Socialist Worker

Spain’s new rulers face pressure over austerity

by Luke Stobart and Jesús Castillo
Issue No. 2279

Big business is celebrating the absolute majority won by the right wing Popular Party (PP) in Sunday’s elections in Spain.

The PP, led by Mariano Rajoy is expected to bring in savage cuts like those already applied by regional governments.

But it would be foolish to think Spaniards want these cuts. The governing PSOE party lost precisely because of its savage austerity measures.

These include changing the constitution to stop future governments from borrowing to fund public services.

The PSOE lost an incredible four million votes, while the PP picked up only half a million.

The smaller Communist-led United Left (IU) picked up 700,000 new votes. Other left and centre left parties also made enormous gains.

During most of the campaign, Rajoy avoided talking about the cuts. Even his deputy says that protests will occur when people hear about the new government’s plans. Last week university students and doctors held large strikes.

The new government will also have to take on the Indignados movement that led gigantic square occupations before the summer.

Much of the outrage shown in that struggle seems to have benefited IU—which adopted many of the demands of the movement. But IU has done many deals with the PSOE and can’t be trusted.

Nonetheless we are likely to see major social battles ahead. It is out of these that a real political alternative to austerity can be built.

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Tue 22 Nov 2011, 18:25 GMT
Issue No. 2279
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