Podemos and Ciudadanos hit the headlines with their election proposals
Official campaigning for the general election in Spain on 26th June has not yet started, but the press and media are dominated by the efforts of the four main political groups to sway indecisive voters as electoral.
On Wednesday many of the headlines were made by Podemos, the new party which has in some quarters been described as an “anti-austerity” movement and which appears now to be living up to that label less than was the case a prior to the inconclusive December election. According to their campaign manifesto, which was published this week imitating the format of an Ikea catalogue (see image), the party now proposes to increase public spending by 30,000 million euros less than was the case six months ago, justifying the adjustment by reference to the slow-down in Spain’s economic recovery since the turn of the year.
At the same time, the reduction could be seen as a response to the announcement that the EU will require a further “adjustment” in public spending in Spain of 8,000 million euros.
The overall goal of Podemos is still to increase public spending by 3.5% of GDP every year, and party spokesman Nacho Álvarez implied that a Podemos government would resist any fine imposed by Brussels, while also explaining that the multiplier effect of increased spending would be to reduce Spain’s unemployment rate from 20% to 11% by the year 2019. The Podemos manifesto also incorporates points from the program of the IU party, with whom they have joined forces for the forthcoming election.
Meanwhile, Albert Rivera, the leader of Ciudadanos, the other new party in the national parliament, has proposed that tourism should become a priority of the State and that the English language should be used in all public education. Speaking at a press conference in Palma de Mallorca, Sr Rivera explained that this would make Spain and the Spanish more competitive.
As for the more traditional political parties of Spain, Pedro Sánchez of the PSOE has proposed gifting two years of social security contributions to new mothers, while acting President Mariano Rajoy of the PP has responded by warning that Spain is in no mood for jokes or experiments, requiring instead a continuity of policy which only his party can provide.
And all of this, remember, comes before the campaign starts on Friday.