Saturday, March 08, 2008

Election Time! Guest Post by Matt

Well, tomorrow the general elections will be held in Spain. Attempting to hold on to his position at the head of the government is Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Now, I might have only been here two months but it seems awfully strange that the man´s podium are the initials of his last name (originally it was ZP then changed to just Z).

Hoping to get his position is Mariano Rajoy. Zapatero is from the PSOE (Spanish Workers Socialist Party), Spain´s version of the Democrats or Labour. Rajoy is from PP (Popular Party), Spain´s version of the Republicans or Conservative. I just make that comparison so you all will have an idea, as the two parties are not completely alike their US or UK counterparts.

Both sides have pulled out all the stops as far as posters are concerned. I could also list what each party wants to do but I figured you all would probably have looked for the info if you really did care. So, I´ll just stick to posters. Here are two that can be found in the metro line near Plaza de España for PSOE.

"It´s not the same (without PSOE in power)," says the poster. Note the Z I was talking about earlier.

"The eighth most powerful economy (in the world, if I´m not mistaken), the number one in social rights. Motives to create." Note that someone defaced this poster.

Popular Party´s HQ as seen from the street.

The gigantic poster of Rajoy in Puerta del Sol. I thought I had seen it all in terms of gigantic posters. I was sorely mistaken. I´m writing this at 5:38 p.m. I went to Circulo de Bellas Artes for lunch (I´m a member there). As I was walking towards the metro station here in Argüelles, I saw this!

That´s on Princesa Street right before you hit the metro station in Argüelles. That poster is by my estimate at least seventy five feet in length. As you can see, it basically spans the enitre building. Here´s one of Zapatero in the metro:

Unfortunately, this campaign didn´t end on a happy note. Yesterday was the day the campaigning must end, in accordance with Spanish law. ETA decided that they needed to get involved (maybe they were ticked that two of their parties were banned for three years). So they killed one of the ex-advisors of Zapatero´s party in broad daylight in front of his wife and kids. They shot him twice in the stomach, once in the throat, and twice in the arms.

A friend sent me a text message right as I got out of class telling me what had happened. I didn´t understand at first, as he gave me the name of the city in Basque, not Spanish. After asking someone where the city was, I immediately understood. Another friend sent me a text message later last night which read, "Han vuelto a asesinar, a pocos días d las elecciones. Así llevamos 40 años."

In English, "They´ve gone back to killing a few days before the elections. That´s how it´s been for us for the past forty years (in reference to how long ETA has been around)." So, on that note, I end the post with this image, the monument to those killed on March 11, 2004. I hereby use it for Isaías Carrasco who needn´t have died yesterday. I´ll be in a high school tomorrow, checking ou the elections for my own benefit. I´ll send photos later on.

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