Austerity-weary Spaniards crave political change

Reuters News
Posted: May 27, 2013 2:02 AM
Austerity-weary Spaniards crave political change

MADRID (Reuters) - Spaniards tired of spending cuts and allegations of high-level corruption want new parties to shake up the current political scene, according to an opinion poll published on Sunday.

In Spain, where 27 percent of the workforce is jobless owing to a painful recession, power has switched between the center-right People's Party (PP) and the socialist PSOE since 1982. The country was ruled by dictator Francisco Franco for decades until his death in 1975.

Spaniards have become disenchanted with their politicians, especially since the ruling PP was accused of graft. They rank corruption as the country's second-biggest problem, behind unemployment.

Seventy-nine percent consider the current parties to all be the same and 70 percent want new ones to be formed so they have more options when they vote, the Metroscopia poll found.

Public disillusion has helped smaller parties come to the fore such as the Union for Progress and Democracy (UPyD), led by former Socialist Rosa Diez. Previous polls have indicated if an election were held now, the party could increase its seats in the 350-seat parliament to 30 from five.

Social movements, such as the "Indignados" (Indignants) who first occupied Madrid's Sol square two years ago and are credited with sparking similar "Occupy" protests across the world, have gained popular support as traditional politics has failed to create jobs and ease the country's economic crisis.

The Metroscopia poll published in newspaper El Pais showed 67 percent of Spaniards thought these groups should find a political platform and compete with traditional parties in the next election, to be held in 2015.

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Other movements that have become increasingly popular are a group that helps people forcibly evicted from their homes when they fail to pay their mortgages and activists who campaign against cuts in education and healthcare.

The survey of 600 people carried out on May 29 and 30 showed that 19 percent of people believed the majority of parties were interested in public opinion, down from 50 percent in 2007.

(Reporting by Clare Kane; Editing by Pravin Char)