise the party to kick La Casta -which in Madrid has the makings of a mafia, he says- out the institutions. "The guideline is transforming the social majority in a political majority". Carolina Bescansa -member of the national leadership, sociologist and Podemos' polling chief- talked about "a Podemos to win and a Podemos to protest", remarking the differences between both candidacies.

In Barcelona, the Guanyem project led by anti-eviction activist Ada Colau made a draft agreement with ICV-EUiA, Podemos, Procés Constituent and Equo in order to run a list for the municipal elections. Colau will top the candidacy and the rest of list members will be elected in open primaries which will be called next month. The third place in the list is reserved to ICV. The current ICV spokesman in Barcelona Ricard Gomà decided to quit professional politics after 12 years as councilor. His renunciation helped to pave the way to the deal. The candidacy intends to connect with social movements and the construction of alternatives "already underway" in some neighbourhoods, in order to "return the city to the hands of its neighbours." Previous polls suggest that the list would be well positioned for the mayoral race.
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2015, 04:05:14 pm »

From which parties are the Podemos voters ?

Take a look into the thread linked below. Podemos is now clearly targetting the PSOE's voting base. The battle is on the centre-left.

http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=181490.100


Does Vox still exist Velasco? Why did they - and other rightist threats to PP fail?


Yes, it still exists. After failing to win a seat by less than 2,000 votes in the EP elections, it's like the Vox Party would have disappeared. I think some members have left and now Vox doesn't seem to represent a serious threat. However, there are still conservatives angry at PP because of corruption, going back on abortion or higher taxes (VAT and others). The government presented a tax reform that supposedly is going lower income tax this year (strange brackets; lowering includes the rich). I think the main threat is that C's manages to attract former PP voters on the centre or some angry people on the right. On the other hand, if C's manages to get into regional parliaments or councils in places like Madrid and Valencia, PP might find an ally. Who knows.

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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2015, 04:51:01 pm »

New poll: Sigma Dos / Tele Cinco.

PP 29.4%, Podemos 26.2%, PSOE 19.4%, IU 4.7%, C's 4.6%, UPyD 4.2%, ERC 2.7%, CiU 2.7%

http://www.electograph.com/search/label/Generales
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 04:51:51 am »

Podemos's surge took a large swathe from IU (the leftists - brown), UpyD (anti-nationalist liberals - purple) and healthy amounts from the major two. They also seem to have activated many youths who would otherwise not vote.
I would argue that Podemos actually gathered very few previous UPyD voters. The appeals are simply too far apart. Correct me if I'm wrong, Velasco ?

According to the CIS survey (October 2014), Podemos' voters come from: PSOE 28%, "Others" 22%, Abstainers 17%, IU 15%, PP 7% and UPyD 1% . The rest voted "Blank", "null" or "couldn't vote".

In relative terms, the calculation on "vote as remembered in 2011" variable shows that 46% of those who voted IU were switching to Podemos, 29% UPyD, 25% PSOE and 6% PP.

In short: former UPyD voters represent a very small share of the present Podemos' support, but in relative terms the loss has had a substantial impact in the small UPyD's voting base.

http://politikon.es/2014/11/05/podemos-y-la-centralidad-en-la-izquierda/

In that website you can read other analyses on the Podemos' vote, for example this one:

http://politikon.es/2014/12/10/quien-apoya-podemos-una-radiografia-de-votantes/

Podemos' support is solid among all groups of age except the elder (>65). By educational level, Podemos has a high support among people with secondary and university studies, but low among people with primary studies or those without studies. Podemos is strong in urban centres, but has a low level of support in small towns ( pop. <2000). The CIS' "social class" categories are quite strange, and I'm not sure if we can extract conclusions on them. In any case, the profile of Podemos' voters is interclassist.

This graph compares the profile of Podemos (purple), PSOE (red), PP (blue), IU (green) and UPyD (pink) on age ("edad"), educational ("estudios"), country/urban ("campo/ciudad") and socioeconomic ("clase social") categories:

« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 11:05:53 am by Velasco »Logged

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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2015, 05:22:23 am »

Lots of news these days. Luis Bárcenas gathered the bail money and leaves jail today. Opposition forces are indignant, while Mariano Rajoy and PP fear the "Bárcenas show".

Unemployment decreased by 477k in 2014, with nearly 444k new labour contracts (temporary and precarious in an overwhelming proportion).


PP reintroduces life sentence despite opposition rejection:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/01/21/inenglish/1421853995_633290.html

Quote
Despite objections from opposition lawmakers, ruling Popular Party (PP) deputies were expected late Wednesday to pass the government’s changes to the penal code which, among other things, will introduce life prison sentences for dangerous offenders with the possibility for review.

The bill is expected to go to the Senate before being sent back to Congress for final approval by summer, according to PP officials, who hold the majority in both chambers. Judges could start handing down life terms as early as next year.

Maximum prison terms in Spain are currently set at 40 years without review for the most dangerous crimes. Under the new law, review of life sentences can take place after an inmate serves between 25 and 35 years of their term and depending on the crime.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 05:56:33 am by Velasco »Logged

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