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Democracy

Spain’s Fearful Old Order Entrenches Itself

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The Spanish People’s Party is changing the electoral law in Castilla-La Mancha to ensure that it can maintain a provincial parliamentary majority even while receiving a minority of votes (1). In some countries, this is called “single party dictatorship” and opposed, but not in Spain. Here, it has gone practically without notice or interest by the public. Given that the People’s Party already has an absolute majority in 9 of Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities (including Castilla-La Mancha) and controls two more (Extremadura and Aragón), the potential for the PP to perpetuate itself in power in the “Spanish heartland” is too great to ignore.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the Partido Popular must adore Hugo Chavez. This sort of electoral rigging of the system is precisely the Bolivarian Revolutionary tactics that the PP accuses Podemos of wishing to implement should they ever win an election; but the Populares have never shied away from hypocrisy and corruption. They want to shield their interests and perpetuate their hold on power; they are not going to let a little thing like representative democracy get in the way.

pp control of ccaa

Between these electoral shenangins, the proposed “Citizen Security Law”(2), and the hollow promise of the coronation of a new king, Spaniards and those of us living in Spain are in a pretty fix. Felipe may mean well, but you know the old saying: ça plus change, ça plus la meme chose(3). The new king will quickly learn who wields real power in the country, and it is not the monarch. In any event, his reign is off to a great start: even as he was promising a new beginning with respect, dignity and dialogue for all Spaniards, his police were busy charging into and arresting peaceful demonstrators (4) who were calling for a referendum on the monarchy.

Yes, we can say that “en España empieza a amanecer” (5) (a new day is dawning in Spain).

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Sources and Notes:

(1) Lucio A. Muñoz, “El PP reforma la Ley Electoral en C-LM para asegurarse la reelección,” La Gaceta, 20 June 2014

(2) “La Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana, a debate,” La Gaceta, 26 March 2014

(3) The more things change, the more things stay the same.

(4) It was an unauthorized demonstration at Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, though there were no violent acts until police in riot gear arrived. A. López de Miguel, “La Policía carga contra la manifestación republicana en Sol,” Publico.es, 19 June 2014

(5) From “Cara al Sol” (Face to the Sun), the catchy little jingle that was also Spain’s national anthem during Franco’s de facto government

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