Spain is in the grip of election fever. With less than a week to go before polling day on March 9, the campaign is receiving blanket media coverage, while politicians on the hustings talk themselves hoarse. But the countryâ??s business community remains quiet. Unlike in other western countries, Spainâ??s corporate figures will not publicly endorse candidates. Nor is it acceptable to criticise the government during an election campaign. And, if Spainâ??s business leaders are natural allies of the opposition Popular party (PP), they are discreet in their support.
The reasons for this seeming political impartiality at election time are manifold, say experts. Culturally, it is considered bad taste in Spain for business leaders to make public their grievances with government policy. Most lobbying efforts are channelled less directly, through business associations or private meetings.
However, this public neutrality is also motivated by fear, according to Fernando Casado, general manager of the Family Business Institute in Madrid. â??There is still quite a bit of political intervention in the Spanish economy,â? he says. â??Itâ??s not in any chief executiveâ??s interest to favour one side or the other. It could cost you business.â?