People’s Party Should Leave Catalan Media Alone

Night falls on Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya, Spain, September 11, 2017
Night falls on Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya, Spain, September 11, 2017 (Sergio Marchi)

Spain’s conservative People’s Party is overreaching in its attempts to silence pro-independence voices in the Catalan media.

  • The party has reported a Catalan radio journalist, Mònica Terribas, to the Electoral Commission for the province of Barcelona for using the terms “imprisoned ministers” and “president-in-exile” in a broadcast.
  • The same commission earlier banned Catalan public television from using those phrases to refer to separatist leaders who have been taken into custody or fled to Belgium.
  • It also accepted a request from the People’s Party to stop the Barcelona city council from coloring buildings and fountains in yellow to indicate support for the restoration of home rule.
  • Xavier García Albiol, the Catalan People’s Party leader, has proposed to shut down the region’s public television station, TV3, and relaunch it with “normal and plural” journalists, by which he means journalists who oppose secession.
  • Esteban González Pons, a conservative Spanish member of the European Parliament, tells El País there may be a role for NATO in countering Russian “fake news” about the Catalan crisis. Read more

Parties Agree to Reduce Deficit, Raise Minimum Wage in Spain

Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos arrives for a meeting in Brussels, July 7, 2015
Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos arrives for a meeting in Brussels, July 7, 2015 (European Council)

Spain’s ruling conservative party announced a series of budget policies on Friday that are meant to placate the European Commission and expected to pass parliament with the support of the opposition Socialists.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told reporters the government that came to power in October had agreed to reduce the deficit by another €16 billion, mostly by raising taxes. The extra austerity measures should bring the shortfall down to 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2017.

Spain has consistently missed its fiscal targets since the start of the European debt crisis. The European Commission has always issued stern statements but never used its power to fine Madrid. Read more

Spain’s Socialists Agree to Give Rival Rajoy Second Term

The federal committee of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party meets in Madrid, October 23
The federal committee of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party meets in Madrid, October 23 (PSOE)

Spanish Socialist Party leaders decided on Sunday to give conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy a second term, ending ten months of political gridlock at the risk of growing their far-left competitors.

Rajoy has won two elections in a row since December but each time fell short of the required majority. In order to stay in power, he needed the Socialists — the second largest party — to abstain in a confidence vote. Read more

Rajoy’s Confirmation Hinges on Socialist Abstention

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015 (PSOE)

Spain’s caretaker prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, is due to seek parliament’s support for a second term on Tuesday but knows that his chances are slim.

“There is a serious risk of having to call a third election in the same year,” he warned supporters of his conservative People’s Party in Galicia this weekend.

Spaniards returned to the polls in June after the parties failed to put together a coalition government in the wake of the election in December. Neither major party commands an absolute majority, however, and the left-wing Socialists have said they will not vote for the right-wing Rajoy. If they refuse to budge, a third election may be inevitable. Read more

Center-Right Parties Explore Accord in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015 (La Moncloa)

Chances of Spain’s two right-wing parties teaming up to form a coalition government improved on Wednesday, when Mariano Rajoy, the acting prime minister, agreed to submit the demands of the smaller Ciudadanos party to a membership vote.

Rajoy told a news conference that he would ask his party’s executive committee, which is made up mostly of loyalists, to vote next week on whether or not to accept six political reforms demanded by Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera.

Rivera’s proposals include ending judicial privileges for elected officials, canceling amnesties and pardons in corruption investigations and limiting the prime minister’s mandate.

He also wants Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party to expel members who have been implicated in graft scandals. Read more

Spanish Parties Need to Get Their Act Together

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is about to deliver a news conference in Madrid, July 13
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is about to deliver a news conference in Madrid, July 13 (PP)

It’s exactly one month after Spain’s second election in half a year and zero progress appears to have been made toward forming a government. There are even suggestions of calling a third election to break the gridlock.

That shouldn’t be necessary. Mariano Rajoy, the acting prime minister, has twice now won the most seats in parliament. His conservative People’s Party expanded its plurality last month, although it once again fell short of an absolute majority.

Spain’s parties aren’t used to coalition government, but the mainstream Socialists and the liberal Ciudadanos showed initiative in February when they formed a center-left pact. The alliance failed, but it should be possible for one of the two parties to team up with the conservatives this time. Read more

Rajoy Gets Closer to Second Term as Liberals May Abstain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and members of his cabinet attend a session of parliament in Madrid, June 11, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and members of his cabinet attend a session of parliament in Madrid, June 11, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, edged closer to winning a second term on Tuesday when the head of the fourth largest party in parliament suggested they might abstain in a confirmation vote.

Albert Rivera, the leader of the liberal Ciudadanos, told reporters after a meeting with Rajoy that the country needs to “get moving” and cannot have a third election.

“We’re not going to be in government,” he said, “but we’re realistic, responsible and constructive.” Read more