Wednesday, June 11, 2014

O "Podemos" (I)

How economic despair pushed Spain to embrace a new party, por Sofia Perez, no Monkey Cage:

Events over the last few weeks in Spain have surprised many observers. A new party – Podemos  (“We can”) – got an unexpectedly high vote in elections to the European Parliament. This has shaken up the party system, long dominated by two large national parties (the Socialist PSOE and the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP)) along with a number of established local nationalist parties important in Catalonia and elsewhere. (...)

There is now an intense debate going on about the “Podemos” phenomenon. Should Podemos be seen as a “populist” party  (as critics have labeled it);  is it a party of economically disenfranchised youth pitted against a privileged older generation; a formation of opportunist political entrepreneurs capitalizing on the discontent caused by the economic crisis that offers no real alternative; or a legitimate “citizens defense platform” trying to put a stop to the economic hardship imposed in Spain through austerity measures demanded by Brussels and Berlin? Initial evidence suggests that Podemos is an anti-establishment party that has successfully tapped the discontent and despair of a significant segment of the population (see data below) and that  it draws its vote from non-voters and voters of other Left parties. Its rise seems to mark a leftward shift in the electorate in reaction to the crisis.  It does not seem to be a generationally defined party but draws support from all age groups. (...)

Another Metroscopia survey suggests that 60 percent of Podemos voters had not made up their mind three days prior to the election. But if Podemos has managed to articulate and mobilize a vote of despair, that is likely to give it a different role from traditional protest parties (such as the Eurosceptics and nationalist far Right that did well elsewhere in Europe). The Podemos phenomenon is more in line with the success of Syriza in Greece. Although the parties are organizationally different, they both seek a Europe that follows very different economic policies rather than wanting to limit the idea of Europe.

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