I’m just watching the evening debate between Mariano Rajoy and JosÃ© Luis RodrÃguez Zapatero just ahead of the elections of this weekend. It’s all about the Partido Popular or Partido Socialista, the Spanish politics in time of national elections in this sense is quite simple. It’s the first face-to-face debate after 1993, but watching the second debate makes me understand why. But first let’s deal with the EU in the debate.
It’s interesting that both Rajoy and Zapatero use the data of the European Commission to support their statements on economy and even more social indicators (unemployment, income…). They often quote the statements of Joaquin Almunia, the current Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. And neither of them opposes the validity of the data. Basically, they don’t quote any numbers from a domestic source (except sometime Rajoy when he quotes the government figures, when it serves him fine).
Apart from this element, that creates a positive image of the EU in the public, the debate is very tough. To put it simple, I hate Rajoy by now. He’s not honest enough as a politician to admit errors (Zapatero comes much closer), cannot look Zapatero in the eyes for most of the time, is always bringing everything to some key words: ETA, terrorism, migration and inflation. These are all negative issues, he doesn’t raise a single positive thing! No wonder that Zapatero and his campaign has used a lot “happiness” during the last weeks, there is even a platform “in defence of happiness” supporting Zapatero. But Rajoy can make his point clear and he is very skillful with words.
Zapatero of course is not in a rosy position due to the terrorist attack of ETA at the Madrid airport in December 2006 and the growing inflation (only Slovenia beats Spain on this numbers…). But he appears much more honest, supports his case with numbers and gives an impression of being proud of what he achieved in the government. He doesn’t though inspire as much as he did in the first debatee a week ago, he seems much more beaten and on the defensive.
My vote would absolutely go to Zapatero, Rajoy is simply spreading fear and acts disrespecfully. Zapatero has also overseen an impressive economic progress in Spain, has put forward some progressive legislation (same sex marriages, legalisation of immigrants), lowered unemployment and reformed the status of the autonomous regions. And Rajoy is too easy to hate, I would bump him as leader of the PP if they ever want to win positively.
Both campaigns here:
(The first post after a very long time, sorry to those that have been hoping for more recently…)