It’s now just over 24 hours since we knew for sure that our next Prime Minister would be Mariano Rajoy, leader of the PP – the Conservative Popular Party.
With the country in an unprecedented economic mess, people are desperate for him to wave a magic wand and make all their problems go away: no more unemployment, no more businesses folding, no more houses being repossessed. Indeed, today there has been a Twittersphere call for him to resign: #dimiterajoy which does seem a little premature, considering his length of time in the job.
Even the most short-lived English monarchs got more time on their thrones, before being sent to the Tower.
For those who didn’t have the pleasure of (or time for) wading through the newspapers today, with their pages and pages of reports, facts, figures, statistics, graphs and pie-charts, I will distill the pertinent facts as follows (for more detail on my home region, Andalucia, see my other blog).
The PP won embarrassingly easily, as predicted, taking 44.6% of the vote, with the Socialist PSOE winning less than 30% – the price for shocking mismanagement of the economy by current PM (in name only) Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
I learned a new word over the past couple of days – escaño – seat in parliament. The PP got 186 to 110 for the PSOE. The Izquierda Unisa (IU), the “United Left” (an interesting concept in itself, given their history of the exact opposite) did well, winning nine new escaños – its share went up from two held in the previous parliament. By the vagaries of the Spanish electoral system,
the IU won nearly 700,000 more votes than the CiU, the Catalan nationalist party, yet it has five fewer seats;
the UPyD suffered a similar fate, winning the same number of seats as a party with nearly a quarter as many votes. Many people today are complaining via Twitter about the unfairness of the vote allocation, and the skewed result which does not seem representative of the people’s wishes. The IU leader said they should have won 25 seats.
On the map showing the results, with the two parties’ colours, you’ll have noticed two small patches of red in the sea of blue. The one in the top right is Barcelona, and the last surviving outpost of Socialism in this national election is right here in Seville (the others are regional parties). Despite losing 200,000 votes, the PSOE managed to hang on to its traditional heartland. It has always been the main city of left-leaning Andalucia, which fared badly under Franco, who saw it as full of two peasants whose produce filled his plate after a hard day’s hunting, and nothing more.
Friends here in Seville have compared this map to the map of Gaul showing one indomitable village which held out against the Romans, which is a delightful if not particularly accurate comparison if you grew up loving Asterix books, as I did.
I’m going to mention a one-to-watch: the IU’s new man in Malaga: Alberto Garzon.
He’s a classic example of the over-qualified, highly intelligent young people who make up such a depressingly large proportion of the five million parados here in Spain.
An unemployed economist, Alberto is just 26 years old, and was a leader of the 15M pro-democracy movement in Malaga. He managed to win 9% of the vote in Malaga province – over 60,000 votes. He sounds like a hope for the future: let’s hope he can make his voice heard in the Popular melee which will be our next parliament, with a nobbled opposition.
Going back to Rajoy, one of his first actions at his party meeting this evening was to appoint Soraya Saenz de Santamaria as the person to oversee the handover of power, scheduled for 13 December, so the PP can start geting on with the job in hand before we all go off to eat our mariscos and drink our cava.
I have a serious problem with Soraya. She looks like she should be bossing the sixth form hockey team about. Her expression and general demeanour are those of a mean teenager who likes stirring up trouble. She likes to badger – at least, she did when she was in the opposition; to be fair, that was her job. Let’s see if she changes now she’s in power. She’ll probably be even more smug and begging-for-a-slap.
In the meantime we watch and wait, with baited breath, for our socks to be knocked off by the brilliance and innovativeness of Rajoy’s nation-saving economic measures. ¡A por ellos, Mariano!