Spanish elections, seen from down under
I think our colleague Ben Goodger, who has already expressed in the past interesting opinions about european socialism, has it totally wrong about the recent spanish elections:
" Rather than think rationally, the Spanish population has acted out of fear. The general election should really have been postponed. When you let terrorists alter the way you live, you concede defeat. "
- First Ben, you can't tell Spaniards how to think or react. In fact, you don't even have any right to tell them. You don't live there, you did not live the attacks, you are too far away from the daily spanish life. Spain is a modern democracy, despite of being a kingdom, where the citizens express their will and that's the real greek concept of democracy. What _you_ are looking for is a different system. What _they_ are looking for is what they have.
- Second, postponing the elections was a way of conceding defeat. I am quoting your own words: "When you let terrorists alter the way you live, you concede defeat". In Spain, 900 people (not counting the recent 200) lost their lives in terrorist acts in the last 25 years. Europe has lived with terrorism without pause almost since the end of WW2. Spain deals with terrorism, separatism and a quite recent fascist history. So again, who are you to tell them how they should react? The answer is that simple: they react how they want.
- Then, according to many spanish political observers, JM Aznar's government really used last week's blasts in Madrid as a political mean of decreasing the Basque Separatist influence and increasing the glory of the Popular Party in its fight against terrorism.
People voted against the government for two reasons:
- most Spaniards feel the attacks are the result of the spanish involvement in the iraqi war with the US; the street was totally opposed to the war. I was in Spain at that time, I saw it. Even in small villages, people were demonstrating against the war. You can't go against the will of a so wide majority of your own population without facing trouble if you fail. Spaniards feel Aznar failed.
- most Spaniards, including many from Aznar's own party, are very upset by the political use of the blasts
So people did NOT vote like that because of fear, you totally missed the point: they voted like that because of anger. I do believe that what we saw yesterday in Spain is the sign of a healthy democracy, that Aznar played with fire against the will of the citizens. I also do believe that the Spaniards thought very rationally, and the vote is the direct continuation of the anti-war demonstrations that happened a year ago. Whether you like or not the result of the vote is another problem.