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Spanish election: Young people are more politically active

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By Carlos Marlasca
Spanish election: Young people are more politically active

First time voters and the influence of a new party are likely to change the political landscape in the upcoming Spanish general election. There are around 35 million eligible voters, with just over a million young people who could go to the polls for the first time. They have a new set of concerns.

What do some of the Spanish millennial generation think

Beatriz Rodriguez is a student and said, "The generation of today is very interested in gender equality, climate change, and the fight against corruption of politicians"

Student Cesar Quiaro added, "No extreme is good. People are very extreme on one side, very extreme on the other, and that's what scares me."

This demographic naturally faces a more complex political map.

"I think it's good that there are different parties because if there are different opinions, the parties are able to talk and create pacts which represent a majority of the population,” said Naiara Vega, also a student

Maria Gramunt, a student said, "It's a positive thing but we must also be careful with extremism and see which direction society is moving towards, because in the end if there are more parties it shows that society is more divided."

And they are aware of the dangers of the Internet.

Gramunt added, "I believe that fake news is a terrible thing for society as a whole, something that we must fight against and I believe it's often difficult to detect."

"If you remain in the superficiality of a social network, you'll always get the news that is false or not the truth," added Quiaro.

Millennial generation more politically active

Sociologists point out that the millennial generation is more active politically than others in recent decades because of the access to information is easier. Their issues have begun to impact on the older generations and forced new forms of political communication.

Professor Inaki Ortega of Deusto Business School said the millennial generation is defined by four characteristics.

"One is the internet. They have socialised since birth with the internet. Two is irreverence. They don’t care anymore about the established power and go against anything. Three is uncertainty - they don't know what their future will be. And four is innovation. Either they change and move on or they don't know if they're going to have a future. They are like the world we live in - liquid, changing, and uncertain. So they answer without restrictions to the current issues. A political party enters into the right? Great, why not. Then there is a party on the left that turns the whole country upside down? That's great. Why not?"

Changing the Spanish political map

Podemos was one of the parties that changed the Spanish political map after its birth in 2014. Capitalizing on the discontent on the 15 of May, the Purple party obtained seventy-one seats in Congress in the last elections. Together with Ciudadanos, the two newcomers ended the dominance of the majority parties.

Isabel Serra, is a Podemos candidate for the Madrid Region and she said, "It's true that there have been things that have radically changed the panorama in terms of, for example, limiting mandates, demanding primaries for parties, eliminating the special legal protection for politicians which are also at the centre of political debate. I believe having more political parties does distribute power in some way, but it complicates the possibilities of agreements and therefore opens up the debates, generates more debates and I believe that this is always positive."

New party

The polls are predicting the arrival of another new player in the lower house, Vox. They will represent the first entry in Parliament of an extreme right-wing party since the 1979 elections. The rise of such a party can be traced directly from the impacts of the economic crisis and the push for independence in Catalonia.

"You have to bear in mind that normally new party's are based on emotional moments. If the emotion is lost, the party will lose support. At the moment when they can manage not only emotions but also the day-to-day political life, their endurance will be much greater. In a situation of an economic crisis in the future, it undoubtedly benefits the traditional parties, in this case, the right of the Popular Party, because they are perceived as better crisis managers than new parties," said José Pablo Ferrándiz, Ph.D. in Sociology and is Principal Investigator of Demoscopia.