Alberto Mingardi  

Is Ciudadanos a hope for Spain?

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With the UK and Spain going to the ballot box in the next few months, European politics is certainly more than Greece, at the moment. We know that the polls are rather foggy about England, but Spanish politics risks becoming very "lively," too. Spain is a member of the Eurozone and has a strong, emerging extreme leftist party, Podemos. So, the way in which the Greek story is moving may have a very strong influence on what happens in Spain, too.

It appears that after the next election Spain will switch from a two party system to a four party system, as Vincenzo Scarpetta argues here. The fourth party (after the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, and the extreme left Podemos) is called Ciudadanos ("Citizens") and portrays itself as a "centrist" party, aiming at (of course) the "democratic regeneration" of Spain. Ciudadanos has its roots in Catalonia, but strongly opposed its attempts to secede from the Madrid government.

When you read about Ciudadanos in the international press, they're often portrayed as the "free market" twin brother of Podemos: a much better, more fiscally responsible alternative for Spanish voters that are fed up with the two major parties.

Juan Ramon Rallo, of the Institudo Juan de Mariana, offers some caveats in a very interesting piece (in Spanish). He considers Ciudadanos basically another social-democratic party. However, Rallo thinks they may nonetheless be


good news for classical liberals in the short term; not because their program (at least for what we know as of now) suggests any pro-Liberal enthusiasm, but because at least represents a threat--and an alternative--to the illiberal degeneration promoted by the political caste. [please forgive my very imperfect translation]


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CATEGORIES: Eurozone crisis




COMMENTS (2 to date)
Shane L writes:

My guess would be that the further away the election will be, the worse the far-left will do. That's based on the assumption that Greece's government will not manage to turn around their fortunes, thereby discrediting the far-left option in other countries. (I might be wrong and they somehow pull off a miracle, but I doubt it.) Meanwhile the economy of Spain will probably improve, strengthening the hand of more centrist parties.

Roxana writes:

I agree with Juan Ramón Rallo when he portrays Ciudadanos as another socialdemocratic party because is exactly what they are as opposed to the profoundly pro free markets P-LIB (Libertarian Party of Spain): www.p-lib.es gathering both classical liberals, objectivists, libertarians and ancarchocapitalists under one umbrella. P-LIB's struggle from his foundation back in 2009 has been on one hand the traditional silence treatment received by the mass media in general and also by many so called " liberals". I say so called because while they sign in during the day in government structures and by the afternoon they sit in cafés and clubs and lament the lack of free markets in policy makings by the same politician and governments they serve. This is the true drama of liberalism/libertarianismo for the last 3 decades. Luckily this is changing now and the Spanish Libertaria Party is a proof of that emerging change. So it is good news that proposal such as individual capitalization pension system, low taxes, the 5% State model Juan Ramon Rallo expains in his lectures and books has already a political party to defend it upfront, making no concessions to socialdemocracy. I also take this opportunity to thank Juan Ramón Rallo for his stand for P-LIB whenever he can or is allowed by the system. Maybe liberalism would have had other fate in Spain if previous generations of liberals had been a bit brave and stood up for in their beliefs and principles instead of burrying them deep in exchange to making politics in collectivist, socialdemocratic and therefore anti-liberal parties like Partido Popular and his new oulets first UPyD, then Vox and now C's. I publish here P-LIB's politics for these next ballots: http://www.p-lib.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Programa-Marco-del-P-LIB-Elecciones-Municipales-de-2015.pdf -for local elections this spring- and http://www.p-lib.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TABLA-DE-PROPUESTAS-PROGRAM%C3%81TICAS-DEL-P-LIB.pdf -proposals for a P-LIB Government in 80 proposals for next autumn general elections. Yours in Liberty, Roxana Nicula, Organization Secretary and Federal Executive Committee of P-LIB.

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