Due to the crushing austerity imposed in Spain voters broadly rejected the Socialists decimating them and putting them out of power for the first time since 2004. The Socialists saw their number in parliament drop from 169 to 110, with the conservative Popular Party rising from 154 to 186, "others"-candidates from parties neither Socialist or Freedom Party saw their ranks double from 27 to 54.
The Socialists under Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zaptero had made unpopular budget cuts and economic overhauls. Last year, even without a parliamentary majority, Mr. Zaptero was able to deliver all the measures he promised, including a public-sector wage cut, a pension freeze and a labor-market ovehaul. Zaptero did not seek re-election, choosing party veteran Perez Rubalcaba to succeed him.
Yet as austerity fatigue led Spaniards to widely reject the Zaptero's Socialist party, in giving it to the conservative Free Party they may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire as the conservative leader Mariano Rajoy, has committed to austerity and economic overhauls.
If they didn't like austerity the Spanish people may discover that under Rajoy they will experience austerity 2.0. Meanwhile the improved investor confidence in Spanish debt will not materialize.
The victory for the conservatives is not validation of such policies; to the contrary, this election should be seen as being about anti-incumbency as much as anything.
"As the polls closed, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Madrid's Puerta del Sol to protest what they call an unjust domination of the country's electoral politics by the two major parties and to warn of continued agitation against austerity measures."
Hardly Rajoy supporters.
For source article please see today's Wall Street Journal, pg. A1. Conservatives Ride Crisis To Victory in Spanish Vote.