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Spanish election to redraw political map?

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 02:08

Local elections this weekend could reveal a groundswell of support from disgruntled voters for newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos in a huge challenge to Spain's two-party system, potentially ushering in a new era in Spanish politics. Kirsty Basset reports.

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This is the party which has shaken Spain's political landscape and wants to take the country to the far left. How anti-austerity Podemos fares in this weekend's municipal and regional elections may give an indication of what will happen in general elections later in the year. And the rhetoric against Mariano Rajoy's ruling government is heating up - Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LEADER OF PODEMOS PARTY PABLO IGLESIAS SAYING: "We are going to tell them what they are: thieves, corrupt, scum who have stuck their fingers in the till to destroy public services and hand it to their friends, because that is the problem of corruption." Podemos and fellow political newcomer, centrist party Ciudadanos have flourished in Spain, where despite Prime Minister Rajoy's boasts of an economic recovery, unemployment is still at 24 per cent, and a series of corruption scandals have further alienated voters. Rajoy currently holds an absolute majority in seven of the thirteen regions. But the rise of these new parties threatens to undo his government's achievements. Complutense University professor Nigel Townson says the momentum is part of a larger trend - of Spain's bipartisan system being broken down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR OF HISTORY OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL MOVEMENTS AT MADRID'S COMPLUTENSE UNIVERSITY NIGEL TOWNSON SAYING: "I think it's because people are utterly disgusted by the magnitude of the corruption we are seeing in Spanish politics, but also by a sense that the governments haven't done enough for ordinary people during the economic crisis." In these final days of the campaign, the result is anyone's guess - 30 to 45 per cent of voters are said to be undecided. And some forecasters are predicting a result so inconclusive that the elections will have to be repeated.

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Spanish election to redraw political map?

Friday, May 22, 2015 - 02:08