My name is Héctor. I am 24 years old and I am a political and international relations analyst. I work at a think tank in the beautiful city of Barcelona. What I write here reflects solely my own views.
As the European elections are drawing closer, an analysis of the election campaign in each country is much needed. Are these elections really so different from the ones before as the EU institutions want to make us believe just because the election results to the European Parliament are supposed to be taken into account when it comes to choosing the President of the Commission?
So, in Spain, what is different compared to other European elections and what is the same?
What is the same is the citizens’ lack of interest. The participation in the elections is probably going to be around 40% – 46%, a bit less than in the 2009 elections. Voters will vote according to their ‘local mindset’, as if the European elections were a means to express their discontent or agreement with their government. Apparently, there is the feeling that voting in the European elections is noncommittal in the sense that one can vote whatever because it does not matter. What will not change either is the ‘bipartidismo’, a concept that refers to the alternation in power of the two major parties (socialists and Christian democrats). This time around they may receive fewer votes than in previous elections but they will still be the two major forces. On the other hand, the political forces left to the United Left will gain votes and a newcomer called UPyD (Union, Progress and Democracy) is expected to win more than a few seats in the European Parliament. Finally, what could also change is the role of the regional parties.
Two phenomena stand out when looking at the coming elections in Spain. The first is the fact that despite the serious crisis there are neither Europhobic nor Eurosceptical parties. There is a growing demand for a different Europe, which pushes some parties to be more Eurocritical, especially the centre-left and the left. However, none of the parties that are expected to be elected include leaving the European Union in their discourses. The second is the ongoing regional challenge to Spain’s unity. It is possible that the regional parties which are promoting a secession process in Catalonia will improve their results. However, the electoral law for European elections prevents any regional party to have a great representation as Spain consists of only one electoral district; something quite unusual for a country as big as Spain.
So, from Spain, the good news about the campaign for the European elections is: there is no Europhobia. The bad news is: it’s business as usual.