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article imageOp-Ed: Is the Spanish PP government losing its legitimacy? (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Jul 12, 2012 in Politics
Barcelona - As Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy goes back on one campaign promise after another, is his government losing credibility with the people of Spain?
As protests continue in Madrid and spread to the rest of Spain, combining the demonstration by the coal miners with general protests over the latest austerity measures, people are starting to question the legitimacy of the newly elected Spanish Government.
It all started yesterday, with the coal miners reaching Madrid after walking for 3 weeks from northern Spain. They wanted to protest against the austerity cuts to the mining industry, which will cost them around 38,000 jobs.
Many other people joined in support of the miners in their protest in the streets.
Then Prime Minister Rajoy announced his latest set of austerity measures, including an increase in VAT by 3%. This despite one of his campaign promises that he would not increase taxes.
Rajoy was heard to say, "I said I would lower taxes and I am actually raising them. Circumstances change and I have to adapt to them."
The announcement of these additional and harsh austerity measures brought even more people out on to the streets of Madrid in protest.
Then, in an seemingly unprovoked attack, police in riot gear began firing rubber bullets at protesters. 76 people were injured, including an 11-year-old girl:
11-year-old girl injured by a rubber bullet in Madrid on July 11.
11-year-old girl injured by a rubber bullet in Madrid on July 11.
More images and videos can be viewed here.
Images are appearing all over the media websites and Facebook - some showing protesters covered in blood, others showing the Prime Minister being applauded by his comrades for his latest endeavours to try and save 65 billion euros.
Protests are continuing in Madrid, and are flaring up, yet again, all over Spain. The writer will be attending a large protest in Málaga city tomorrow evening, in support of the coal miners and also to protest the new austerity measures.
With Rodrigo Rato, ex-IMF chief and ex-head of Bankia, coming up on fraud and criminal charges relating to the downfall of Bankia (which now requires a massive bailout), people are asking why they should have to pay for his crimes?
RT International interviewed sociologist, Carlos Declios, of Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona to ask him whether the Spanish government is losing its legitimacy.
Declios points out that the Partido Popular (PP), the current ruling party, is conservative, and that most of the party's voters support public healthcare and universal access to quality education, both of which have been badly cut in the recent austerity measures.
When asked if the police crackdown will scare away the protesters, Declios says that it is more likely to encourage more people to come out on to the streets.
Among other comments, Declios says that "if Mariano Rajoy had any decency, or even a fragment of the dignity that the miners and the protesters, the Indignados, have, then he would resign, along with the rest of his government."
However, the alternative to the PP government is the PSOE party, who were in power when the problem first began.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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