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A new Sigma Dos poll for El Mundo confirms second place for Ciudadanos, now extending its lead over the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to three points. Albert Rivera's party is within four points of Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party (PP), steady around 27% in line with the latest poll-of-polls average. Podemos remains in fourth place, where it has been in most polls since the beginning of October.
|United Left (IU)||3.8%||3-5|
The lates Metroscopia poll for El País shows a three-way split for Spain's general election on December 20, with all three leading parties—the Popular Party (PP), Ciudadanos and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)—within a hair's breadth of each other on 22% of the estimated share of the vote, well within the margin of error. Podemos lags five points behind on 17%, in fourth place. The paper's editorial on Sunday describes the situation as "very indecisive".
|United Left (IU)||5.2%|
In a new video, the Islamic State has demanded French people pressure their government to withdraw from the war in Syria if they do not want to suffer any further terror attacks. "Know that this is not the last operation", says the bearded spokesman, named as Abu Tayssir El Faransi, who speaks in French: "it's not our last meeting…unless…unless you pressure your government as the Spanish people did several years ago against the war in Iraq". In March 2004, a series of bombs on trains in Madrid exploded on the morning of March 11. Three days later, on March 14, Spain held its general election and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) won, contrary to expectations prior to the attacks. The new Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, keeping to his electoral promise, ordered the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Iraq a little over one month later, on April 19, 2004.
The Spanish government issued a statement on Friday morning denying the Spanish Army was set to take over from the French Army in Mali. The government said it: "strongly denies any unilateral offer has been made to France about modifying the military presence following the Paris attacks" and that "for now, neither France nor the international coalition against DAESH has asked our country for any increase in our contribution. El País reported on Thursday night that Mr. Rajoy was ready to order a Spanish relief of French troops in Mali and that the Spanish Defence Ministry was already drawing up plans "to send more troops to different African countries", only awaiting "a specific request from Paris". Mr. Rajoy and several of his ministers, including the Home Secretary and Defence Minister, have avoided questions about any direct Spanish involvement alongside France against the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris last week. Spain's general election will take place on December 20.
A Sigma Dos poll for Telecinco published on Thursday evening shows Ciudadanos overtaking the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in percentage of the estimated vote, behind the Popular Party in first place on 27.3%. Both the PSOE and Ciudadanos are five points clear of Podemos in fourth place. No party has an overall majority (176 seats), but PP-Ciudadanos, PP-PSOE or Ciudadanos-PSOE-Podemos coalitions would be possible with the poll's estimates.
Defence Minister Pedro Morenés avoided direct answers to questions in Brussels on Tuesday about the level of Spanish support for France following the attacks in Paris last Friday. Mr. Morenés told one reporter he was in "permanent contact" with his French counterpart, Mr. Drian, but told another they had not spoken about action in Syria. "We are committed to what has been asked of us", he said: "bilateral, bilateral and, er, bilateral", listing areas where France and Spain already cooperated. "Don't ask me things that belong to conversations that have to take place". "I prefer not to talk about hypotheses. I repeat: instead of thinking about what we have to do, think […] more about what Spain has been doing without any petition of any kind". "Don't ask me about what I rule out or don't rule out. Ask me about what we are doing". He said assistance "has not been requested yet" by France. Reminded that Mr. Drian had said "the sooner the better", Mr. Morenés replied: "He has my number".
The Spanish Association of Newspaper Publishers (AEDE), an umbrella organisation for Spain's main print titles, issued a statement on Thursday defending the Spanish media industry and freedom of the press in the country against the "accusations" of the New York Times, labelling The Times's version "a caricature of reality". AEDE said Spain is "characterised by media plurality, [a country] in which new media outlets with different editorial lines are continually being created" and that Spanish dailies had uncovered "numerous" stories about political and business corruption. "The article does not describe reality", publishers said, and was "unfortunate and full of unbalanced conventionalisms". AEDE claimed 17 million "faithful readers" of Spanish print titles. The latest General Market Study (EGM) data show 11.5 million readers for Spain's print titles. El País is the leading Spanish print title, with 1.5 million readers, behind sports paper Marca with 2.3 million readers.
A new Celeste-Tel general election poll for El Diario shows Podemos falling to 10% of the vote and Ciudadanos closing on the Popular Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in terms of estimated percentage of the vote. No party is close to an overall majority (176 out of 350 seats in Congress). The numbers would allow for an establishment coalition between the PP and the PSOE or a conservative coalition between the PP and Ciudadanos, but not a two-way left-wing coalition with PSOE and Podemos or a three-way one between the PSOE, Podemos and United Left.
|United Left (IU)||4.2%||4-5|
As had been expected, Spain's State Council issued a report on Tuesday unanimously agreeing with the government's plan to present a legal challenge to the separatist declaration approved by the Catalan parliament on Monday. Europa Press said the report had found "sufficient legal basis" for the challenge before the Constitutional Court to go ahead. The council, which offers legal advice to the Spanish government, met on Tuesday morning to discuss the matter. El País reported the council also believed the Catalan parliament had awarded itself powers not granted to it by the Spanish Constitution. The council's report will now be used to prepare an extraordinary cabinet meeting that will likely be held on Wednesday, at which ministers will approve the government's challenge before the Constitutional Court, which is expected to accept the challenge on Thursday and order the immediate suspension of the Catalan declaration.
