In a recent interview with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Spain's interior minister and candidate for Congress Jorge Fernandez Diaz revealed that he possesses his very own guardian angel named Marcelo, who helps him with tasks such as parking the car. Coming from a man who awards national policing medals to statues of the Virgin Mary, such expressions of faith are not enormously surprising.
As Spain heads to vote in general elections on December 20, it remains to be seen whether Marcelo's services also extend to the ballot box. Various polls have put the right-wing People's Party (PP) - the domain of Fernandez Diaz and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy - in the lead, but these aren't your run-of-the-mill Spanish elections.
The traditional showdown between the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE), the two entities that have dominated Spain's political scene in the post-Franco era, has been expanded to include two additional contenders for a substantial piece of the pie: the right-wing Ciudadanos Party and the left-wing Podemos (meaning "we can" in Spanish).
The latter materialised just last year and rapidly accrued a widespread following with its anti-austerity, pro-transparency message - one that resonated with sectors of the population devastated by the financial crisis.
Much of the devastation was a result of the fact that, in exemplary neoliberal fashion, the Spanish powers that be had shunted blame for the crisis onto the lower echelons of society, slashing education, healthcare, and other necessities and evicting people en masse from their homes. Meanwhile, those same powers continued to indulge in the privileges of institutional corruption. READ MORE AT ALJAZEERA ENGLISH.