Spain News: Saturday, February 28th, 2015

A Huge Purple Bet On The Future State Of Spain

EDITORIAL: Most Spaniards rarely stop to think about how few people really control the drum beat Spanish society marches to or what a fundamental shift Podemos would represent for their future.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Blames Ageing Popular Party Leaders For Lack Of Progress In Restoring Dialogue

IN-DEPTH: Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo spoke to The Spain Report about the current Gibraltar–Spain impasse after giving his speech at the Palace Hotel in Madrid.

Latest News

Feb 27
Spain Arrests Eight Spaniards For Fighting In Support Of Pro-Russian Separatists During Ukraine War

NEWS: The police operation in six Spanish regions continues this morning.

Feb 26
Barcelona Judge Santiago Vidal Suspended For Three Years For Drafting Constitution Of Catalan Republic

NEWS: Judge Vidal said on Thursday night that he intended to appeal the decision by Spain’s top judicial council and that he would continue to work for: “the Catalan people’s right to decide”.

Feb 26
Spanish Foreign Secretary Furious At Disloyalty Of Former PM Zapatero On Cuba Visit To Meet Castro

NEWS: The Spanish government and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) cross angry comments after former Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero visits Cuba to meet Raúl Castro.

Feb 25
Spain’s Constitutional Court Declares November 9 Independence Vote In Catalonia Unconstitutional

NEWS: The judgement comes five months after Artur Mas signed a regional law authorising the ballot and says regional governments must respect the sovereignty of the Spanish people.

Feb 17
Supreme Court Summons 5 Socialist Senators & MPs As Suspects In Billion Euro Andalusian Fraud Case

NEWS: The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) u-turns on recent statements made by senior leaders concerning the resignation of socialist politicians if they are suspected of corruption crimes.

Feb 13
Spanish Judge Imposes €800 Million Bond On Bankia, BFA, Rodrigo Rato And 3 Former Bankia Directors

NEWS: The judge investigating the Bankia IPO has ordered the group to pay the €800m civil liability bond together within one month; their assets will be seized if they do not pay.

Feb 11
PSOE Sacks Madrid Regional Chief Tomás Gómez, Who Launches Tirade Against “Weak” Pedro Sánchez

NEWS: Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez sacks leader of Madrid Socialist Party (PSM) Tomás Gómez and appoints technocrats to manage socialist affairs in the Spanish capital.

Feb 10
Spanish Police Tax Crime Unit To Arrest 90 In €2-3 Billion Euro Unemployment Funds Scam In Andalusia

NEWS: Today’s arrests are part of the second phase of an operation which began last April, as part of an investigation looking into the fraudulent appropriation of up to €3 billion.

Feb 9
El Confidencial Publishes Names Of Spanish HSBC Clients As Falciani Agrees To Work With Podemos

NEWS: The former chairman of Santander, Emilio Botín, and Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso are among the Spaniards named in the Swiss Leaks documents.

Feb 8
New Metroscopia Poll Confirms Podemos Lead And Collapse In Support For Spanish Socialist Party

NEWS: Pablo Iglesias’s party is placed first for the third time in four months; Pedro Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has lost almost ten percentage points of support in two months.

Feb 6
Senior Podemos Leader Monedero Files Extraordinary Voluntary Tax Return On €425,000 From Venezuela

NEWS: Podemos’s rise up the polls has been driven by an anti-establishment, anti-corruption message; Popular Party and Spanish Socialist Party issue rapid attacks in response to the news.

Feb 5
Spain To Lead First NATO Very High Readiness Task Force In 2016 “In Response To Russian Aggression”

NEWS: 3,000 to 4,000 Spanish soldiers will form the core of the Atlantic alliance’s joint task force, formed in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

Feb 4
Major Poll Confirms Podemos Is Leading Direct Vote Option For Spaniards; PSOE Pushed Into Third Place

NEWS: Spanish pollsters are finding it difficult to estimate the real share of vote Podemos might win at the next general election, given the scarcity of real election results for the party.

Feb 3
“Gibraltar is absolutely not an obscure tax haven”, Says Gibraltar First Minister During Madrid Speech

NEWS: Spain’s Foreign Minister said “it was fine” for Fabian Picardo to speak in Madrid: “as long as no one forces me to listen”. The Chief Minister was introduced by the British Ambassador.

Feb 2
Sánchez (PSOE) Signs Anti-Terror Pact With Rajoy (PP) In Moncloa That Includes Whole-Life Sentences

NEWS: The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party signed the agreement with the Spanish Prime Minister despite his party’s “red line” stance against revisable whole-life prison sentences.

Feb 2
Spain’s Hospital Casualty Departments Structurally Incapable Of Providing Proper Care, Says New Report

NEWS: Terminally-ill patients are treated in casualty departments, junior doctors go untutored by non-existent casualty consultants and badly-designed software makes their job more difficult.

