Rajoy absent as historic election debate kick-starts campaign

Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos), Pedro Sanchez (PSOE) and Pablo Iglesias (Podemos).

PRIME Minister Mariano Rajoy was represented by an empty chair in scenes reminiscent of Roy Hattersley’s notorious no-show on ‘Have I Got News for You’ as his three main opposition rivals took to the stage for a passionate debate ahead of December’s general election.

El Pais, hosting the debate, didn’t go quite so far as to mock Rajoy’s absence but his absence was certainly conspicuous and immediately attacked as weakness and arrogance by those battling to be his successor. 

The debate took place on the evening of Monday November 30 and was historic as the first to be broadcast online and to allow questions directly from the audience. Millions watched live and the debate itself was hailed as a breakthrough in political communication from the restrictive and stuffy nature of past campaigns.

 Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist Party, Albert Rivera of Ciudadanos, and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos, all staked their parties claims to champion the best policies on a range of key issues from democratic and welfare reform, to military action and corruption.   

Iglesias was a clear winner according to votes registered with El Pais, though this might also reflect his dominant 1.3 million Twitter following. Young and urban voters were likely to participate strongly in the new format, which is also posited as an explanation for Rajoy’s absence, as the PP fare badly among this class. 

Voters will go to the polls on December 20 with candidates aware their performance in this debate and others will be pivotal to success amid volatile opinion polls that have suggested a three-way split between Rajoy’s PP, the Socialists and emergent centre-right party Ciudadanos. 

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    • Mike

      06 December 2015 • 10:00

      I just hope the PP and PSOE do not get back into power as neither of these two parties have shown they do not have any idea about running a country in a manner that is not 3rd world. I have no idea what will happen if Podemos or Ciudadanos where to get into power but I do know it can’t be any worse for Spain than what PSOE or PP have been so a change will probably do a world of good although I think Ciudadanos are the only party that have some idea of trying to get Spain going again as it is the only party that actually mentions changes in the labour laws in its manafesto… but of course something will be done by PP or PSOE and these parties or one of them will be a major part of the government and Spain will probably continue to spin into a 3rd world spiral decline, nothing will be done to change the labour laws and reduce contributions so employment issues will not be sorted and so the economy will not improve. It doesn’t matter how much they tax it will do nothing until they get the people of this country working… which it appears the current collection of Spanish political clowns just don’t seem to be able to grasp!


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