The two big political families know that they are facing hard times. Despite the traditionally strong national character that EP elections of the past have had in Spain, the lack of a strong political discourse – besides the useless thrusts they throw to each other everyday – has made the mainstream parties EP campaigns cast their eye abroad, whilst small parties put the focus in the bi-partisan relationship of Partido Popular (PP) and Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE).
Both are blamed for the ongoing austerity reforms and have sufficiently demonstrated that they are more concerned with businesses and markets than citizens. The EP and PSOE have provoked the disenchantment of Spanish citizens with both mainstream parties. Looking into the Spanish Candidates, Elena Valenciano and Arias Cañete, the citizen movement Democracia Real Ya (DRY) stated that “one could think that PSOE and PP despises European Parliament elections”. It is hard to believe that there was no one better to instigate the Spanish electorate to go to vote than these two ardent minions of their respective parties. Due to this lack of national reference on EU affairs, the Spanish EP campaign looks abroad for references.
Although they’ve also seized the moment to underline the necessity of change, the PSOE is aligning with Martin Schulz, the anti-austerity messiah, who is with the SPD in the German government, while the new French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (who has Spanish origins) is being used by both parties. On the one hand Valls is being used by the socialists to defend the notion that education should be preserved over austerity and those with big fortunes should pay more taxes. On the other hand the Partido Popular is seizing the “Valls effect” to highlight that there is only one possible policy against crisis, austerity and shortages. Javier Suarez Llana of Izquierda Unida – candidate for Asturias – warns about the “coincidence” that both candidates originate from Germany and Luxembourg. Bi-partisanship gives us the choice between financial powers: in the case of Martin Schulz, the country which exemplifies the ideological unity of the two big political families, and in Jean Claude Juncker, an ex-prime minister of one of Europe’s fiscal paradises.
Furthermore, the claim of change and regeneration (endorsed by smaller parties) of the current corrupt political scenario – one of the more important problems in Spain according to Spanish citizenship – will not be tackled. The “defacto” bi-partisan pact seems to be sealed with a non-agression agreement. Although small strikes and counterstrikes are being delivered everyday about Partido Popular’s black money, or the job layoffs scandal in Andalusia, PSOE and PP prefer to keep the dirt under the carpet. This is notorious and shameless.
According to IU, in a document on bi-partisanship, 81 pages of data show that both parties have behaved similarly in recent times in terms of economic and monetary affairs. A policy domain that one could imagine would be controversial in times of deep economic and final crisis – the EPP and the S&D groups have voted exactly the same in 66% of the cases documented. However the PSOE still lost, and are without a clear route in either the Spanish or European political sphere, managing to avoid confronting the German Government coalition. The EPPs response against small parties was immediate. In Juncker’s presentation in Spain, the EPP candidate for the EU Commission stated that confidence in the Spanish economy came back thanks to the structural reforms, the job market has started taking off, and the macroeconomic results are outstanding. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, thinking on the future Spanish elections in 2015, emphasised that small parties do not count and do not make any difference. Moreover, in the last few weeks there has been an electoral intention to relate these smaller political parties to populism, anti-politics, Europhobic, and disruptive forces. Miguel Arias Cañete went further, admitting in an interview that “he do[es] not discard a big coalition [of] PP-PSOE if the future general interest demand[s] it” and socialist ex-Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez agreed with this – against the current Socialist cabinets official position. It may be an EPP tactic to disrupt the leftist movement.
The two big mainstream parties are thus proven to be the same monster. The ideological abyss turned into a single step. Bi-partisanship, that biased version of Democracy, is being rooted in Europe. Democracy in Spain is being undermined with the help and support of the current European political structures. Mainstream political forces are turning the 25th of May into a anti small-political movements quest to perpetuate bi-partisanship. Nevertheless, this multiplicity of interests is at the core of the EU values. Remember… united in diversity. This formula has been proven to better address the political reality of Europe today: fostering dialogue and reflecting the diversity and political interest of 450 million European Citizens. But Spanish citizens demand a change rather than continuing with the two-headed creature that only produces crisis, disenchantment, penury, and xenophobia. Bi-partisanship has only been proven to perpetuate power in those who already hold it, through the only tool of smashing the general interest against the floor – democracy – and provoking the most absolute of emotions, boredom, to maintain turnout levels as low as possible for their own benefit.
“We need a Parliament with legitimacy to legislate, which would defend public services over the business interests. From the 25th of May onwards, we have the obligation to defend the citizenship and give back the power [which] has been taken from them”
Maria Piedad Castillo, Izquierda Unida Andalusia Candidate.