Spain

On June 26 Spaniards were called to the polls in an atmosphere of polarisation and expectation. These elections came after months of political stalemate, where no party was able to form a government. The polls predicted that the radical left coalition Unidos Podemos (UP) would do well, coming second, and that the parties of the establishment would take a serious hit.

The June 26 election campaign in Spain is coming to an end. The coalition between Podemos and United Left seems poised to overtake the Socialist Party, and according to some opinion polls is closing the gap with the ruling right wing Popular Party, which remains in first place. What are the implications for the day after, and what is the program on which Unidos Podemos stands?

“I’d like Spain to get a stable government as soon as possible,” insisted president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, a few days ago. The reason why was explained by Eurogroup president Dijsselbloem: “Spain will have to present further adjustment.” European capital has already said that Spain’s budget is off-target and is demanding 10bn euro worth of additional cuts. However, forming the type of government the ruling class needs, is proving very difficult.

After the election results came out, one of the spokespersons of the incumbent right-wing party PP described Spain as “ungovernable”. This is an apt picture of the country at the moment.

On Wednesday, June 17, police arrested Alfonso Fernández “Alfon” who will spend 4 years in jail for his struggle and political ideas. Hundreds of people, youth and working class activists, came out to the San Borromeo parish church in the Madrid working class district of Vallecas to protest his arrest. He had been denied the right to hand himself over voluntarily. This is yet another person jailed in Spain for his political ideas.

Thousands came out to cheer the swearing in of new mayors in Spain on Saturday June 13, in scenes not seen since 1979 or perhaps 1931. The May 24 municipal and regional elections represented a serious setback for the ruling right wing PP. But the extent of their defeat was not clearly visualised until June 13, when mayors representing parties and alliances to the left of social democracy were sworn in, in 4 of the 5 largest cities in the country: Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia. The fifth, Seville, was taken over by a PSOE mayor, with the support of Podemos-backed “Participa Sevilla”, and United Left (IU).

Sunday the 24th of May will go down as a landmark in Spanish history. Municipal and regional elections were held across Spain (except in Galicia, Andalusia, the Basque Country and Catalonia, where the vote was for municipal but not for regional governments). The right-wing PP (People’s Party) was unseated from most of their historical strongholds. However, the sharp turn to the left in Spanish society is best exemplified by the rise of Podemos and the electoral fronts that it led, which won in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Coruña, Oviedo, Cádiz... In most big cities the Socialist Party (PSOE), only socialist in name, has been overtaken by Podemos and has now become a secondary

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Only a few days ahead of the local and regional elections, the ruling class have used all the dirty tricks in the book. Both Popular Unity lists for municipal elections and Podemos (standing in the regions) have been slandered with links to “drug dealing Venezuela” and accused of wanting to bring about “a Cuban-style dictatorship”. But, why so much panic?

On March 22 elections were held in the region of Andalusia, the most populated region in Spain and a key political arena. This is especially so because, firstly, these are the first elections in a year that will be marked by the ballot box: there will be municipal elections in May and general elections in December.

The PP government intends to approach the 2015 election by declaring, with great fanfare, that the crisis is over. It is true that GDP increased by 1.4% in 2014 and that net-employment increased by 417,500. This year GDP is expected to increase by more than 2%. Does this mark a fundamental change in the economic situation?