Dick Nichols

Dick Nichols, former trade union coordinator and national coordinator for the Socialist Alliance, covers European economy and politics from Barcelona. He has been active in socialist, union and environment movements since the 1970s.

Spain: Amid tangle over new government, Podemos 'threat' sends establishment into frenzy

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.

Podemos surge shakes Spanish political system

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?

Spain: Left councils heading resistance to 'war on terror'

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”.

Portugal: With anti-austerity deal, left throws out right-wing gov't


Union-organised demonstration outside Portugal's parliament on November 10.

A coalition of the parties of the Portuguese left — the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc, the Communist Party (PCP) and the Greens (PEV) — won a motion of no-confidence in the parliament on November 10.

The motion brought down the short-lived Portugal Ahead alliance government of the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP).

The Spanish state versus Catalonia: towards flash point

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”.

Portugal's political crisis: 'Europe is very concerned'

Portugal's incoming government will most probably prove to be the briefest in modern Portuguese history.

It is headed by conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Pedro Passos Coelho, whom Portuguese President Cavaco Silva appointed on October 22 to continue as prime minister. Passos Coelho has already overseen the 2011 “bail-out” memorandum applied to Portugal by the “Troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).

Spanish state: December elections challenging left and right


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.

Portugal: Left Bloc gains put Socialist Party in hot seat


Activists wave left Bloc flags.

Will Portugal finally see the end of the austerity imposed over four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People's Party (CDS-PP)?

Portugal: Left Bloc gains put Socialist Party in hot seat


Activists wave left Bloc flags.

Will Portugal finally see the end of the austerity imposed over four years by the right-wing coalition of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre—People's Party (CDS-PP)?

Catalonia: Half-won independence battle points to still-harsher war

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”.

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