June 1st, 2018 - by Pablo Ouziel, University of Victoria
The ousting of Mariano Rajoy of the PP (Popular Party) as President of Spain signals the beginning of the end for the country’s corruption plagued regime of 1978. It will take many years in the courts, but as time passes, a clearer picture will crystalize of how Spain has been run since the transition from dictatorship to democracy. In a similar manner to today’s no-confidence vote (the first to pass in the country’s history), change from above will come about instigated by the courts. In a political climate in which for the most part dialogue has broken, and in which the only political parties able to obtain enough votes to govern are implicated in corruption scandals, it is the judiciary passing judgment on the illegal actions of political elites that forces politicians to make changes in parliament.
Having said this, the fact that in order for this no-confidence vote to pass, Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) needs the support of Basque nationalist parties, Catalan pro-independence parties and the new left party Podemos, signals a broadening of possibilities. It would be naïve to expect a radical transformation in Spanish politics in a short span of time; the problems are systemic. We might benefit, however, from a new political multilogue. Through it, different understandings of Spain might be discussed and negotiated dialogically. This possibility, unimaginable prior to the ousting of Rajoy, carves the way towards the resolution of many of the different social conflicts tearing the country apart. The Catalan question, austerity and the criminalization of dissent being burning conflicts in a long list of citizens’ concerns that might now be genuinely discussed by those claiming to represent them.