Friday, March 7, 2008
In between screen shots of the bullet-ridden car and interviews with neighbors who refuse to show their faces, the talk turns to how this will affect Sunday's elections. The two main candidates, Zapatero and Rajoy, have called for a break in the campaigning out of respect. But the question remains, how will this affect these elections?
Update: Apparently the city council in the town just voted to officially condemn the killing. However, those in favor of the motion won the vote OVER the opposing vote of the mayor. Either she's connected to ETA or she's afraid of them.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
- The anti-bull fighting party against the mistreatement of animals (look for the symbol of the bleeding bull...)
- The Non-Smoking Party
- The Carlists
- Two Falange parties (one, apparently, is the "authentic" one)
Interestingly, the top slip on the pile was the PP. The PSOE was burried deep within the set. Any idea why?
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Most experts predict a PSOE victory, but only after creating a pact with one or some of the lesser-voted left-wing parties. Election victories in Spain are frequently obtained only through these unions as a simple majority isn’t always forthcoming. Despite their apparent lead, the PSOE is pulling out all the stops when it comes to their campaigning. I’ve heard from numerous people that it appears the PSOE is putting a greater effort into winning this election than the PP – their posters are on every corner, their signs are in the metro, and their campaigners are popping up everywhere – even in our predominately right-wing neighborhood. Today, while out and about, we came across PSOE promoters handing out pamphlets and stickers outside the Corte Ingles. The pamphlet they gave us was 100 Motivos - 100 reasons to vote for the PSOE.
It is a fairly striking and well-written handout that enumerates all of the biggest campaign promises - some very general, others more specific. Despite the fact that I can’t vote, I found the pamphlet informative – not only about what we can (likely) expect in the next four years, but also what the current state of things is. Some of the highlights include:
- 3. Lower the unemployment index to around 7%.
- 14. Increase to 12 years old the age limit for the child for a parent to have the right to a
reduced workweek. (Didn’t know this right existed!)
- 15. Increase the paternity leave from 2 to 4 weeks.
- 28. For people under 30 years old, increase the scholarships of 1,600 Euros to study English
in a foreign country.
- 48. Place our university system among the top 10 in the world.
- 86. Complete an extensive reform of the Civil Registry to ensure efficient service.
95. After recuperating our role in the EU, we will support its conversion into a true political an
If the PSOE wins and these promises are actually carried out, the social situation in Madrid, and throughout Spain, can improve greatly in the coming years. Granted, that “if…” is a big one.
This past week gave me an inside look at one of Madrid’s private hospitals. With a sick father-in-law, (luckily not life threatening) I spent an abnormally larger portion of my time checking out the private installations. I found it strange that even after days in the hospital my suegros (in-laws) never had the TV on. When I asked why I discovered that the TV usage is not included for free. Instead you have to purchase an access card from the nurses, thereby giving you limited viewing time. Apparently years ago, and surely in some older hospitals, the TVs were actually coin operated. Perhaps I could understand it in the public hospitals where the care is “free” and any xtras might be used to gain some revenues. But in a private hospital? Where you (or your insurance) is paying for the room, the food, the care, everything? Apparently it’s everything, but the TV.