For some, Popular Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy, who is aiming to lead his party to victory against the Socialists (PSOE) on March 9, is playing with fire by using the immigrant issue to sway voters on his side. While some Spaniards see Rajoy’s tactics as a desperate attempt to get more votes, the PP leader’s comments on the matter are getting more frequent.
At a campaign rally on Wednesday in Tereife in the Canary Islands, he reiterated his get-tough line on immigration by stating that the country was being flooded by foreigners and blamed the ruling PSOE for the situation. “Everyone who wants to, cannot enter this country at will,” he said. “There’s not enough room for all of us.”
Rajoy has recently suggested that one of the things he’d do if elected would be to force immigrants to sign a contract, which would oblige them respect Spanish culture and customs.
This ridiculous proposal by the PP leader is flawed from the start since we don’t know what he actually means by “Spanish culture.” Does it mean that a Muslim must abandon his religion for Catholicism? Must he eat paella on weekends and go to bullfights?
Why doesn’t Rajoy propose a similar contract for the sometimes unruly Basques and Catalans?
If the PP wins the elections with the help of immigrant bashing, we’re in for some very difficult years in Spain taking into account that the economic slowdown will exacerbate matters. Foreigners from South America and Arabic countries will be the hardest hit.
Rajoy should understand that it’s one matter to make populist statements and another matter to put them back in the cage.