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Spanish Parliament back in business: Belgium still holds the record at 541 government-free days, but leaderless Spain coped better
31 October 2016 @ 20:38

SPAIN'S new government re-forms today (Monday) after avoiding a third general election in the nick of time which could have seen the country creep closer to Belgium's record of 541 days without a leader – but polls showed Spanish people were far less bothered about it than their northern neighbour was, and that the country was far less affected in policy terms.

Now Mariano Rajoy (PP) is back in power, albeit in a minority and against the better judgment even of those outside his party who abstained to let him through, Spain's legal limbo is about to draw to a close and crucial aspects such as economic and foreign policy can once again be dealt with, including signing off the 2017 State budget.

These have been sitting on the shelf for 318 days, but a survey has shown that only 11.6% of Spaniards were concerned about not having a government.

Yet between Belgium's Parliament dissolving on June 13, 2010 and re-forming on December 6, 2011, the negative impact on the economy was palpable: its credit rating was slashed and the cost of obtaining credit went through the roof.

This led to mass protests in Belgium and even plans by the wives of male politicians to withhold sex from their husbands, a near-identical form of coercion to that written 2,500 years ago by Greek comedy playwright Aristophanes, in his famous work Lysistrata.

But the only protests seen in Spain were on the very day the president was invested, on Saturday evening when the PSOE's abstention allowed Rajoy back into government for another four-year term.


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