As of 6 P.M. CET, Bloomberg's Spanish correspondents are reporting that 61.1% of
the Spanish population has voted today in the Spanish national elections. Up for
grabs is the primary leadership of a country with a mixed bag of a steadily growing
economy coupled with one of Europe's worst unemployment rates.
However, a large number of Spaniards are somewhat ambivalent about the whole
political process despite (or perhaps because of) a run up that has been marred
by both vicious political mudslinging and the recent assassination of Socialist
lawmaker Isaias Carrasco.
The two warring factions are:
* the incumbent Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE; otherwise known as the
Socialist Party) and their head honcho, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
* the rival Partido Popular (PP; otherwise known as the Popular or People's Party)
and their great cheese, Mariano Rajoy
While there are leaders of the parties, I'm told that the people vote for the
party and all the members on the ticket, not just for a lone candidate, or so
my students tell me.
One of the fascinating things about being an English teacher in Madrid is that
I constantly get to talk with a wide variety of children and adults from
differing political and social backgrounds. From them, I get to see a tiny
sliver of the various opinions about Spain and its people's needs and desires.
Oh, and I get to ask them almost anything. This means I get to hear various
opinions about the political process, the candidates, and the problems that
grip Spain. And from this sliver, I hear one primary thing; get this election
done and over with so we can move on. Despite the country's impressive growth
since the end of the Franco era, many want more.
There's still the matter of this terrorist group ETA ("Euskadi Ta Askatasuna -
Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom")at the end of the day. And there
are still concerns about the water supply as well. And while unemployment
rates have gotten progressively better, there are real concerns about how
U.S. mortgage foreclosures may potentially affect the Spanish economy. So
many Spaniards crave stability regardless of whether Señor Zapatero or
Señor Rejoy usher in that stability.
But let's be honest; despite their diversity, my students only represent a
small population of Spain. The reality is that Spain is an old country, and
it's not that long ago that it was a dictatorship. There are still many people
from those times, many older, "conservative" folks still marked by their
experiences from the Franco era. And Zapatero's "legalization of same-sex
marriage, adoption rights for gays and lesbians and a more lenient divorce
law" hasn't sit very well with many folks. Because of this, the PP and
Rajoy are an attractive option, even if it's somewhat "reminiscent of the
For now, many are keeping a close watch on the El País website as
well as other sources to determine who will steer the country to new
growth and around obstacles. But know that that Spain is no exception
in the "politicians and politics are awful" camp. There are just as
many citizens who would prefer that their Sunday not get interrupted
by such things.
X-Posted from my account, lostraven