By Jason Moore
POLITICIANS wanted. Capable of being leader of the opposition and able to form a government. I am afraid to say that there is a serious lack of politicians across Europe. Spain is a classic example. PM Jose Maria Aznar, is standing down to be replaced by Mariano Rajoy, his deputy, in time for the general elections next year. But already pollsters are saying that Rajoy will sweep into power simply because there is no-one else. The socialist party under Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, has failed to convince voters in Spain and it looks as if the right-wing Partido Popular will be back in power this time next year. The Spanish Socialist Party is in a similar state as the Conservatives in Britain because after ruling for 12 years they have been unable to find a new leader to replace Felipe Gonzalez, who was known as Spain's answer to Margaret Thatcher. A one party state is bad news for democracy and a strong opposition is vital. What amazes me is that when you talk to the average Spaniard it's not as if the Partido Popular government is popular, they just feel that there is no-one else. Zapatero had a golden opportunity to prove himself in the local elections in May against a back-drop of the highly unpopular war with Iraq which Spain supported, and he falled miserably. The anti-war feeling didn't translate into votes. I am convinced that if a general election had been called both in Spain and in Britain at the height of the Iraq war Aznar and Blair would have still won. The parties that ruled Spain and Britain in the 1980s need to re-invent themselves and move forward for the sake of both countries. I don't thing there is anything worse than people dismissing politics as just a one horse race. It is not the electorate who is failing it is the parties themselves. The time has come to a return to a two-horse or even three horse election race.


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