Saturday, May 19, 2007

Well, we've finally got some fun in the municipal election campaign. Moderate PP mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón was debating PSOE challenger Miguel Sebastián, and Sebastián pulled out a photo of a woman lawyer named Montserrat Corulla, who is mixed up in the Marbella corruption scandal (the "Malaya case") and who has been associated with Gallardón. Sebastián challenged Ruiz-Gallardón to explain his relationship with Corulla, and Gallardón angrily replied that it was personal, not professional, since of course he had to deny any connection with corruption.

So of course the entire country has jumped to the conclusion that Gallardón is cheating on his wife with Corulla, who is an attractive woman. Of course, this is Spain, and nobody cares; if anything, Gallardón wins some badly-needed machismo points. Rumors that he was gay started flying around a week or so ago when he appeared on the cover of a gay magazine called Zero. (Gallardón is rather a Rudy Giuliani type, socially quite liberal; he has presided over gay marriages, for example, in his capacity as mayor.) This ought to put an end to that.

Media feedback is that Sebastián looked like a real jerk. La Vangua's reporter Enric Juliana said, "A Socialist has been the first to open fire, American-style, on his adversary's private life...Wednesday night he began the possible self-liquidation of his promising political career...Like a good Latin country, Spain is only really liberal from the waist down...The media has launched severe criticism of Sebastián for having crossed the only line that is both red and Catholic: the line that separates sex and politics." In the news pages, of course, not opinion or analysis.

Juliana also interprets a defeat for Sebastián as "a personal defeat for Zapatero, the one who named him the candidate: he's the one who bet on Sebastián."

Report: The Basque Socialists met 25 times in secret with ETA-front party Batasuna between 1999 and 2006 in order to negotiate a truce. This is incredibly illegal, not to mention wrong, since the elected administration (Aznar until 2004, Zap since then), the Cabinet, the Parliament, and the proper executive departments are in charge of dealing with terrorists and forming anti-terrorist policy, not some self-appointed political hacks.

La Vanguardia's survey for the Barcelona city council: Socialists 34.9%, 15-16 seats; CiU 24.5%, 10-11 seats; PP 13.4%, 6 seats; Communists 12.3%, 5 seats; Esquerra 9.9%, 4 seats; Ciutadans 3.5%, 0 seats. The Tripartite scores a minimum of 24 seats, and only 21 are needed for a majority, which means that accidental mayor Jordi Hereu is going to be elected in his own right.

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