Recovery and electoral expectations

Mr Rajoy’s main asset is the recovery, and he has been working on it for weeks. However, it may happen something similar to what experienced the American president Mr Bush Senior, who lost the 1992 election because the voters had yet to perceive the economic recovery. In Spain, the recovery represents an objective fact within the macroeconomic frame of the end of 2014: the GDP and the employment grow, the deficit decreases, the arrival of foreign investment is firm… And all of these factors are in more favourable terms than in the Eurozone.

However, there is a big gap between the macroeconomic frame and citizen’s perception; a sort of time lag that rips the nerves of the politician who lives fast and paying attention to the deadline. Furthermore, this framework reveals some weakness, such as the fact that the growth comes from a domestic demand supported by a higher indebtedness, and the fact that the external deficit is unavoidable.  This is not a good path towards stability.

Mr Rajoy and the conservative Popular Party have some aces up their sleeve. Firstly, there is not an internal enemy, i.e. the PP occupies a wide political-electoral range in which the right-wing opponents hardly count; the problem comes from the other wing. Secondly, there is an international environment that is providing juicy benefits, especially thanks to the oil price fall. Also, the EU needs to reactivate the Eurozone’s economies (including the German one, which lacks exports and is doomed to a low growth and even to recession). The reactivation of the Eurozone is a need for everyone and an additional stimulus for the Spanish economy.

Eventually, voters will have to first decide to vote and then choose the party that answers the most to their expectations and interests. Now, the stability is the most important factor in the developed countries when citizens have to vote. Mr Rajoy wants 2015 to be the year of the “recovery”, because it is an electoral year with many key dates. Will the recovery be enough to modify the electoral expectations?

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.

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