Until the crisis of 2008, the 15-M and the revolution that it provoked in Spanish politics, four years were simply a legislature in the peaceful world of power in one of the most stable countries in Europe. The presidents lasted eight years, or even 14, like Felipe González. And in four some laws were made, some ministers fell, and they prepared for re-election. But in the four years since the motion of censure that seemed lost and ended up taking Sánchez to La Moncloa on June 1, 2018, everything has happened. So much so that almost none of the protagonists of those frantic days have survived. Neither Mariano Rajoy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría or María Dolores de Cospedal, nor Albert Rivera, nor Pablo Iglesias, nor Carles Campuzano (PDeCAT), nor Joan Tardá (ERC), nor even José Luis Ábalos, the great negotiator those days. Only Sánchez remains and, of course, the PNV, with Andoni Ortuzar at the helm and Aitor Esteban as spokesman, just like in 2018.
In these four years there have been two general elections, a radical change of government that ended the entire hard core of Sánchez, two leadership changes in the PP, another in Ciudadanos, another in United We Can, several crises and reinventions within the Catalan independence movement and the group of faithful to Carles Puigdemont, the first government coalition since the 1930s, a pandemic and a war in Europe and a cataract of legal reforms that the Government has managed to carry out despite the fact that nobody gave a penny for their complex majorities. From euthanasia to labor or pension reform, going through the rise to 1,000 euros of the minimum wage or one of the largest social expenses in history to deal with the pandemic, with some ERTE that came to cost more than 5,000 million euros per month.
Four years later, the erosion of the Government, the PSOE, United We Can, and Pedro Sánchez himself is very evident. The EL PAÍS survey indicates that the PSOE is 10 points below the PP in Andalusia, which was always his barn, the place where he governed for 40 years and seemed unbeatable. Sánchez now encourages his supporters to defend “with passion” the Government’s management and the results obtained, especially the 20 million members and the good results of the labor reform. But at all times he indirectly admits that things have become difficult for the Executive. “They have not made it easy for us,” the president repeats. The war in Ukraine, which no one anticipated, has completely altered everyone’s plans. “A pandemic, a volcano, Filomena, a war in Europe did not figure in our plans. But we have always responded by protecting the economy and families, especially the most vulnerable,” Sánchez defends himself.
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loss by exhaustion
The PSOE is convinced that the PP and Vox are using the same strategy against Sánchez that they used with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and before with Felipe González: defeat by exhaustion. “The right tries to come to power through exhaustion. They create an unbreathable environment to win by exhaustion by demotivating the left. We cannot fall into their trap. The coalition has faced very hard times and has been able to move the country forward. We have to passionately argue our political action”, insists the president. Sánchez thus remains convinced that management will allow him to turn the polls around.
Some political veterans insist that citizens never vote for what you have done, but because of what they think you are going to do. But in La Moncloa, since the radical change that the departure of Iván Redondo implied, they are very convinced that the key is in the management and in the commitment to the defense of policies that protect citizens in the midst of a crisis. In the PSOE it is practically assumed that things will not go well in Andalusia, but they believe that for the general elections at the end of 2023 everything can change a lot if inflation is finally controlled, the European funds have their effect and the economic recovery reaches all sectors. These four turbulent years are clear proof that in Spanish politics it is no longer possible to make viable predictions in a few months, much less a year and a half. If it continued at the current rate, at that time Spanish politics could still have destroyed several leaderships. The final battle is still far away. But the strategies to combat it already seem quite clear: the defeat by exhaustion proposed by the right-wing bloc or the resistance for social and economic management proposed by the left-wing bloc.
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