Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Campaign In Galicia And See The World

You do a lot of travelling if you want to be president of the regional government of Galicia, the election is coming up on March 1st. Both candidates from the two big parties have already taken their campaign to Buenos Aires, home of a substantial part of the Galician diaspora. Not for nothing is Gallego the generic term for a Spaniard in that part of the world. Around 13% of the potential voters in the election live overseas and with the polls predicting a tight result it's not surprising that so much effort is being made to woo the emigrants.The other day Partido Popular leader Mariano Rajoy was searching for Galician voters in Switzerland, or maybe it's just that he wanted a break from his own party's mounting problems with the law.

One of the PP´s main candidates in Galicia showed his own special commitment to internationalism by receiving payments via the Cayman Islands for services rendered. He then "forgot" to declare the 240,000 euros received to the Spanish tax authorities, an oversight which has now cost him his position in the party's lists. The most amusing thing about his reaction was the way in which he attempted to pretend that it could have happened to anyone - as if we are all possessors of offshore bank accounts in tax havens.

The transgressor was defended by Manuel Fraga, whose image is apparently used to attract voters in Argentina in preference to the actual candidate, the considerably less famous Alberto Nuñez Feijóo. I've noticed the press are playing quite an entertaining game with Don Manuel these days. Taking advantage of his willingness to mouth outrageous opinions about anything, they have taken to asking him how he would have dealt with a given problem in the old days, when a certain general was still in charge. This produces the desired headline grabbing result which goes something along the lines of "In my day we didn't stand for this sort of thing, once we'd skinned the body, we'd then put the head on a spike to warn the rest and then go off hunting".

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