CASSANDRA NASH

A weekly look

- and not entirely impartial reaction -
to the Spanish political scene

AUGUST is a weird month for employment. Statistics are promising early on thanks to the people engaged in July to serve beer to tourists and make hotel beds. Then August 31 arrives and most of the workers return to the out-o-fwork wasteland. Hauling Spain out of the economic crisis and…
KING FELIPE and the president of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy got the bird at the pro-peace, antiterrorist march in Barcelona. The placards and banners suggested that this was because Felipe cosied up to the Saudis - who doesn’t? - and sweet-talked them into arms deals while Rajoy’s government is…
SMALL anti-system party CUP, which shores up the Junts pel Si coalition in Cataluña’s regional parliament, enjoys making political gestures. After the jihadi killings in Barcelona the party shunned Mass in the Sagrada Familia Basilica and the minute’s silence that followed because King Felipe and Mariano Rajoy were there. CUP…
THE CUP party is anti-system, anti-capitalist and anti-everything except Catalan independence. Its 10 seats currently shore up Junts pel Si in the regional parliament because DXJpS - a coalition of centre-right PDeCat and Oriol Junqueras’ left-wing nationalists ERC - failed to win a majority in the 2015 regional elections. These…
THE latest survey by the public research institute, Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas (CIS), showed the PSOE socialists creeping back into second place. In a general election the PSOE would take 24.9 per cent of the vote, 2.2 percentage points more than its worst-ever June 2016 results. The Partido Popular (PP)…
THE PSOE socialist party would be in a very different place today if the late lamented Carme Chacon had scooped 11 more votes in February 2012 to become secretary general. And if Eduardo Madina had defeated Pedro Sanchez in the 2014 primaries the PSOE would be a little more popular…
PEDRO SANCHEZ is making eyes at the PNV Basque Nationalist party in hopes that its MPs in the national government in the next General Election would help the PSOE form a majority government. It’s not a far-fetched hope as the PSOE and the PNV have supported each other in the…
CATALUÑA is governed by Junts pel Si (Together for Yes), a coalition of pro-independence parties headed by Carles Puigdemont of PDeCat and Oriol Junqueras from the leftwing nationalists ERC. Junqueras is organising the referendum and making sure that all waverers are left by the wayside. Not that all the replaced…
SPAIN’S Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza shilly-shallied over choosing a successor to Anti-corruption Public Prosecutor, Manuel Moix. Moix was obliged to resign after he was linked to some dodgy decisions and found with a share in a Panama-registered company. The post has now gone to Alejando Luzon, an anti-corruption fiscal…
CATALUÑA once had a nationalist but centre-right party. That was the defunct Convergencia I Unio (CiU), which slowly foundered thanks to its co-founder, Cataluña’s regional president Artur Mas. He squandered an overall majority with a series of early elections, hoping each time to consolidate his position on independence. Not only…
JUAN CARLOS went from hero to zero in 2012 when he broke a hip while elephant shooting in Zimbabwe with his mistress. The economic crisis was blighting Spanish lives at that time and suddenly Spain’s king -then honorary president of the World Wild Life Fund - was seen as an…
FRANCE’S Socialist Party (PS) needs examining under a microscope, because it is now microscopically small. Far Left-leaning Benoit Hamon was trounced in the first round of the presidential elections and the party did no better in the recent parliamentary elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche-MODEM coalition won 350 of 577…
PIGS aren’t yet flying in the UK but closer inspections suggest that they are sprouting wings. Teresa May lost her overall majority and Jeremy Corbyn, darling of the Labour Party membership but not the Parliamentary Labour Party, scooped up the biggest share of the vote since Tony Blair. No doubt…
MANUELA CARMENA, mayor of Madrid, recently received the parents of Leopoldo Lopez, a political prisoner in Venezuela. In doing so, she has distanced herself from Podemos whose votes put her in City Hall, because Pablo Iglesias and the party hierarchy are close to Venezuela. Formerly wellpaid assessors to Hugo Chavez…
METROSCOPIA and CIS opinion polls found that support for independence inside Cataluña is at its lowest since rumblings were first heard years ago. Both the national government and Cataluña are deadlocked because the only thing that can settle the issue once and for all is a referendum. There is no…
CATALAN president Carles Puigdemont announced that if Cataluña cannot have a referendum it will declare independence anyway. If he and his government had a clear mandate they might be forgiven for assuming that all Catalans coincide with their own hunger and thirst for independence. But as the now defunct CiU…
NO surprises, then. Pedro Sanchez, long the darling of PSOE’s paid up membership - the militants according to Spanish usage for card-carriers - is once again party secretary general. To be strictly accurate he was the darling of only 50 per cent of them, receiving 74,223 votes from the 187,949…
IT’S best to be cautious when referring to Gibraltar because someone somewhere will always be offended, if not downright outraged. But it’s worth mentioning that Brussels has agreed to a Spanish veto on any agreements that involve Gibraltar during Brexit negotiations. Coming while Spain was making Gibraltar noises in the…
OF course Pablo Iglesias and Podemos want a vote of no confidence in Mariano Rajoy and his party. Proving how reasonable he was, Iglesias emphasised that he would raise no problems regarding an alternative candidate put forward by either the PSOE socialists or the ‘C’s,’ the centrists. “The candidate isn’t…
INSIDERS now doubt that Esperanza Aguirre will ever hold a prominent position again in the Partido Popular. One thing is certain: Spain’s president and PP leader Mariano Rajoy is unlikely to stick his neck out for Aguirre as he did for the late Rita Barbera. Aguirre challenged Rajoy’s leadership after…

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