With Syriza in power in Athens, and Podemos showing its strength on the streets of Madrid, there is a growing sense that a southern coalition of anti-austerity parties in Europe will overturn the existing dogma of economic discipline, largely upheld by Brussels and the north. There is cause to rejoice in the fact that stringent belt-tightening is now being questioned as the best way to pull Europe out of its doldrums. But the rise of these radical political forces tends also to fragment still further an already fragmented continent. In northern Europe, they attack the establishment from the right; in the south, from the left. The May 2014 European parliamentary elections were the first sign of a European Union-wide drive towards a populism which is now taking root in domestic politics across the member states, and 2015 will be a year of many general elections in the EU. Unlike the far-rightwing parties that are flourishing in northern Europe, Syriza and Podemos have … [Read more...] about The Guardian view of Europe’s populists: left or right, they are united by a worrying xenophobia
Spain general election
Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square belonged to los indignados – an impromptu revolt of thousands, camping out for weeks and rallying against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people. On Saturday, up to 100,000 people again filled the square, determined to show the world that 2015 would be the year that the change demanded by the indignados would come about. Less than a week after Greece elected an aggressively anti-austerity government, the leaders of Spain’s own insurgent force, Podemos (We Can), urged supporters to take to the streets in a show of strength as it embarks on a tumultuous electoral campaign. “Tick tock, tick tock,” chanted thousands as they occupied the broad avenues of central Madrid, counting down to a year packed with municipal, regional and general elections. Just a year since its creation, Podemos has vaulted to the top of opinion polls, threatening to bring an end to the bipartisan political … [Read more...] about 100,000 flock to Madrid for Podemos rally against austerity
Things move fast in Spanish politics nowadays. So fast that pollsters are having trouble keeping pace with the mood of the electorate. Not long ago, the world was fascinated with the spectacular race to the top of the new anti-austerity, anti-corruption party Podemos, which became a political force in a matter of months. But if that’s the last you heard about Spanish politics, then you need to catch up. Podemos is still riding high in the polls, but its progress has been stalled by allegations of corruption, and there’s a new party of the moment, Ciudadanos (Citizens), which is also rising spectacularly. In fact, the latest polls show four parties – the conservative People’s party, the Socialists, Podemos and Ciudadanos – practically tied for the first position in the next general election. So what has gone wrong for Podemos? It is often said that Podemos was the brainchild of the 2011 Indignados movement, the forerunner of Occupy. Actually, it was more … [Read more...] about What has gone wrong for Podemos?
When Spain was under siege from French troops, it was here in the southern city of Cádiz that the country’s lawmakers took refuge, defiantly drawing up Spain’s first constitution in 1812. In it, they outlined principles that were ground-breaking for the time – enshrining equality before the law, tax reform and doing away with feudal privileges. More than two centuries later, those behind the anti-austerity, anti-establishment party Podemos in Cádiz province are hoping this area will once again lead the way in laying the groundwork for radical reform. “It’s about time we gave the system a jolt,” Eladio Doallo Viche explained as he handed out flyers in a busy street market. A telecom engineer who has not been able to find work, he rattled off statistics: unemployment in the province is 42% – the highest in Spain – rising to 69% for those under the age of 30. “It’s horrible. Everyone can see that we need a … [Read more...] about Podemos on the campaign trail: ‘It’s time we gave the system a jolt’
We made it. Election day. The party leaders have given their final pitches, rallied their last rallies, and now here we are. We’ve got the news you need to get started today and you can follow live coverage of events from our indefatigable politics team, who will be working all day and well into the wee hours to bring you all the action – and the results. What’s going on? Well, the campaign is finally over. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks in which the leaders have travelled across the country, stolen phones, hidden in fridges, refused to apologise for their party’s handling of antisemitism when repeatedly asked by Andrew Neil, refused to be interviewed by Andrew Neil at all, posed in boxing rings, posed bulldozing a menacing tower of styrofoam blocks, watched as their confident promise of becoming prime minister quickly became a vanishingly small prospect, or as their pledge to help the Tories by pulling out of seats backfired. Both Boris Johnson and … [Read more...] about Thursday briefing: Now for the only poll that counts