Senior public prosecutors in Spain are studying charges of seditious conspiracy for pro-independence politicians in Catalonia, El Español reported, citing sources in the Public Prosecutor's Office. "The most serious course of action under analysis is the criminal [option]", the news site said and, while a decision has not been taken: "experts in the Public Prosecutor's Office believe charges of seditious conspiracy could be brought against the leaders and promoters of the secessionist motion". The crime of sedition in the Spanish Criminal Code is specified for those who "rise up in a tumultuous manner to prevent, by force or outside of legal channels, the application of laws or [to prevent] any authority, official body or civil servant from legitimately carrying out their tasks and the fulfilment of their agreements, or of judicial or administrative decisions". "Authority figures" who encourage sedition can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
The Spanish government is ready to take control of the regional Catalan police force, the Mossos, and to cut financial aid to the region, the former editor of El Mundo, Casimiro García Abadillo, reported on Monday morning in the online version of the Spanish daily, writing that "Spain is facing the biggest political challenge in recent history". The paper cites a Home Office report saying there are only 300 pro-independence Mossos, out of a total force size of 17,000. Control of the Mossos would pass directly to Madrid. Cutting regional bailout financing would leave Catalonia on the brink of default and "there would be problems with the payment of civil servants' wages". The Attorney General's and Public Prosecutor's offices are also working on criminal charges against Carme Forcadell and Artur Mas, El Mundo said. The government intends to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday and believes the Constitutional Court will rule on Thursday to suspend today's Catalan motion.
The Catalan parliament began debating a "solemn" declaration of rupture from Spain and the beginning of the creation of "an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic" at 10 a.m. Monday morning, after Spain's Constitutional Court, which the regional parliament is expected to vote to disobey, allowed the debate to go ahead in a ruling published on Thursday, saying it was "aware of the risk" the debate and vote entailed but that it would not suspend the motion before it was seen in parliament. Mariano Rajoy's government said it was ready to begin responding "immediately" to the secessionist challenge in Catalonia, and the Prime Minister is set to make a statement later from Béjar (Castilla y León). A second debate, a vote of confidence in Artur Mas as the proposed candidate for First Minister, will take place on Monday evening.
The Spanish Foreign Office changed its advice for Spaniards travelling to Egypt on Friday, removing Sharm El Sheikh and Egypt's Red Sea from its list of safe destinations. It now only considers Luxor and Aswan suitable for Spanish tourists, but even then with "medium risk". Spain considers no areas of Egypt to be totally safe. The previous advice, issued on June 24, had also included the "spa area of Sharm El Sheikh" and "the Red Sea tourist centres on the continental African coast" as medium-risk locations, "as long as access [to Sharm] was via its International Airport". The new Foreign Office advice issued on Friday, November 6, removed Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea destinations from that already short list. Even in Luxor and Aswan, Spain advises taking "extreme precautions", adding that any travel in North Sinai is "extremely dangerous".
The Spanish government announced during its weekly post-cabinet press conference on Friday that it had relieved four-star Air Force general José Julio Rodriguez of his post in a senior Royal Order. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said the government believed there had been a "loss of confidence" in General Rodriguez and that he had failed to fulfil "his duty to maintain political neutrality", even as a member of the reserve. General Rodriguez was Chief of the Spanish Defence Staff under Mr. Zapatero from 2008 to 2011, and was until Friday a spokesman for the Royal & Military Order of Saint Hermenegildo, made up only of officers with the rank of general and former Chiefs of the Spanish Defence Staff, Army, Navy or Air Force. The Order acts as a military advisory body to the Spanish Crown and Ministry of Defence. On Wednesday, Podemos announced General Rodriguez would stand as a senior candidate to become an MP for Pablo Iglesias's party at the upcoming general election.
The Spanish Home Office said in a brief statement that police intelligence services had arrested three Moroccans resident in Spain in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The three are "accused of forming part of an organisation linked to Daesh (Islamic State)" and were "ready to carry out terrorist acts like those committed in nearby countries at any time".
