The euro zone

Spelling it out

With an early general election due in two months' time, Spain's major political parties are reminding voters of what they stand for. Under the leadership of Pablo Casado, the Popular Party (PP) is being especially vocal. Driven by a fear of losing voters to Vox, the centre right party has been declaring its position on everything from Catalan independence to bullfighting; and although the economic implications of these policies aren't explicit, they can easily be deduced. We're thus led to realise that a coalition government led by - or largely comprised of - the PP would be almost diametrically opposed to that which currently holds office (if only nominally, as often seems the case).

On April 28th, Spain's main parties, whether on the left or right, are likely to succeed or fail depending on their line on Catalonia. Accordingly, the PP has reiterated its fierce opposition to the Catalan independence project, with Casado recently vowing to protect the "historical continuity of constitutional Spain" and denouncing, yet again, Pedro Sánchez's attempts to reason with separatists. A PP-led government would not only close the recently opened telephone line to Barcelona, though; it would probably also keep public investment in the region to current levels. Contrast this with the approach of Sánchez's administration, which proposes a substantial increase in public funds to be received by Catalonia in 2019.

The PP has also differentiated itself from the current government on the complex topic of immigration (as indeed has its potential and problematic ally, Vox). Amidst typical right wing scaremongering on the subject, one can make out a key policy - namely, limiting the extent to which undocumented migrants could access public healthcare in Spain. This will appeal to voters concerned about the unspecified cost of an announcement made by Sánchez last summer, to the effect that migrants arriving in Spain would have unlimited access to public health services from day one (which was, in itself, a reversal of PP policy under Mariano Rajoy).

Core features of Spanish cultural patrimony - of varying degrees of popularity - would also receive more investment from a PP-dominated administration. Casado recently said of the Sánchez government that "its ministers' personal tastes end up being the law. If a minister doesn't like hunting, let's ban it. If she doesn't like bullfighting, let's ban it" - a carefully worded reference to beloved hobbies of the party's core demographic (the PP has always been a generous supporter of bullfighting, pouring funds into academies that train "toreros").

In an even more dramatic lurch to the right, the PP's secretary general has also criticised Sánchez's choice of April 28th for the election, as campaigning will coincide with Semana Santa celebrations. It's hard to think of a more emphatic reminder of just how different - both politically and economically - a Casado-led government would be from the one presently in office.