Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Spanish evangelicals and the General Election on 9 March

There are general elections in Spain this sunday, March 9th 2008. 4 years ago, the Madrid train bombings, occurring just 3 days before, was influential in a surprise victory for the Socialist Party (PSOE) over the conservative Partido Popular (PP). This year, Zapatero's Socialists are ahead in the opinion polls. Immigration, a relatively recent phenomenon in Spain, but one which presents significant challenges, is a big issue on the agenda, as is the economy.

The Spanish evangelical news website, protestante digital (page in English) has several items discussing the forthcoming elections from a christian point of view. The website has been running a on-line opinion poll, which gives some rough indication of likely evangelical voting tendencies. Of 597 votes (to date), 42% have indicated they will vote for the conservative PP, 25% for the socialist PSOE and 17% for other parties (including various regional nationalist parties).

As the article (in Spanish) analysing the results of this modest opinion poll notes, voting options for evangelicals are far from straightforward. The PP is in favour of strong links between the state and the Catholic Church, a position which makes evangelicals nervous given the long history of the suppression of religious minorities, including Protestants, throughout Spanish history. On the other hand the socialists have been pursuing quite an aggressive programme of liberalisation, often overtly antireligious, that has included the legalisation of homosexual marriages and adoptions, and the liberalisation of abortion. According to this article, across Europe evangelicals tend to be progressive in relation to questions of social justice and conservative on ethical issues:

If this is so for evangelicals in Spain, many will be unsure how to vote on sunday. Before marking their voting slip, every christian voter will have to decide, among other things, which of these two axes they should give more importance to: the biblical concern for equality and social justice or biblical values in relation to moral questions. Going for one or the other will have a big say in whether the vote will head left or right.

A booklet has been produced by the Independent Civic Observatory linked, I believe, to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance called Voting Wisely, advising Christians how to approach the issue of voting in the election. For a summary (in English) about the booklet go here

Let us pray for Spanish Christians as they vote, for Evangelical groups as they seek to have an influence for Christ on the political process & Spanish society in general, and for the increasing impact of the gospel in Spain whatever the outcome of this sunday's elections.

P.S. See also the links on the bbc website and here & wikipedia about the forthcoming elections

1 comment:

Samuel Crespo Gracia said...

Well, the general election is over. Socialist Party won again and as a Christian i just can say that I do not know how do I feel. It is like that ... you know? Will the whole political issue make any difference?