Election year

26 May 2009

psoe cartel

The elections for the European Union parliament are being held this summer; they’re apportioned nationally, so that Spain votes for its Spanish representatives, and there are apparently E.U.-wide coalitions of national parties, on the general lines of right-conservative & social democrat.

Forests of placards, banners & posters are sprouting on busstops and alongside major roads, sponsored by  the two major Spanish national parties, the PP (Partido Popular) and the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obreros de España) – I just got up to have my morning coffee & neapolitana at the school café & heard a PP spot on the radio.

From my perspective on the streets of Jaén, the PSOE is everywhere – they have a series of posters modeled on the one pictured above at every other bus stop on my way to school in the morning. Two picture the leading parliamentary candidates – the other one is tagged, Trabajar por la paz VS. Sembrar el miedo – one has Zapatero & Rajoy facing off (Vencer la crisis VS. Approvecharse la crisis), and the rest are words on colored backgrounds, red for the PSOE, light blue for the PP. I particularly liked: Trabajadores VS. Especuladores. (they have a flikr photostream here, for those of you interested in critiquing graphic design)

“Este Partido Se Juega En Europa” is, as far as I can tell, a kind of pun – both, “This game is played in Europe” and “this party plays in Europe.” PSOE has been in national power since 2004, headed by Zapatero (literally, “Shoemaker”), though they took a hit in last fall’s regional elections, and it seems to me that Zapatero has become generally unpopular.

pp cartel

The PP’s tag is, Ahora soluciones, & their talking points since I’ve been in Spain have centered around opposition to an expansion of autonomous governance in Catalonia & to negotiations with the ETA in Basque country – they’re formulating themselves as a Spanish national party with a focus on Spanishness that had previously been avoided, I think, since Franco. Their ads feature the Spanish flag. They’ve been the opposition party since Aznar’s unflagging support of Bush’s foray into Iraq got him kicked out of office in 2004 (after 8 years in power; he also privatized, among other companies, Télefonica). A whole raft of regional PP figures have been indicted over the last year in a huge corruption scandal revolving around skimming millions off of  public works contracts – the indictment comes from the same Spanish judge, Garzón, that took down Pinochet, & has recently tried to indict members of the Bush administration for their role in authorizing the torture of Spanish citizens in Guántanamo.

Nationally, Rajoy (PP opposition leader) blames Zapatero for la crisis and for Spain’s record-high unemployment; he also accuses him of stealing the PP’s ideas to solve the crisis (this gets propagated a lot on talk radio), and of not having any plan of his own. Their leading EU parliamentary candidate’s first photograph on his personal campaign website is a meeting with the Pope; the second, of the candidate with a baby.

[disclaimer: I don’t pretend to know much about Spanish politics aside from what I’ve picked up from the environment over the last 8 months; errors, misrepresentations, etc. are mine. I just look at posters every day when I take the bus.]

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One Response to “Election year”

  1. Dave Says:

    [disclaimer: I don’t pretend to know much about Spanish politics aside from what I’ve picked up from the environment over the last 8 months; errors, misrepresentations, etc. are mine. I just look at posters every day when I take the bus.]

    I don’t even try here. Ridiculous political tension.
    From what I’ve heard, if you get a cab driver talking about the elections or whatnot, they’ll go on even after they drop you off. Maybe I should record.


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