Irish Times. Spain’s fiscal crisis exposes deep regional fault lines. 25.09.2012
Spain’s fiscal crisis exposes deep regional fault lines
ANALYSIS: THE LAST thing beleaguered Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy needs at this moment is a constitutional crisis. Certainly, that is the opinion of the Spanish king, Juan Carlos, who last week took the unprecedented step of intervening directly in politics with an internet letter reproaching those who “encourage dissent” and “chase chimeras”.
Nobody doubts he was referring not only to the growing opposition to the harsh economic measures with which Rajoy is attempting to placate EU concerns about Spanish solvency, but also, and especially, to the related surge of support for independence in Catalonia. Spain’s acute economic woes have stretched the carefully woven fabric of the 1978 constitution, revealing flaws in the stitching that may require an entirely new garment. Significant change to that constitution, a delicate compromise between the heirs of General Franco’s 1939-75 dictatorship and the democratic opposition, has long been considered unthinkable by most of the Madrid establishment, both right and left. But it’s amazing what a little pressure from the streets can do. The spectre of Catalan independence was unleashed by a massive demonstration in Barcelona earlier this month. As in most of Spain, Catalonia’s economy has been wrecked by a property bubble and bad banking practices.
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