Articles by Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

A poker game to make a government

Fernando G. Urbaneja | Spanish politics has become a poker game that has to conclude with the withdrawal of some players to abstention (nationalists) and the sum of favorable cards from others (the left) against the rights. Some variations fit, but they are very unlikely. And another failure that would lead to new elections in 2020 would be possible. But that seems like a catastrophic outcome for all.


Pedro Sánchez chooses the left

Fernando G. Urbaneja | Pedro Sánchez, relative winner of the elections (with fewer votes and seats) has chosen the less rugged path to his investiture and to remain in power. He is returning to the original plan, that of the censure vote in June 2017 which allowed him to replace Rajoy. The pact with Iglesias was impossible in the last legislature (from May to June), which passed through months of mutual reproaches. Today it came about in an afternoon; a conversation in the Moncloa between Pedro Sanchez and Pablo Iglesias renewed the model of the pact to remove Rajoy with the argument of creating a “progressive” government, the key word which avoids other more precise words, like a government of the left.


Spain without a government

Fernando G. Urbaneja | If governance in Spain was difficult before and leaders apparently lacked the ability of forming stable alliances, now the picture is even more complicated. All leaders except far right party VOX and nationalists have failed, although no one admits it nor takes responsibility.


Taxes, the unpopular conundrum

Fernando G. Urbaneja | In France, president Macron, making good arguments, although not explaining them enough, wanted to raise taxes on fuel and millions of citizens forced him to back down. In Ecuador, President Lenin Moreno has gone through such a trance for the same reason. In Chile, President Piñera is on the verge of eviction for the attempt to raise urban transport rates.


Spanish political leaders face to face

Fernando G. Urbaneja | The debate between the Spanish national political leaders (ranging from the far right to the far left) over two and half hours on Monday night, with a rigid format, and broadcast by various television and radio channels, was abrupt, with all attacking each other, many populist proposals, without inspiring or motivating ideas for the voters and without clear indications about possible alliances which could unblock the political impasse after Sunday´s vote.

 


Elections in Spain and the “Syndrome of the Leopard”

Fernando G. Urbaneja | The political parties’ electoral strategies will be revealed this week in the televised debates scheduled for Monday night (the five party leaders, shown by various channels) and Thursday night. Thursday night’s debate, the so-called women’s debate, is organised by La Sexta, the main channel for the left. To these two debates must be added the weather, in other words the turnout, which could cause problems for all the candidates, with theories for every taste. All want to mobilise their sleeping or fed up voters on November 10, all fear that a low turn out will prejudice them; and a rainy Sunday is not a day for voting.

 


Franco buried, Francoism too

Fernando G. Urbaneja | The appearance of Franco 15 days before a general election forms part of an electoral strategy, but there is no evidence that it will have the slightest influence on how people vote.Spaniards worry about the economy, employment, wages and public goods related to the welfare state. The Franco business is rabble-rousing, fireworks and distraction.


Franco’s tomb: justice and spectacle

Fernando G. Urbaneja | Throughout Thursday all the television stations will offer the spectacle of the journey of Franco´s coffin, buried 44 years ago underneath a marble grave stone weighing more than a thousand kilo in a family vault (although property of the state) to a public cemetery, el Pardo, 36km from the basilica of Cuelgamuros en El Escorial. For some this is an act of justice against the dictator, for others an unnecessary spectacle which oxygenates those few and irrelevant nostalgic for Francoism. Perhaps an opportunity for that peculiar sentiment of necrophilia which forms a peculiar part of human nature.


“Catalonia burns” twenty days from the elections

Fernando G. Urbaneja | The electoral campaign from which will emerge the new Parliament and, perhaps, a government remains wrapped in this week´s “Catalunya in flames” with unforeseeable consequences, above all among the 20% of undecided voters.


Spain should look to Portuguese jerigonza

Fernando G. Urbaneja | Portugal evicted its dictatorship a couple of years before Spain (in 1974), although it had also embraced it a few years before (in 1923). The country suffered an authoritarian regime, such as Spain, during the central four decades of the twentieth century. Portugal and Spain are two neighboring countries with shared and divergent stories, which however live on their backs although they have more things in common than current opinion admits. We are seeing some interesting unwanted similarities -and the Portuguese are ahead of the curve.