Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spanish General Election 2008....Missing In Action

Have you seen these men? The ones in the bottom half of the image above, currently being used by the PSOE to remind their voters of why they came out to vote in 2004. I'm not referring to the one on the right, we know here he is. It's the other two I am asking about; Angel Acebes and Eduardo Zaplana sitting alongside Partido Popular (PP) candidate Mariano Rajoy. Acebes was of course the public face of the PP as they tried to manipulate their way through the aftermath of the Madrid train bombings in 2004. He is still an important figure, general secretary of the party no less. Meanwhile, Zaplana was another loyal party servant, and since the PP lost power has been one of the main movers inside the party to promote the conspiracy theories about the train bombings. He is also still an important figure, and occupies the fourth place on the PP electoral list for Madrid.

The problem is they have gone missing, wherever Mariano Rajoy goes on the election trail Acebes and Zaplana are not to be seen. As the PP has tried to promote a softer, more centrist image, so those in the party leadership most identified with the hardline opposition of the last four years have been carefully kept out of sight. Which is not to exaggerate the shift in the PP's position. This weekend sees the emergence into the campaign of the real leader, José Maria Aznar, and it seems safe to assume that his loyal lieutenants will be allowed out for the big day. This is how El País cartoonist Forges sees the issue:

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