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Political vocabulary: Spanish Elections

Words to do with politics are highlighted throughout and then explained below the text in the Politcal Vocabulary glossary The conservative People’s Party (PP) have romped to victory in the Spanish general election. With over 90% of the votes cast, PP’s majority was overwhelming and the night was all the more humiliating for the defeated Socialists as they polled their lowest share of the vote ever, winning only 110 seats. Apparently, the 56 year-old, Rajoy the new Spanish leader is uncharismatic and not hugely popular with the electorate, but they had grown tired of the leftwing Zapatero who had overseen an economic slump that left the country with 0% growth and an unemployment rate of 23%. However, Zapatero will stay on as caretaker prime minister until December 13th. This is the earliest date that Spanish law allows for  the King of Spain to give approval to form a new government. Rajoy does not really have the luxury of celebrating a honeymoon period even after his party's overwhelming success at the ballot box. Some commentators have said that it wasn't really a case of the PP party winning a mandate on Sunday, but rather the socialist's traditional voter base deserting them and the PSOE party losing 4.5 million votes. This follows several other European countries where the presiding government has been thrown out as the voters hold them as scapegoats for the current ecnomic crisis gripping Europe. However, the international stock markets reacted badly to the news, as the handover period to the new government taking power leaves Spain in a position of political inactivity just at the moment when they need economic decisions to be made. When Rajoy does take power, Spaniards can expect immediate, hard-to-swallow austerity measures. Experts say that Rajoy will need to implement tax rises and cuts to fill an €18 bn hole in the national finances. Rajoy declared in his victory speech that, "Today more than ever our destiny is played out in and with Europe. We will stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution." Fortunately, Spaniards could vote without the threat of Eta-led violence.  This is the first time in decades that a Spanish election has not had a shadow cast over it from the Basque separatist group. They declared an end to 40 years of violent terrorism in October in the hope of achieving a peaceful resolution through dialogue and the political process.

 

Political Vocabulary

conservative
right wing political views
romped to victory
a term from horse racing meaning that they were a clear winner by a big distance
general election
political decision making process for the whole country i.e. NOT local election
majority
biggest number to make a victory
votes
the indication of a choice
cast
the verb that goes with the noun 'vote' i.e. to make a vote
polled
scored, won, gained
seats
a place in an elected body
electorate
the people who vote
leftwing
the socialist, liberal or radical section of a political party
caretaker
in politics: someone who takes charge during a period of transition
prime minister
the leader of the party in government
ballot box
the thing that electors put their vote in
mandate
the authority to carry out a course of action. regarded as given by the electorate to a victorious party
voter base
political support that a party can traditionally rely on
presiding
to be in a position of authority
scapegoats
person/s blamed for a problem, mistakes
austerity measures
difficult economic conditions to reduce a governement budget by hugely reducing public expenditure
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