The results in full: the Spanish Election 2008 March 10, 2008Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
From ejh, (and many thanks) a guest post on the Spanish elections…
IU (not UI) and ERC did do badly, partly because – in the former case – they get penalised by the electoral system. (Gaspar Llamazares, in his resignation speech, said “no es justo” a lot.) But also partly because – in both cases – a lot of people switched to PSOE, as they are wont to do when there’s a close race and they want to keep out the Right. If I had a vote (I have one for regional and European elections but not for general elections) I might very well have sone the same myself.It was a bit nailbiting for a while on the night – for me, anyway – because the margin of victory, predicted to be quite wide when counting began, suddenly narrowed significantly and continued to narrow. I was thinking Christ, it’s 1992 all over again but as nobody in the PSOE camp seemed particularly perturbed I was able to keep my nerve without recourse to strong drink. Anyway, it doesn’t go on all night here, maybe because I don’t think votes have to be transported to a single constituency centre but are counted where they’re cast: voting finishes at eight and votes are more than ninety per cent counted by eleven or so. (Yes, they can get on with it when the mood takes them.)
Very pleased to see Rajoy get beaten – his campaign was pretty much Michael Howard in tone. Anybody reading the BBC reports (even if we discount this silliness will have got the impression that everybody was worried about their house prices collapsing and so on but that’s what happens when BBC correspondents only talk to well-off people in the capital city. In truth PSOE led throughout the campaign, were considered to have won the televised debates and the result was as expected. Though if it had been a PP councillor who was shot, I wonder.
Incidentally, Rajoy started calling for contracts for immigrants, at the start of the campaign, in which they (presumably not me, I’m white and Catholic) would have to agree to respect Spanish customs, which were helpfully unspecified by a party campaigning under the slogan “ideas claras” (clear ideas). Zapatero responded exactly as New Labour would not have, by calling the proposal “intolerable”. Not all left-of-centre parties are the same.
Partly, in Spain, this is because many people in the political and media establishment grew up under Franco and therefore retain a degree of idealism and commitment which is wholly lost in New Labour. But it probably also helps that there remains a leftwing grouping to which principled and disillusioned votes can go. I think parties such as these are extremely important if only because they help keep the left-of-centre party honest. They are a check on how far rightwards it can go. The fact that no such pressure exists in the UK or the US helps explain not only the rightwards shift (to put it mildly) of both Labour and the Democrats, but their sheer arrogance.
Other developments include the emergence (albeit only one seat) of UPyD, who are PDs if I ever saw them, and very fond of themselves they are too. PSOE will presumably govern with the Catalans, which will mean Rajoy (if he stays) will scream treachery every time Zapatero makes concessions without which he cannot govern. Psephologists may like this map which shows a rightwing centre and leftish fringes. Which is pretty much the story.