A new GAD 3 poll for Spanish daily ABC indicates a win for the Popular Party (PP) at the general election, with nearly 28% of the vote, but far short of an overall majority, with just 128 seats out of the 176 needed in the 350-seat Congress. In the article accompanying the poll, ABC notes that "no party had ever before won a general election with less than 30% of the vote". A Metroscopia poll for El País on Sunday suggested the PP could end up with fewer than 100 seats. The poll numbers today suggest a PP–Ciudadanos coalition would be possible with Albert Rivera's 55 seats. In line with almost all of the polls published since the beginning of October, Podemos is in fourth place.
There is a "fully-fledged uprising" in Catalonia that must be "suffocated", Spain's Foreign Secretary, José Manuel García Margallo, said during an interview with Antena 3 on Monday morning, adding that "every time there is a crisis" in Spanish history: "we see these tensions", referring to similar episodes in 1640, 1714, 1931 and 1934. "it's not time for seduction", said Mr. Margallo: "what we now have underway is a fully-fledged uprising, made more serious by two problems: firstly, that it is being directed by an institution of state, not by a political force, […] and secondly that splitting Catalan society in two has not bothered them at all, or in setting that part of Catalan society, to whom they have promised a paradise lost, against the rest of Spanish society. When one encounters an uprising with these characteristics, the uprising [must be] suffocated.
Markit's Purchase Managers' Index for Spain's manufacturing sector recorded a score of 51.3 in October, 0.4 points lower than the score in September. "Although output rose for the twenty-third successive month", said Markit in its press release, "the rate of expansion was the weakest in this sequence amid signs of softer client demand". Senior Markit economist Andrew Harker said: “It’s looking like a low key end to the year for the Spanish manufacturing sector as growth rates for output, new orders and employment have all slowed to a crawl in recent months. The forthcoming election is likely resulting in some caution among firms and clients alike as they wait to see the outcome of the December vote". Export growth "accelerated", though, and new business from abroad was "the sharpest since June".
November's Metroscopia poll for El País shows a continuing rise for Albert Rivera's Ciudadanos, all the way up into second place, past Pedro Sánchez's Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which has fallen 3.5 points since September, and to within a hair's breadth, statistically speaking, of Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party (PP), flatlined around 23%. The poll suggests the possibility of fewer than 100 seats for the Prime Minister's party. All three leading parties are within the poll's margin of error (± 2.7%). The poll also shows a significant recovery (+2.9%) for Pablo Iglesias and Podemos. after months of decline, and a steady rise since the summer for Alberto Garzón and United Left. Albert Rivera is still by far the most popular leader; Pablo Iglesias and Mariano Rajoy the most disliked.
|United Left (IU)||6.3%||5|
The Spanish Defence Ministry said in a statement e-mailed to journalists at 3 p.m. on Saturday that all three bodies of the missing airmen had now been recovered from the sunken cockpit section of the crashed 802 Squadron Super Puma. Bad weather and heavy seas had been hampering the recovery effort, which involved 20 divers working in shifts "in groups of four". The three bodies will be taken to Las Palmas (The Canary Islands) on the Spanish Navy's offshore patrol vessel Rayo, where a forensic pathologist will examine them. The MoD statement said the work by the divers on Saturday, in an effort to beat another bad weather forecast, had been "notably intense: to the point that two of them have had to be put in the decompression chamber to return to a normal state".
In an interview with La Vanguardia during a visit to Madrid to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Spain's membership, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he did not believe Catalonia was in the group of territories considered by the UN to have the right to self-determination. He said one of the most positive features of Spain was its "respect for cultural, linguistic and historical diversity" and that he hoped a solution agreed upon via dialogue could be found. Asked if laws on self-determination were applicable to the situation in Catalonia, Mr. Ban replied: "Spain has continued to be a sovereign state in itself, including Catalonia. When one talks of self-determination, there are certain areas where the United Nations has recognised that right, such as territories without self-government. But I don't believe Catalonia is included in that category".
Provisional data published by the National Statistics Institute on Friday morning showed Spanish gross domestic product (GDP) had risen by 0.8%, 0.2 points less than in the second quarter, and the first time quarterly growth has slowed since moving back into positive territory in the third quarter of 2013. The figure was in line with Bank of Spain expectations. BBVA Research had forecast an increase of 0.7%. The accumulative annual GDP increase by the end of the third quarter was 3.4%, a 0.3 point increase on the second quarter.
