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Sunday, May 24, 2015 6:44 PM

Angry Voters Hand Spain’s Ruling Party Heavy Regional Losses; Podemos Scores Upset Victories in Barcelona, Madrid

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The Spanish economy will supposedly grow at three percent. The bad news is Spanish employment is well over 20 percent and is also expected to stay that way.

Angry voters unhappy with that setup took it out big time on PP, the party of prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

Please consider PP Suffers Heavy Regional Losses.

Spain’s ruling Popular party suffered heavy losses in Sunday’s string of regional and local elections, as two upstart movements made dramatic gains at the expense of the country’s established parties.

The PP still emerged as the biggest party in nine of the 13 regional contests, but its ability to head governments at both the regional and local level was severely curtailed. According to preliminary results, the party of Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, failed to obtain an absolute majority even in its historical strongholds — meaning it can govern only with the support of at least one of its rivals.

The PP suffered a particularly marked decline in Madrid. Esperanza Aguirre, its high-profile candidate for mayor, beat a coalition of leftwing groups only by the smallest of margins but has little prospect of forming an administration. A similar leftist alliance also scored an upset triumph in Barcelona, meaning Spain’s two principal cities are now likely to be led by a pair of charismatic, leftwing women from outside the political establishment: Manuela Carmena in Madrid and Ada Colau in Barcelona.

The ruling party’s losses were mostly the gain of two political newcomers, the anti-austerity Podemos movement and the centrist Ciudadanos party. Both were on track to enter regional parliaments in force in several key regions, potentially handing them the role of kingmakers. Podemos was also the leading force behind the two municipal victories in Madrid and Barcelona.

Sunday´s elections took place in 13 of Spain’s 17 regions and in more than 8,100 municipalities, providing a crucial test of the national mood ahead of general elections later this year. The overall picture, based on preliminary results, confirm what polls have been saying for months: frustrated voters are turning away from the established parties in ever greater numbers, converting Spain’s decades-old two-party regime into a much more volatile four-horse race.
Like Syriza in Greece, Podemos had been running on an anti-austerity platform. Podemos went even further, threatening to exit the euro.

Voters simply do not believe in the recovery. Nor should they with youth unemployment near 50% and overall unemployment near 23%.

For discussion of Spanish unemployment, please see Spain's Unemployment Rate Increases to 23.7%; 114,300 Jobs Vanish in First Quarter, Public Sector Jobs Rise.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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