Spain: Government scrapped plan to tighten abortion law. But…

Why this turnaround, would you say that the Rajoy’s announcement is a big surprise? Read few comments.

Luis Bouza García, Academic Coordinator of European General Studies courses, College of Europe

The minister of justice had been entrusted with reviewing the abortion law, but it soon became evident there was little support even within his own party. The affair got blocked everywhere and the government has understood it could be a further blow mobilising left parties supporters in the next election, so they decided to let it go at the risk of making the far right supporters of reform angry. They are a much smaller group than centre and centre to left voters who would mobilise against him.

Not really a surprise, it had been leaked since September the project was over. However the abortion battle is not yet over, there’s still a legal case against the current PSOE law introduced by the Popular Party in the Constitutional court still pending, so the current law could be reviewed by the constitutional court rather than by a new law in Parliament.

Ramon Pacheco PardoLecturer, King’s College London

I don’t think that Rajoy’s announcement was a surprised, but rather an expected development. The two main reasons behind this announcement were known for at least one year – opposition to the reform even within the party and its votes, as well as the unnecessary problems that this law was creating at a time when the government has to deal with the recovery from the economic crisis and nationalist disputes.

Alejandro QuirogaReader in Spanish History, School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University

The fact that the government decided to postpone passing the law in parliament was not surprising, but the full withdrawing of the legislation and the resignation of the Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, was. Still, the reasons behind the Rajoy government decision are purely electorally oriented. The conservatives are facing municipal, regional and general elections in 2015 and all opinion polls showed that the vast majority of Spaniards were against changing the law on abortion. Rajoy’s spin doctors convinced the PM that passing the law would have a very high electoral cost. It was purely a damage-containing manoeuvre.

Carsten Humlebæk,  Assistant ProfessorDepartment of International Culture and Communication Studies, Copenhagen Business School

As regards to the abortion of the abortion law, I wouldn’t say that it has come as a big surprise. Despite being approved back in December last year, the government – strangely – had not taken it further in the legislative process, which is a signal that something is wrong somewhere. The problem in this case most probably was that the reform threatened to cause conflict within the ranks of the governing PP. So the only surprise really has been that on this particular issue PM Rajoy seemingly has come to his senses and changed his normal stubborn insistency to take reforms ahead despite warnings and conflicts. But his decision on softening the position on the abortion law is probably influenced by the fact that Spain is heading into an electoral year (with general election in November 2015 at the latest) which is a bad moment for controversial reform.


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