All Change at the Top?

The Spanish Prime Minister announced the date for the General Election this week

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The Spanish Prime Minister announced the date for the General Election this week. It is to be held just before Christmas, on 20th December. For citizens living in Catalonia, this will be the second election in three months, as they just cast their votes for the regional Catalan parliament on 27th September. That election was also turned into a plebiscite on Catalan independence. The result was interesting, as the main pro-independence lobby did not win an outright majority, but did win the largest number of seats.
 
There are likely to be many issues which will influence the December General Election and Catalan independence will be high on the list – until now, the powers that be in Madrid refuse to talk to the powers that be in Barcelona about their concerns and demands. It works the other way too, I think, as neither side is prepared to address the issue head-on. As things currently stand, there is a vacuum, which is not helping either side, or the people of Spain. 
 
In recent polls, the Socialists (POSE) are snapping at the heels of the centre right Government of Mariano Rajoy (PP) with a newer left wing party, Podemos, and a centre party, Ciudadanos, not far behind. After years of severe austerity, it may be that Spanish people will want a change at the top – and with it a change in the stand-off between Madrid and the Catalans. 
 
Following the regional elections throughout the country this year, a new political reality is in place, with smaller parties holding power in many of Spain’s cities and towns. Will the electorate be brave enough to follow this through to a General Election?
 
Foreigners living here tend to let all of this go over their heads. In fact, many don’t even watch Spanish TV and rely on others to give them second hand information. The likelihood is that expats will not be greatly affected by whomever wins the election, as no party will want to slow down the current increase in property sales which is being led by non-Spaniards – the British in particular, who have bought one in eight properties sold this year. Property is selling again, albeit still at low prices; the average price in Catalonia has risen 1.4% in a year and prices in Barcelona by just under 4%. The coastal areas and traditional holiday spots are top of the list. The independence question doesn’t seem to have made a difference to would be buyers, and one of my friends who works in a major bank in Catalonia told me that there wasn’t the expected rush of withdrawals just before the regional elections in September.
 
The French have a saying, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which means “the more it changes, the more it stays the same” – and after the General Election in December, we will see if this is in fact true in Spain. For the sake of harmony between the people of this country, I hope it is not. For non-Spaniards in Spain, no change might be a good thing. 

Further reading for Living In Spain

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Finding work

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Spain.

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Social life in Spain

Find out as much as you can about your new community and find new friends.

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Heathcare

Arrange health insurance and locate your new local hospitals and practices.

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Education in Spain

Emigrating with school-age children? Learn more about schooling in your local area.

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