In the main plaza of a wealthy suburban bastion of Spain’s ruling Popular Party, volunteers hand out campaign pamphlets trumpeting economic gains ahead of Sunday’s national election. Sipping an espresso nearby, toy company executive Miguel Sanchez describes the new Mercedes-Benz company car he’ll soon get, thanks to rising sales for his firm following years of tough times. Downtown in a trash-strewn blue-collar stronghold of the Socialist Party, unemployed lawyer Maria Uribe rails against sky-high joblessness, a seemingly endless string of political corruption cases, tax hikes and public service cutbacks pushed through Parliament in the past four years.
The differing views from Sanchez and Uribe on the state of Spain reflect deep divisions among voters about their country and its economic fortunes as it approaches a crucial ballot that will decide whether the government will stay conservative, head toward the center or veer sharply left.
An economic recovery has been underway since late 2013 in a nation that almost imploded in Europe’s financial crisis. But the upswing is coupled with 21 percent unemployment — the second highest jobless rate behind Greece in the 28-nation European Union.
Despite their opposing perspectives, Sanchez and Uribe have something in common: Both plan to help transform the nation’s political landscape by casting ballots for upstart parties set to splinter Spain’s traditional two-party dominance into a four-party system.
Full Article: Landmark Spain election for voters to gauge state of nation.