A new DYM poll for El Confidencial suggests the Popular Party will win December's general election in Spain, but would need to form a coalition with Ciudadanos, placed second in the poll, to reach an overall majority (176 out of 350 seats). The PP has only moved 0.1 percentage points up since the same poll last November, far from the 44.6% it won at the last general election in 2011. Ciudadanos almost multiples its share of the vote by a factor of four compared to last year, while Podemos's share is reduced by almost half.
|United Left (IU)||6.1%|
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has had lunch with the leader of the opposition, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) in Moncloa, the Prime Minister's official residence. Both Moncloa and the Spanish Socialist Party later issued the same statement and photo of the encounter. "Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sánchez have agreed to work in coordination in defence of the Constitution, national unity, national sovereignty and equality for all Spaniards", said the statement. Asked about the lunchtime discussion between the two leaders, a spokeswoman for the Spanish Socialist Party told The Spain Report they had met to "discuss the situation in Catalonia", but would not elaborate further. On Tuesday, Mr. Rajoy spoke to both Mr. Sánchez and Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) before making his institutional statement on Catalan separatists' parliamentary motion proposing the commencement of the secession process. Mr. Rajoy did not consult with Pablo Iglesias (Podemos).
The central government's office in The Canary Islands announced in a statement e-mailed to journalists minutes after 5 p.m. Spanish time that rescue teams had found the cockpit section of the 802 Squadron Super Puma helicopter that crashed last Thursday, October 22. The full statement said: "At 13:41 the military judge in Las Palmas, who is on board [a ship] at the crash site, called me to tell me that he has revoked the secrecy classification on the investigation to report that the cockpit of the 802 Squadron helicopter that crashed has been found on the sea bed. The judge tells me that it will be raised with all necessary precautions, mentioning that there are currently bad sea conditions in the area". The statement made no mention of the three missing airmen.
The first Ebola test carried out on a 24-year old man from Guinea has come back negative, Regional health authorities in Galicia said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon. The patient, who turned up at the casualty department of the University Hospital in La Coruña and was then rushed in a sealed stretcher to Meixoeiro Hospital in Vigo, had arrived in Lisbon from Guinea on Saturday and travelled to La Coruña, in the north-western region of Galicia, by road. Infectious disease coordinators in the region said during a press conference on Wednesday morning that he had shown clinical signs (including vomiting, diarrhoea and fever) and epidemiological signs (a recent visit to West Africa) that indicated Ebola could be a possibility. A second Ebola test will be carried out on the patient on Thursday, with the results due on Friday. If that test also comes back negative, doctors will rule out Ebola.
Health authorities in Galicia have activated Ebola protocols after a 24-year old man from Guinea turned up in the casualty department of the University Hospital in La Coruña on Tuesday afternoon, accompanied by his relatives. He has shown clinical and epidemiological signs of a possible Ebola infection. He was transferred to the Meixoeiro hospital in Vigo on Wednesday morning by ambulance. Samples from the patient have been sent to the National Microbiology Centre in Madrid for analysis and the results are expected "in a few hours". Galicia regional media, citing hospital sources, said the man had "had fever for five days" before deciding to go to hospital. Health authorities will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Spanish time.
The Spanish Defence Ministry has still not found any signs at all of either the three missing airmen or the cockpit section of their Super Puma helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic on Thursday, October 22 whilst returning from Senegal to The Canary Islands. After five days of fruitless searching, a Defence Ministry spokesman told The Spain Report that "no signs at all have been found of either, but we will keep trying everything until we get confirmation" of one of the lines of investigation. Asked if the search would continue indefinitely, he said it would do "at least until we find the cockpit and see if there is anyone inside". He said no intelligence reports had been received from Morocco or Senegal regarding the possibility of the crew's kidnapping by pirates. A Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel, the Rayo, will arrive on station today to take over as the search command ship. Defence Minister Pedro Morenés has flown out to the Rayo on another Super Puma helicopter.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, made a brief, unplanned institutional statement from Moncloa on Tuesday morning, in response to the news of the motion presented in the Catalan parliament by pro-independence groups, calling it "an act of provocation by those who mean to break the law because they know the law is not on their side". He said his government "guarantees and will guarantee" the rule of law in Spain and will not "renounce any of the mechanisms awarded to it by the Constitution and the law", for "as long as I am Prime Minister". Catalan separatists, he said, "are faced with the law and a government ready to use it" with "firmness and determination". Asked if he was going to use rules allowing him to suspend home rule in Catalonia, Mr. Rajoy said: "I guarantee that what is outlined in that resolution is not going to have any effect at all".
The Spanish government held an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Monday morning after which Mariano Rajoy formally announced December 20 would be the date for Spain's next general election. The most recent polls continue to show four parties in the lead group—the Popular Party (PP), the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Ciudadanos and Podemos—but with the steady decline of Podemos, now in fourth place, continuing. No party is close to estimated voting percentages that would give it an overall majority by itself. Speaking during a press conference following the cabinet meeting—attended by all his ministers expect the Defence Minister, dealing with the missing airmen crisis in The Canary Islands—Mr. Rajoy presented a long list of his government's economic successes and said Spain was now a country that inspired confidence "at home and abroad", unlike the situation he found when he was elected with a landslide majority in November 2011.