Rajoy’s rocky ride. What’s next for Spain?
Spain’s Rajoy has had his first 100 quite bumpy days. The honeymoon is over as reality strikes the Spanish economy. What are the future challanges for the new president as austerity must be implemented, the unemployment figures continue going higher and the banking sector falls further into the abyss? Via El Pais.
Four months after general elections in which Spaniards gave an absolute majority to the Popular Party, citizens are deeply discouraged and skeptical, according to opinion polls. An avalanche of austerity measures and budget cuts imposed by the government, which have had serious social repercussions, has not managed to calm foreign investors, and the constant barrage of bad news about the state of the economy and the financial sector, the relentless rise in unemployment (now more than 5.5 million people) and the deepening economic depression has worn Spaniards out. Day after day, they are witness to the extent to which Mariano Rajoy is prepared to go in order to regain the confidence of the markets; and day after day, their hopes of solid results – and not just momentary relief – are dashed.
Moreover, while all eyes are trained on the economy, other problems keep popping up to worsen affairs: Argentina’s expropriation of Repsol affiliate YPF, corruption scandals, trouble with the monarchy, and above all, a growing concern over the degree of social change taking place: are healthcare and education cuts temporary measures, or actually a new social model that is being ushered in with no public debate under the pretense of the crisis? Is the constant pressure on regional governments to comply with budget restrictions simply camouflage for ulterior motives concerning Spain’s territorial model?
The voice of calm in moments of deep crisis is normally the prime minister – the person in whom citizens have deposited their trust. And in Spain right now, Mariano Rajoy enjoys an uncommon advantage: he has four years of parliamentary majority ahead of him and a clear political path, circumstances that his European counterparts must envy, given that many of them are facing upcoming, and uncertain, elections. Despite this, the prime minister’s image has not been consolidated at home nor abroad during these, his first 100, anxiety-ridden days of power.
Full article here.