Finally the Spanish Libertarian Party – Partido de la Libertad Individual (P-Lib) – has been banned and will not be allowed to participate in the next general elections. P-Lib is not the only party that has suffered the antidemocratic attack of the new regulation (Pirate Party also, for instance), but it has been the only one that has been arbitrarily banned after fulfilling all the conditions to participate. Here is the sequence of events, that we would like to share with the entire world to show which kind of “democracy” we have in Spain, and also how Spain is getting closer and closer to pseudo-democratic regimes like Venezuela and Argentina, where basic freedoms and rights are being violated everyday.
On 29 January 2011, Saturday, a new regulation of the Spanish General Electoral Law (LOREG) was published. Nobody made any noise on it, neither the Spanish media, totally submissive to the politic power, nor the political parties in the Parliament (of course). In this new regulation, the political parties that were not already in the Parliament, needed to present before they could participate in any electoral process, a number of endorsements (i.e. signatures) equivalent to the 0,1% of the population of any of the areas in which the country is split electorally speaking. This implies that, for instance, in the case of the province of Madrid, almost 5000 signatures were needed to be collected. The conditions were more challenging that only the collection of the signatures, because the political parties that were not already in the parliament had only 20 days to do it, and with an additional difficulty: the signatures had to be unique per each political party. Hence, the 20 small political parties that usually were participating in Madrid, for instance, needed to obtain for the signatures of at least 100.000 citizens to be able to be present in the electoral process. In 20 days.
But it was not only the difficulty of such conditions. It is also what in a democratic country that implies: citizens were requested to disclose, with name, Id number and signature, their electoral preference. Totally antidemocratic. Logically many, many of them rejected to sign, as vote is, in accordance with the Spanish Constitution, secret.
The reason for this modification in the law was clear: day after day the Spanish citizens are getting more and more pissed off with the Spanish politicians that only rule in their own benefit, far from the real needs of the people and that consider politics as a way to live comfortably without effort and just living from the result of the work of the citizens. Hence, new political parties were appearing with great success that were threatening their comfortable status-quo. They needed to stop it. And they did it.
However, the P-Lib succeeded. People belonging to the party, together with friends and other supporters spent the ruled 20 days in the streets (I did it also a couple of days) collecting (or trying to) the requested signatures. I can not describe with words the personal effort that it implied and how difficult it was, you need to live it in order to know it. But the people had a lot of hopes and wished and they/we considered that it was worthy.
Monday 17th of October, the last day to present the signatures, the P-Lib presented 5540 (the minimum were around 4600) in Madrid, and around 1000 in Zaragoza (the minimum were around 700) in the Electoral Council Offices of each city. Therefore, in Madrid, the P-Lib presented almost 1000 signatures more than the minimum requested. It was done…
… or not.
On Wednesday 19th of October, the Electoral Council of Madrid communicated officially to the P-Lib that they had discarded more than 900 signatures because they were supposed to be erroneous. However no evidence of this was provided (no evidence could be provided because they never checked the 5540 signatures, but only some and made an extrapolation). Nevertheless the P-Lib was officially given an additional period of 48 hours to collect the 94 additional signatures needed to reach the minimum limit. P-Lib activated again the people and in 24 hours was able to collect more than 550 signatures.
But in the evening of the Thursday 20th of October, when al the new signatures had been already collected ready to be presented on Friday 21st of October, the Electoral Council of Madrid communicated (again) to the P-Lib that, contradicting what they had said the day before, no additional signatures were allowed to be presented to solve the problem.
Therefore, from that moment on, the P-Lib was de-facto out of the electoral process. Considering that the Electoral Council never justified exactly which of the 5540 were wrong, the party had not possibility to solve this issue. And in case that they were really wrong (the 900 they stated), the signatures were collected in the street so it was not possible to find the people who signed. The Electoral Council new that it was materially impossible.
On Friday 21st however the P-Lib presented the additional 560 signatures together with a petition to consider the additional signatures as it was stated by the same Council on 19th of October. However the P-Lib was officially communicated that they were out of the elections.
And this is how we are today. For first time in the democratic history of Spain, legal political parties will be prevented of participating in democratic elections. But not only that. What happened to the P-Lib shows the arbitrariness that you need to face in order to make use of your democratic rights. Improper of a (self-called) civilized country belonging to the “first world”.
Now the only exit that the P-Lib will try is the legal one: P-Lib will go to the Spanish Justice to present their case and, if possible, to try to impugn the whole electoral process. However, considering that in Spain the judges are elected by the same political parties that are present in the Parliament (yes, this is the way the justice works in Spain), there is no hope on the success of this solution.
It is possible that the candidature of Zaragoza will be accepted (no problems have been communicated), but until Monday we will not know this. In any case, considering the population of both cities, deactivating the candidature of Madrid, the Electoral Council has killed effectively any possibility for the party to obtain representation in the parliament.
All the efforts of so many people will have been useless. All the hopes and wishes of dozens of people that worked hard will have been despised. And thousands of Spaniards will not be allowed to vote to the political option they wanted.
Update (25/10/11): the infamy is confirmed.