Jan 31
100,000 Podemos Supporters March In Madrid As Pablo Iglesias Praises Six-Day Old Greek Government

NEWS: Mr. Iglesias said Spain needed its dreamers and that Mr. Tsipras’s Greek government had “done more in six days than many in years”; Mr. Rajoy said Podemos were “a bunch of sad sacks”.

Jan 28
Spanish Soldier Killed On UN Patrol In Lebanon During Clash Between Israeli Forces And Hezbollah

NEWS: 36-year-old Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo was killed after Hezbollah fired rockets from Lebanon into Israel and Israeli forces retaliated.

Jan 26
11 Dead And 20 Injured After Greek F16 Crashes On Take-Off At NATO Air Base In Albacete, Central Spain

NEWS: A Greek F16 fighter aircraft crashed at the Los Llanos air base in Albacete, central Spain, at lunchtime (3:16 p.m.) on Monday, destroying AMX, Alfa Jet and Mirage fighters on the ground.

Jan 25
Early Elections To Be Held In Andalusia On March 22

NEWS: Announcement made after Greek results published; Mrs. Díaz is three months pregnant.

Jan 25
“Tick, Tock, The Countdown For Rajoy Begins On Jan 31″ Says Podemos Leader Following Syriza Victory

NEWS: Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Sánchez did not make any comment on Sunday evening. Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said Greeks would now have “a real prime minister, not a Merkel delegate”.

Jan 24
Spain Arrests Four Suspected Jihadis Preparing Attack From Spanish North African Enclave Of Ceuta

NEWS: Four arrested three weeks after Spain raised its terror threat level following Paris attacks.

Jan 22
Unemployment Rate Inches Higher In Fourth Quarter To End Year On 23.7%, Or 5.46 Million Spaniards

NEWS: 433,900 jobs were created in Spain in 2014, mostly in the private sector, but with increasing numbers of part-time workers.

Jan 21
Former PP Treasurer Luis Bárcenas Released After 18 Months In Jail On Remand During Fraud Investigation

NEWS: Mr. Bárcenas left Soto del Real prison in Madrid tonight after paying the €200,000 bail set by the High Court, and must appear before the judge three times a week.

Jan 21
Popular Party Brings Permanent Life Sentences To Spain In Controversial Criminal Code Reform

NEWS: Opposition parties and criminal law professors criticise the PP’s use of its absolute majority in Congress to push through the criminal code reform and introduce whole-life sentences.

Jan 14
Artur Mas & Oriol Junqueras Announce Early Regional Elections In Catalonia On September 27, 2015

NEWS: The Catalan First Minister and the leader of Republican Catalan Left (ERC) announced early regional elections would be held in 2015, following weeks of doubt over electoral list formats.

Jan 13
Mariano Rajoy To Make Surprise Visit To Greece To Support Antonis Samaras In Fight Against Syriza

NEWS: The unscheduled visit comes days after Economy Minister Luis De Guindos denied the Greek elections were relevant to Spain and or that the election campaign was already underway.

Jan 13
Spanish Newspapers Publish First Charlie Hebdo Mohammed #JeSuisCharlie Front Cover After Attack

NEWS: Spanish media sites published the new Charlie Hebdo front page cartoon with Mohammed holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign. US and British media have been criticised in Spain for not doing so.

Jan 11
New Metroscopia Poll Confirms First Place For Podemos, Third Place For Governing Popular Party

NEWS: Pablo Iglesias’s party polls in first place in the El País poll for the second time in three months, whilst Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party are stuck in third place and trending downwards.

Jan 10
German Anti-Islamisation Trend PEGIDA Arrives In Spain After Charlie Hebdo Terror Attack In Paris

NEWS: A central Madrid mosque was defaced with anti-Muslim slogans this morning. 1.7 million Muslims, around 3.6% of the population, live in Spain.

Jan 8
Spanish Judge Allows Criminal Complaint Against Satirist Facu Díaz For PP ETA Corruption Sketch

NEWS: The day after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Spanish satirist Facu Díaz is ordered to court under glorification of terrorism laws to answer questions on the “mocking tone” of a sketch.

Jan 7
Spain To Raise Terror Threat Level Following Charlie Hebdo Attack In Paris, Says Home Secretary

NEWS: The Prime Minister and Home Secretary insist there is no specific additional threat to Spain.

Jan 7
Spain Calls Urgent Anti-Terror Meeting In Response To Deadly Attack On Charlie Hebdo Magazine In Paris

NEWS: Mariano Rajoy tweets his “condolences and solidarity with the French people”.

