Fernando G. Urbaneja | Economies around the world, and in Europe in particular, have been improving for less than a year, the recovery after the Great Recession peaked, to weaker growth times, including some local recessions (for example in Italy). The causes were known and repeated: trade war, Brexit, insufficient and confused fiscal policies, geopolitical uncertainties. But the “black swan” was missing, the unforeseen that becomes a necessary excuse, the scapegoat, for a trend change and even an end of cycle.
Articles by Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
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Fernando G. Urbaneja | Critics warn that the first Spanish coalition government will be a weak and incoherent one. That can be an advantage. Some call it a radical government of “communists” who come to resurrect ghosts of the past. If those guesses are not met, the cabinet will get a clear push forward.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.