Cosas del semanario financiero más influyente de Europa.
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“Se han creado 400.000 puestos de trabajo, el último año. España puede crecer un 2.5 % el 2015. Pero muchos españoles no ven nada de eso: el paro sigue siendo del 24 %”. España, locomotora económica con mucho paro y crisis política de fondo.
“La corrupción sigue siendo un problema tan grave como la economía”.
“No es probable que Susana Díaz tenga mayoría absoluta, en Andalucía, donde ni el PP ni Podemos parecen posibles aliados estables. La misma inestabilidad amenaza a España”.
Spain and Podemos
THEY were hailed as heirs to those who fought Napoleon’s troops with knives and stones in Madrid’s streets in 1808 or who brought down Spain’s monarchy in the 1930s. But the 150,000 people who gathered on January 31st in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol for a rally by Podemos (“We Can”), Spain’s answer to Greece’s Syriza party, were not street-fighters. Most were middle-aged and middle-class. Podemos may ramp up the emotions, but this battle will be fought at the ballot box.
It was an impressive turnout for a one-year-old party, although Podemos’s claim to a “social majority” remains unconvincing. A recent poll put it on just 24 %. Yet that is more than the main opposition Socialist party, PSOE; and it sets up a three-cornered race against Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) in a general election that is expected in November.
Podemos’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, talks of a country on its knees, humiliated by Germany and looted by corrupt politicians and neoliberal capitalists. Statistics give a rosier picture. Some 400,000 jobs were created in the year to January. Salaries are rising in real terms. Ana Botín, head of Santander bank, predicts that GDP growth will be above 2.5 %, making Spain a euro-zone star. Yet too many Spaniards see none of this. Unemployment is running at 24 %, and four-fifths of new jobs are on short-term contracts. The economy and jobs come top of the public’s list of worries, along with corruption.
Mr Rajoy’s advisers called Podemos “freaks” just nine months ago. But the PP takes it seriously now. At a recent convention, PP speakers railed against being dubbed casta: the Podemos term for corrupt politicians, bankers, businesspeople and even trade unionists. Yet a former PP treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, who had just been released on bail, claimed that Mr Rajoy knew all about dodgy party accounting.
At one level, the rise of Podemos helps Mr Rajoy by bleeding the PSOE. But disgruntled PP voters are also fleeing, often to other smaller parties. Podemos remains light on policy. The Andalucia election on March 22nd, which requires a manifesto, may change that. Internal debate on the economy revolves not just around shorter working weeks and a Syriza-style restructuring of public debt, but also possible haircuts on private debt.
The decision by Andalucia’s PSOE president, Susana Díaz, to advance the regional election was a response to Podemos. Squeezed on all sides, the party risks being pushed down like Greece’s Pasok. Andalucia, its heartland, is also home to many corruption scandals. If the PSOE cannot stem the tide there, it will fail across Spain when other regions and localities vote in May. Podemos faces a struggle in Andalucia, only its second-ever electoral outing after it took 8 % of the vote in the European election last May. Yet even if Ms Díaz wins, she is not likely to get an absolute majority. Neither Podemos nor PP look like stable future partners. A similar instability threatens not just Andalucia, but Spain.
Las negritas son mías.