Jan 6
Senior Podemos Leader Says Greece Is Fourth Reich’s Hiroshima Bomb Warning For Rest Of Europe

NEWS: In incendiary comments, Juan Carlos Monedero said he sees parallels with Hitler and appeasement in 1938, and warned Spain has more powerful negotiation options than a debt haircut.

Jan 5
Spanish Police Arrest Two Former IRA Members For €10.5 Million Smuggling & Money Laundering Scam

NEWS: Leonard Hardy and his wife Donna Hardy (formerly Maguire) were arrested in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Spanish police say the operation is not related to financing terror activities.

Jan 2
Bomb Scare At Atocha Train Station In Madrid: Man With Rucksack Said He Wanted To Commit Suicide

NEWS: Atocha train station in central Madrid is closed and a bomb disposal operation underway after a man with a rucksack on a train began shouting he wanted to commit suicide.

Dec 31
Uber Announces Closure Of Car-Sharing Service In Spain Following Court Order And Telecoms Blackout

NEWS: The decision, announced by Uber Spain CEO Carles Lloret, comes despite an earlier statement that operations would continue, and two weeks after the closure of Google News in Spain.

Dec 30
“There are moments when democracy beats fear”, Writes Podemos Leader Iglesias In El Mundo Article

NEWS: After Greek election announcement, Pablo Iglesias writes that: “the consensuses of 40 years of financial domination are exploding into the air. The elites and their parties are worried”.

Dec 29
Spain Stocks Fall 2.5% And Podemos Celebrates Change In 2015 On News Of Early Greek Elections

NEWS: The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, tweeted his joy at the news of a snap general election in Greece, following months of close contact between the two southern-European parties.

Dec 28
Mas & Urkullu Hold Second Catalan–Basque Summit To Combat Madrid’s “Growing Recentralisation”

NEWS: The two regions accuse Madrid of: “unilaterally breaking the basic political consensuses reached three decades ago” and say they will work together against the centralist challenge.

Dec 26
Triumphant Rajoy Announces 2015 “Take Off” For Spanish Economy But Refuses To Say “Podemos”

NEWS: The Spanish Prime Minister said he did not plan to call an early general election, set for the end of 2015; opposition parties unanimously criticised Mr. Rajoy’s optimism.

Dec 24
Felipe VI Recognises Spanish Economy Still In Crisis During First Christmas Speech As King Of Spain

NEWS: His Majesty said it “hurts and worries” him that the unresolved situation in Catalonia might be the cause of “emotional fractures, disaffection or rejection among families, friends or citizens”.

Dec 24
Spanish Finance Minister Montoro Announces Regional Debt Haircut And New 0% Credit Line

NEWS: Days before Spain’s triple election year begins, with regional elections set for May 2015, regional finance ministers say the new plan is a “gigantic injustice” that creates unnecessary tension.

Dec 23
Sonia Castedo, Mayor Of Alicante, Suspect In Multiple Corruption Cases, Resigns On Facebook

NEWS: Mrs. Castedo is a suspect in two town planning corruption cases in Alicante (Valencia); in November, the Popular Party demanded she resign before a visit by Felipe VI.

Dec 22
Catalan High Court Admits Criminal Complaints Against Artur Mas Over November 9 Simulated Vote

NEWS: Dozens of complaints are to be aggregated under the first one presented by Manos Limpias; Catalan National Assembly announces a “self-accusation” support campaign.

Dec 22
Spain’s Princess Cristina, King’s Sister, To Be Tried As Accomplice On Two Counts Of Tax Fraud In 2015

NEWS: The judge’s 150-page ruling means Princess Cristina will become the first member of the Spanish Royal Family to be tried for a crime in open court. She could be jailed for up to 6.5 years.

Dec 19
Support For Catalan Independence Falls Since Nov 9 As Podemos Set To Win General Election In Region

NEWS: New survey data show Podemos is forecast to win the next general election in the region, and Republican Catalan Left the next regional elections. Junqueras repeats call for early elections.

Dec 19
Man Rams Car With Gas Canisters Into Popular Party HQ Building In Calle Génova In Central Madrid

NEWS: “It all seems to indicate this is a personal thing, nothing to do with terrorism”, a police spokesman told Spanish radio broadcaster RNE.

Dec 18
Spanish Supreme Court Justices Criticise Home Secretary’s Meddling After ETA Prisoner Releases

NEWS: The senior magistrates want the Chief Justice to petition the Prime Minister to bring the statements to an end, after the Home Secretary criticised the recent release of prisoners.

Dec 18
Eduardo Torres Dulce, Spain’s Director Of Public Prosecutions, Resigns In Independence Protest

NEWS: Mr. Torres Dulce has been a key figure in the Catalan independence debate, struggling to maintain the independence of his office as the government rushed to respond to November 9.