Spain

All media outlets in the Spanish state were dominated by the images of two men on March 1: one was leaving jail near the northern city of Logrono to the cheers of inmates he was leaving behind; the other was trying to convince the Spanish parliament in Madrid to vote him in as prime minister.
Arnaldo Otegi on his release from jail on March 1. There were celebrations in the Basque Country and among solidarity activists around the world on March 1 as Basque political prisoner Arnaldo Otegi was released from a Spanish jail after more than six years. Otegi, a leader of the Basque struggle for self-determination, was jailed by the Spanish state for politically organising in support of Basque independence.
Spain could go without a government for several more months after left-wing anti-austerity party Podemos cancelled talks with the main opposition party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), TeleSUR English said on February 24. Podemos walked away from talks when the PSOE tried to make a deal with the right-wing Citizens party.
Since Spain's December 20 elections produced no clear majority, debate has raged over what sort of government should be formed. The governing conservative People's Party (PP) won 123 seats in the 250-seat Congress and the right-populist Citizens won 40. On the left, the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) won 90 seats, while radical anti-austerity party Podemos and the three alliances in which it took part together with nationalist forces won 69.
The article below is by Pablo Iglesias, secretary-general of the radical Spanish political force Podemos. It abridged from the January 24 El Pais and was translated from Spanish by Dick Nichols. *** The result of the December 20 election put an end to Spain's political shift-system. It opened up the historic possibility of our country having a government not exclusively dominated by the old party machines that have shared power over the last decades.
What was the central message of the December 20 Spanish general elections, which was “won” by the governing conservative People's Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with only 28.72% of the vote, 3.6 million votes less than the last national poll in 2011? Why did the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) greet its worst ever result —22.01%, 1.4 million votes less than 2011 — with a sigh of relief?
The statement below was released by four mayors of cities in the Spanish state — Barcelona, Cadiz, Zaragoza and A Coruna — and signed by many well-known figures from Spanish media and culture. It was translated for Green Left Weekly by Dick Nichols. * * * The brutal attacks in Paris on November 13 were designed to install a climate of terror in the population, raising walls of suspicion and hatred between neighbours, shattering community life and bringing the politics of fear into our daily lives.
The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris were an ideal political gift for Europe's warmongers. It offers a chance to fulfill some previously out-of-reach dreams — such as restoring Germany to a fully-fledged offensive military role or to finally split the British Labour Party between its pro- and anti-war wings. In Spain, however, the militarists — led by the governing People’s Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the official opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) — have a tricky job getting the country on board the “war on terror”.
The ongoing war without guns between the Spanish state and Catalonia entered a critical new phase on October 27. On that day, the newly elected pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament published a draft bill that “solemnly declared the start of the process of creating an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic”.
Podemos activists The December 20 elections in the Spanish state will attract the usual large field of runners. Challengers will represent every imaginable position along the Spanish state's two main political dimensions — the left-to-right social axis and the axis of national rights. This second dimension reaches from the centralism of the ruling People's Party (PP) to the pro-independence stance of various Catalan, Basque and Galician parties.
The Spanish football club Sevilla has rejected a €5 million sponsorship deal to advertise tourism in Israel on its players’ shirts. The 2015 UEFA Europa League champions turned down the offer due to the “political connotations” of appearing to support Israel, according to the Spanish sports publication Mundo Deportivo. Club sources told the sports website ElDesmarque that the image Israeli sponsorship would project “could be detrimental to Sevilla, especially taking into account present political issues and sensibilities and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.
Who won the September 27 elections for the Catalan parliament, called as a substitute for the Scottish-style independence referendum that the Spanish People's Party (PP) government refuses to allow? It depends who you ask. On the night, most commentators on Madrid-based TV and radio called the result a defeat for the pro-independence camp: its two tickets — the mainstream nationalist Together for Yes and the anti-capitalist People's Unity Candidacies (CUP) - won only 47.74% of the vote against 52.26% for “the rest”.
More than 1 million people took part in a pro-independence march in Barcelona on September 11, Catalonia's national day. A year has passed since the British establishment won the September referendum on Scottish independence with a final campaign week of blackmail, dirty tricks and multi-party sworn promises yet to be kept.
30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees. In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy. On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.

If a Catalan Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today after a sleep of only six years, his disorientation with Catalonia would be as great as that of the original Rip Van Winkle after he dozed right through the American War of Independence. “Am I hallucinating?” he might ask, struggling to find the right answer to questions like:

Regional elections held in Spain on May 24 installed an historic pro-Basque state government in the Basque autonomous community of Navarre for the first time. It ended 16 years of rule by the pro-Spanish, centre-right Navarrese People's Union (UPN). The UPN won only 15 seats, down four from 2011. Its ally, the right-wing Spanish People’s Party (of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy), won two, half of its quota in 2011.

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