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In Spain, election results are good news

“ada colauSpain’s indignados made the move from city squares to the halls of power on Sunday in municipal and regional elections that saw an anti-poverty activist elected as mayor of Barcelona and the ruling People’s Party (PP) battered at the ballot box,” reports the Guardian.

Elections in thirteen regions and more than 8,000 municipalities saw sweeping gains for new left-wing alliances, as voters delivered their verdict on rampant corruption, a stagnant economy and vicious austerity. The two traditional parties, the ruling conservative PP and the opposition social democratic PSOE were reduced to just 52 percent of the vote.

The biggest victory of the night was for Ada Colau, an anti-eviction activist and leader of Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common), who was elected mayor of Barcelona. Barcelona en Comú is a grassroots coalition of several parties and thousands of activists. It includes Podemos, the new radical left party, which was founded just over a year ago and won 5 MEPs in last year’s European elections.

Ada Colau is a founding member of the Mortgage Victims’ Platform, which fights evictions, a huge issue in Spain, where there are more than 5 million empty houses. Half a million people have been thrown out of their homes but still have their mortgage debt with banks. One analyst explained: “The Spanish mortgage system is different from the UK in several respects: a home owner can find their property repossessed easily, if they fall into just one month’s arrears, and a bank is entitled to be repaid the full loan amount at that point –even if the borrower has already paid back 50% of the original loan. If a bank repossesses and sells a property on, it is allowed to keep the entire sum raised at sale even if the loan is cleared and there is an excess.”

Barcelona en Comú was crowdfunded and underpinned by a strong code of ethics, written by its members. It plans to limit the mayoral monthly salary to €2,200 (£1,600) and eliminate official cars and expense budgets for attending meetings.

Elsewhere, the elections were a disaster for the ruling PP, which previously controlled a majority of Spain’s regional parliaments – now they run none of the newly elected ones. Nor are they certain to run Madrid, where their candidate, a countess, won most votes and 21 seats on the city council. But Podemos came from nowhere to take twenty and the PSOE came third, so a left-wing alliance looks possible.

With a general election later this year, the PP could be on the way out. More significantly, the whole post-Franco model of politics is being called into question by the rise of Podemos, which came third in many contests. Speaking in Madrid on the night of its spectacular gains, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, declared that “in Madrid and Barcelona there was a battle between business as usual and happiness and hope. Hope won.”

He went on: “If you do not impose democracy on the economy, you open the door to the totalitarianism of the market and corruption. Today Madrid has shown that we can defeat the party of the banks in elections.”

12 Comments

  1. Rod says:

    “The biggest victory of the night was for Ada Colau, an anti-eviction activist and leader of Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common), who was elected mayor of Barcelona.”

    Let’s hope London will have a ‘London in Common’ mayoral candidate.

  2. Billericaydickie says:

    We do have a possibility with Christian Wolmar who has a track record on working with the homeless. Unfortunately we’ll end up with someone like Dianne Abbot.

    1. Rod says:

      Seems like a decent bloke with good ideas but he will be hamstrung by his association with the Labour Party. And anyway, Labour will most likely will select a Blairite.

      Talented and experienced candidates like Wolmar should break with the Labour Party instead of wasting their energy banging their heads against a brick wall.

      1. Billericaydickie says:

        Rod, we are talking about selecting a Labour candidate. How is Wolmar hamstrung by being associated with the Labour Party?

        1. Rod says:

          Well, I’m talking about the content of the above article titled “In Spain, election results are good news” and I’m hoping to see more good news election results in the UK.

          The pro-austerity, pro-Trident, pro-military intervention Labour Party has just lost a general election in the UK.

          The anti-austerity, anti-Trident, anti-military intervention SNP achieved a startlingly good result.

          Nuff said…

          1. Billericaydickie says:

            Well no, it’s not enough said. My point is that, if we take what you say, then all Labour candidates are tainted and in case you haven’t noticed the pro Trident Pro austerity pro military intervention Tories have just won an election.

          2. Rod says:

            The thing about the Tories is that they weren’t offering an alternative to the Tories.

            They actually were the Tories.

            Now, if you want an alternative to a Tory government you’ll probably want to vote for it. Labour failed to provide an alternative and instead offered unconvincing, incoherent nonsense. And the Labour Party was rewarded appropriately.

      2. John P Reid says:

        I think Sadiq will win, Lammys blown his chance

    2. John P Reid says:

      Isn’t Billericky outside London

      1. Billericaydickie says:

        Well done John P Reid. You spelled it incorrectly and is it relevant? The T shirt says ” Stop Evictions”. This is a big issue in Spain and I believe that the government and the banks have done that. All it was doing was throwing more properties onto an already fllooded market driving down prices.

        1. John P Reid says:

          I thought it was where u live?

          1. Billericaydickie says:

            Ian Dury and The Blockheads. What do you mean you’ve never heard of them?

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