More Whiff Of Broken Democracy

congreso diputados1Spanish Parliament building

Fernando González Urbaneja | There are few doubts about the quality of democracy, which can clearly be improved and which is moving backwards like a crab. It is not irrelevant that in The Economist’s ranking of democracies, Spain’s is slipping backwards and dropping down the rankings. The reasons for this backwardness are to be found in the open crisis in the government of judges, which puts their independence at risk; a crisis that has become chronic. The activism of the parties, of the main parties, to try to control the appointment of judges counts as a “malus” in the notes on democratic quality.

What happened this month in Parliament and in party government, specifically in the PP, increased the rotten smell in the Spanish democratic system. The values of stability and predictability that characterised the first democratic legislatures and governments began to break down in the middle of the last decade and since then nothing has improved, quite the contrary. First came the discrediting of the central parties, both national and some peripheral ones which had contained their secessionist principles in order to prioritise self-government, contributing to proper national governance.

The parties that emerged to rectify the incumbents and rectify their arbitrary drifts and tolerated corruptions have failed with each new election; they have contributed little that is positive to good governance. And at this point, the new emerging party VOX includes negative proposals for quality democracy, in convergence with similar organisations in the rest of Europe.

The result of the recent elections in Castilla León is a good example of this drift towards complexity that reduces the quality of democracy and undermines the effectiveness of the 1978 Constitution, the best of those granted by the Spanish people.

The surprising implosion of the Partido Popular in just a few days, with its appalling management of a long-standing crisis that has astonished both the authors themselves and the electorate as a whole, increases the rotten smell of this model of parties that ignore the constitutional mandate for democratic self-government.

In this PP crisis, “Trumpist” biases have been noted with the concealment of data and contracts and the abuse of lies and manipulations with the guilty complicity of too many media. Also with Bolivarian biases such as the improvised populist demonstration at the gates of the PP headquarters to oust Casado-Egea. All excessive, undemocratic, with the sole aim of occupying power and destroying the adversary, which are always necessary conditions for destroying democracy.

Everything that has happened this month, from the random vote on the labour reform to the PP’s rift, has led to a crisis of credibility, fuelling in turn a lack of confidence in the current political system. What has happened in recent days proves that Casado’s leadership is weak, and that Ayuso’s is worrying, as he is indulging in a populism with few explanations. A bad start to the year during which the central problems remain in the background.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.