Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Which I Cautiously Welcome Our New President

We had a general election on Sunday. In fact it's been going on for weeks although I've done my best to ignore the more soap operatic aspects, which is what the media seem to be interested in. The Popular Party is going to win an absolute majority, with about 186 seats, meaning it won't have to reach a coalition agreement with any of the regionalist parties, who have their own interests and complicate the business of government considerably.

The outgoing Socialist party has collapsed, losing over a third of its seats. The Communists have risen to 11 seats, which is a pity, but it was to be expected that as support fled from the PSOE some of it should go to the far left. One thing we can be sure of that Rajoy is not responsible for the economic situation in Spain, but the signs are that he will blamed almost from the very start. And there are murmurings from the unions and other far left organisations that they are ready to get their thugs on the streets.

Rajoy looks like a human being, and more of a leader than many. Zapatero has always seemed to me to be a monkey put up to lose the 2004 election sartorially. He won it by pure chance and quite clearly didn't know what to do. Of course, it hasn't been him leading the country for the last seven years, but his organ grinders, and that's a problem because you don't know necessarily who they are.

The PSOE is a curious animal. Zapatero is still the leader of the party, even though he wasn't standing for President, and he hasn't resigned yet. It is assumed he will, but it isn't at all clear who will succeed him. I wonder why Rubalcaba, an experienced and reasonably decent type, was persuaded to commit political suicide by fronting the election. Was it really so that Pepe Blanco can become leader without a serious challenge? If it is, God help us at the next election. But these are witterings from the back of the circle. I am not within the Beltway, and will just have to wait and see like everyone else.

The true extent of the debt will be discovered over the coming weeks, as it was in Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia after the autonomous elections in May, and it may well be huge. Whether Rajoy can make any real difference to the situation, or we’ll just have to wait for liquidity to work its way through globally, is questionable.

So, for that matter, is the extent to which he will be allowed to act. The EU, and Angela Merkel in particular, have made it clear that the budget and other aspects of economic policy are a matter for them, and not for the Spanish Parliament. He has been summoned to receive instructions.

Even so, not much has changed. Life goes on much as before, which is as it should be.

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