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The Zapatero Paradox?

By Matthew Yglesias  

"The Zapatero Paradox?"

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Since taking office in 2004, Spain’s Socialist Party led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has wracked up an impressive array of achievements firmly putting his stamp on the country as the man who decisively led Spain out of Franco’s shadow. And yet his party’s now very unpopular and would get its butt kicked in an election:

Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP) has widened its lead over the governing Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), according to a poll by NC Report published in La Razón. 45.2 per cent of respondents would vote for the PP in the next legislative election, up 1.6 points since March.

The PSOE is second with 35.8 per cent. 19 per cent of respondents would vote for other parties.

Are we going to start seeing articles in the American press about the “Zapatero Paradox”? Of course not! Everyone understands—and indeed the linked article emphasizes—that the PSOE is in trouble because Spain’s economy is in terrible shape. And in this case, I really do feel bad for Zapatero and the PSOE since the structure of European political institutions means that in practice there’s very little they can do to improve the situation.

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