Y aquí va un breve resumen realizado para todos aquellos de allende Pirineos que necesiten tener un breve resumen de lo que pasa, y puede pasar, por estas tierras.. Noes fácil explicar que la que puede venir encima es la leche. O directamente leches. Yo ya ni intento explicarlo, mejor describirlo.
Next sunday there are general elections in Spain.
The mood is weird. Everybody knows that the right-wing party PP (Popular Party) will win. In a landslide. But how big is this landslide going to be? Everybody says a huge majority. So is there anything to see?
Well, maybe the victory is shorter than expected. This is something to see. Alternatively, you can also check if all the polls are right and it will be huge loss for the social-democrats PSOE. There is another little thing you can check: how the small parties will perform.
Let us start with a brief description of PP and PSOE positions and the small parties. Be aware, though, that the left is basically in the streets shouting "do not vote PPSOE". Unfortunately, all polls suggest that this is the sociological left, the one in the streets, you know.
The next president will be Mariano Rajoy, by default. Leader of the right-wing party for more than 8 years. He lost the last two elections. His future economic minister will probably be Cristobal Montoro. He has the same basic ideas as the german elite. So he will happily apply the mother of all fiscal contractions. Madrid is full of gossip about sending a message that Spain is with Germany, deflation and all.
It is highly probable that the PP rulers believe austerity and recession is what Spain needs. First, because it will keep the ECB and Germany happy, and second, because...well because in right-wing world fiscal consolidations do not generate unemployment. We all know unemployment comes from unions and high wages... and maybe lack of credit. Keynesian multipliers be damned. Oh I forgot, and the labor market, of course, the labor market, which is certainly disfunctional, but the noises are that they will follow the PSOE path making it more disfunctional. As we say in Spain, "va a ser la leche"; "it is going to be milk" :)
The opposition is under the order of Rubalcaba. He was the interior minister during Zapatero tenure and, lately, the vice-president. He has been making sense all the campaign, talking about the ECB role and even about how austerity "alone" is not enough. This is the most you can get from a social-democrat these days:austerity is not enough. In any case, the constant sentence against him on the left-corner has been "why did not yo do/say/defend this while you were in power?" The end of ETA terrorist group has been his major accomplishment, but nobody cares anymore.
The three large minor-parties are the ex-communist-left-wing Izquierda Unida (IU), the splinter social democrats with a Madrid-centered vision (Union Pueblo y Democracia UPyD), and the a brand new green party (Equo). I do not know much about them,nor how they poll or what gossip surround them since in Catalonia the left-wing and green go together (Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds ICV good polling) and UPyD has the field already occupied by PP and another small catalan party (Ciutadans CpC). So I let Miguel add an editor's note here.
Regarding the small, really small, parties who may give a surprise by getting one or three congressmen I would count five of them. First, the animal rights movement is making a lot of noise (PACMA), the Pirate party (copyright and open democracy) has a strong on-line presence in Catalonia, the Anticapitalists are fairly well organized around the country but quite never get through, the Empty-seat party ("vote and we will send noone") is making a lot of noise around the "indignados" movement and, finally, the fascist-racist groups are lately getting some media, voice and councils in some areas of Spain. Particularly, watch out Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), the racist Catalan party. Yes, Catalonia has a bunch of small parties.
And finally, let's go for some interesting stuff regarding the nationalistic right-wing parties in Catalonia (CiU), Basque County (PNV) and Canary Island (CC). They will all get representation, and all of them are keeping their votes or increasing them. There might be a surprise, though. Some polls suggest some movement towards the PP in all three areas (coming from left and right wing voters). Specially surprising is Catalonia where PP might be neck and neck with the CiU. If this is so, PP will win with a clear majority and will not need those parties at all. A pity since all of them share the same economic vision (PNV with some industrial touch). The key point, though, is the future discussion about fiscal transfers.
There is a large movement in some right-wing quarters to stop the demands of less financial transfers from Catalonia to the rest of Spain. Actually, a full recentralization is in the agenda given that the coming fiscal consolidation is a great opportunity to say that Autonomous Governments do not control the deficit. However, PP controls a lot of these regional government, and they badly need cash, so strong fiscal transfers will be needed from Madrid and Catalonia to the rest of the country (Basque Country has the right not to send fiscal transfers).. or there will be a lot of pain. Well, actually, there will be a lot of pain in any case, but changing the State structure is something that some PP members really want. The problem is that CiU is their natural ally, even if they do not need them. So nobody knows what will happen between two parties in full sync regarding austerity measures but with such a different interest regarding fiscal transfers. It will be very interesting to see, then, the total votes of PP in Catalonia.
Well... that is all, let us wait and see what Sunday brings.