22 November 2011

So... the elections took place

Less than four years ago, on a spring Sunday, I was in a Hotel right in front of the Congress of the Deputies in Madrid celebrating the election of Rosa Díez. It was a big success given the circumstances and a glimpse of the outrage that years later sprouted throughout Spain. My home country needed a change and I was very enthusiastic about the idea of having someone to say so in the Lower House.

However, years have past, Spain is now at the edge of the abyss and nothing seemed to win on Sunday but that system so needed of change. Spanish people must still keep some faith in it, otherwise they wouldn't have given the conservatives an absolute majority. Despite the impression it may give, the new government should face reality and assume that Spain not only needs major economical reforms. It needs political change and that's not any more a change in government. The reasons to reform the electoral system and the legislative power remain there. Sure they will be hidden some time now that the government will not need to compromise in Parliament but future minority governments (the most likely in Spain) could face the same problem any time soon. Small regional parties keep getting an outrageously disproportionate number of seats. On the other hand, regional power is still unbalanced. Spain could successfully adopt a similar system to the German one: an Upper House with national powers and a Lower House to represent regional governments. Not to mention the reform of the judiciary or the Constitutional Court.

All these essential reforms will not take place again due to the same reason. The current system benefits the ruling party the most. The conservatives control now most of the regional governments, will have the national government soon thanks to an unjust electoral system and will control the Constitutional Court and the judiciary as soon as Rajoy is in office. However, the survival of the regime in the long-term will need at least some of these reforms. No one knows what the circumstances for this to happen will have to be though...

Spain need for change seems now higher than three years ago and even more unlikely but for, some reason, I am still enthusiastic enough to sit down and write about this. Maybe we shouldn't forget that the conservatives didn't really increased their support that much... You only need to have a look at Facebook to see that the political mood of the Spanish people is changing. The demand for these reforms is only getting higher. There's still room for hope.

BBC News, 20 November 2011

16 November 2011

General Elections in Spain

This Sunday we will see an uncommon show nowadays in Europe: a government is due to fall because of a democratic elections and not because of the turmoil in the financial markets. However, the reasons behind this fall is clear: the economic crisis plus many other polemic decisions taken by the current government will finally have their effect.

But what is the future for Spain after these elections though? According to the surveys, the conservatives will get an absolute majority. This means change in government and, specially, that there will not be need for parliamentary compromises although it does not imply that we will see big changes. The structural problems will remain the same: lack of productivity and industry, high unemployment and stagnation... Not to mention politics. Spanish democracy really needs a reform: a new electoral bill, a reform of the legislative power, a reform of the regional system and new measures against corruption mainly. None of these will probably take place: both the socialists and the conservatives find themselves very comfortable in a regime that only they can rule thanks to many Spaniards scared of voting a different party or not voting at all.

But there's something sure. The policies drawn by "Europe" since 2009 will follow even harder. Spanish people will get used to austerity. After all, the country has to pay now what we couldn't afford before but cheerfully enjoyed. A long term solution cannot rely on the current institutions or even economic and labour culture though. Spain should face a deep change, much wider than changing a government. It's naïve thinking that the usual politicians, those that have been there for years, even decades, including Mariano Rajoy, can drive a truly change.

01 November 2011


Benito Pérez Galdós
187 páginas.

Benito Pérez Galdós es un autor de obligada lectura, más aún para un español. Su prosa es excepcional. Le gusta escribir con artificio, con una gran riqueza léxica y, al mismo tiempo, consigue una armonía que embauca al lector. A tanta calidad literaria hay que añadir que es un excelente cronista de su tiempo. Por todo ello, la lectura de la Corte de Carlos IV resulta fascinante.

En esta novela, la segunda de la primera serie de los Episodios Nacionales, Gabriel Araceli nos cuenta cómo vivió aquellos momentos de la historia de España, allá por 1807, cuando aún era un adolescente. A través de este humilde narrador, Galdós nos sumerge en el mundo indeciso e inocente del joven Gabriel, en sus inquietudes sobre su futuro y, mejor aún, nos trasmite de forma fidedigna lo que era aquella España, no sólo la historia sino, mejor aún, su intrahistoria, con los vicios y virtudes de los personajes cotidianos de ese tiempo. El lector se ve como un espectador privilegiado de ese viejo reino; de sus luchas intestinas dentro del teatro (lo tradicional contra los clásico, el antiguo régimen contra la modernidad, lo propiamente español contra lo afrancesado); de sus intrigas y sus conspiraciones palaciegas (el Escorial); del descontento de un pueblo llano que sólo ve a un advenedizo sin mérito empeorando el gobierno de los asuntos de la Corona y que busca cualquier clavo ardiendo al que confiarse mientras los estados privilegiados sólo se interesan por sacar tajada, cada uno tomando partido bien por el Rey padre bien por Fernando…

No cabe duda de que para un amante de la historia se trata de la experiencia más deseable. Viajar a 1807 por un módico precio y conocer el sentir de los españoles de entonces y lo mejor: cómo vivían en esa sociedad que, sin saberlo, veía morir el Antiguo Régimen y sucederse importantes acontecimientos para la historia.