26 February 2008

Election Time

And the world spins madly on...

As a political junkie, I love election times. Reading about the strategy, watching the way candidates try to sell themselves, and watching the real drama play out. This year has been especially great because of the historic battle in the US. But there is actually election action outside of the US..in Spain!

On March 9th, Spain will go to the polls in what is shaping up to be a very close and important election. The current socialist government and their leader Zapatero are slightly ahead in the polls, but it is anyone´s game as both the anti-immigrant, hard on terror right party PP and its leader Rajoy and the socialist, human rights touting party, PSOE are neck and neck. (Note bias.) Unlike the US however, political debates are not a common thing here in Spain. In fact, the last debate was 15 years ago! Thus, last night was a big night as a political debate between the two candidates was held. Over 50% of Spanish tv viewers were tuned in to the tense exchange. From what I understood, I thought PSOE did a better job, but it seems that people are mixed on the actual result. The big issues are the economy, terrorism especially with ETA the seperatist/terrorist group (depending on your viewpoint) from the Basque country in north Spain, and seperatism (a lot of regions in Spain want more independence). I´ve had a great time learning more about Spain and its interesting difference through the debates and the election, and have starting reading ¨The New Spaniards¨by John Hooper that gives a great, easy-to-read view of modern Spanish history. Highly recommended.

So, this fascinating country is facing a big decision. It´s politicians definitely aren´t as polished or practiced at public speaking or appearing on TV as in the US (to my surprise they try to hold up graphs proving points instead of just speaking with confidence), but they are getting a lot of attention as EL DEBATE, CARA a CARA is occupying the tv´s of spain...including mine. There is one more debate. We´ll see how it goes. I´m casting my sympathy vote for the guy who at least tries for peace with ETA, pulled troops out of Iraq, and who legalized same sex unions. Guess that shows where my vote will be come November.

1 comment:

Erik R. said...

I watched about as much of the debate as I could stand (being unable to physically strangle Rajoy from my sofa). All my preconceptions before the debate were exactly confirmed. To sum up my perceptions of what happened:

Rajoy kept giving statistics about how Spaniards feel that things are worse than they were with the PP was in power.

Zapatero kept giving actual data about how there are more jobs, less unemployment, higher salaries, etc. with the PSOE in power.

And of course the Spaniards feel bad about how things are going because they are continually being told by the PP that we're all going to hell in a handbasket.

More on my opinions about this stuff here.