Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes
Edited by Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen
Chapter 2: Empowering cuts? Austerity policies and political involvement in Spain
In May 2010 the Spanish government, led by socialist JosÈ Luis RodrÌguez Zapatero, made what The Economist called ëa spectacular U-turní in its economic policies. While during the first months after the 2008 crisis, public expenditure was seen as the proper recipe to face recession and several stimulus plans were put in place by the government, in 2010 things looked very different. A budget deficit over 10 per cent of GDP, markets souring on the public debt, and EU and President Obamaís pressure finally changed Zapateroís mind. On 12 May 2010, he announced the implementation of a harsh austerity package that was expected to save 15bn Euros and cut deficit to 6 per cent in 2011. Public employeesí salaries, public investment plans, pensions and social benefits were drastically reduced. These changes had immediate and important consequences on citizensí lives, and the kind of consequences that are expected to influence their political attitudes.
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