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Report on Democracy in Spain 2007

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Report on Democracy in Spain 2007
    The development of a strategy of confrontation  as a method for  politically debilitating the governing socialists is the central conclusion of the first  Report on Democracy in Spain , relevant to the year 2006. This strategy of confrontation  has affected the workings of democracy in a very direct way on three different levels: the relationship between the government and the opposition; everyday life of some institutions central to the system; and, finally, the coexistence of citizens, with the creation of a divisive situation among them.    The Different Levels of Government    Government and its Citizens    The Different Levels of Government      The Justice Administration    Political Power – Economic Power    Pluralism and Independence in the Media    The Impact of Corruption on Democracy SUMMARY The Strategy of Confrontation   REPORT ON DEMOCRACY IN SPAIN/ 2007   1    2  In order to produce this Report on Democracy in Spain, Laboratorio Fundación Alternativas assigned a Advisory Board who, joining to the report director, have agreed orientation and design through several sessions, being aware of every paper in process and proposals of final documents. A research team employed by Laboratorio Alternativas has done the collection and selection of information, production of relevant data and the start essay of the different chapters that compound the Report, CONSEJO ASESOR INVESTIGADORES * Estefanía Moreira, Joaquín Director del Informe Bacigalupo Saggese, Mariano Arango Vila-Velda, Joaquín Barreiro Pérez-Pardo, Belén Barreiro Pérez-Pardo, Belén Criado, Olmos, Henar Lafuente Félez, Alberto Fernández Seijo, José María Leguina Villa, Jesús González de la Vega, Ignacio U Maravall Herrero, José María Jiménez Sánchez, Fernando Ontiveros Baeza, Emilio León Alfonso, Sandra Pradera Cortázar, Javier Lledó Callejón, Pablo Sánchez-Cuenca, Ignacio Mulas Granados, Carlos Santamaría Osorio, Julián Ruiz-Rufino, Rubén Eguiagaray Ucelay, Juan Manuel Director Laboratorio de Alternativas Ortiz Vicente, Javier Subdirector Laboratorio de Alternativas EDICIÓN : Fernando Pedrós. COORDINACIÓN: Javier Ortiz y Guillermo Cordero. MAQUETACIÓN: Chano del Río. 3  FOREWORD Democracy, to be recognized as such, requires a previous set of basic assumptions embodied as rules and institutions that characterize its nature, express and symbolize shared values and channel a right working of social relations. The 1978 Spanish Constitution is the formal expression of principles and rules of the game that we, Spanish citizens, have given ourselves,in order to peacefully resolve social conflicts and organize our collective life in liberty. Fortunately, democracy is an unquestionable reality in Spain, as seen in our daily life experience.  Nevertheless, for different reasons, we find it plausible and even compulsory to question ourselves as to how democracy is functioning. The is may be to the following: decisions taken by public authorities seem unfair to us, the great contrast with our deepest values and preferences, certain public representatives who appear to be involved in questionable  practices or, taken from a different prospective, because certain social concerns do not find the most appropriate channel to express themselves or receive a satisfactory collective solution. In the above mentioned cases and in many others, as varied as collective life itself, the result is an inevitable feeling of insatisfaction towards the reality of democracy and a growing interest in the improvement of social results. However, the extent of such a  praiseworthy goal requires a shared conviction among citizens and their representatives that the resulting diagnosis and the proposed remedies can help to attain the desired outcome. Thus, social debate is not only a consequence of the existing pluralism but also an essential condition for the improvement of the democratic system itself. When Fundacion Alternativas considered writing up its first Report on Democracy in Spain 2007, the aim was to bring forth accurate data to formulate the desired social debate. This information, organised into an advanced idea of democracy, should allow one to appropriately understand the role played by different State Authorities and their reciprocal relations,motivations and behaviour of different social agents, especially  political parties and the fulfilment of duties carried out by the main democratic institutions. What lies behind this analysis is the conviction that not all behaviour is equally acceptable in democracy, according to certain explicitly valued criteria,as well as more or less functional institutions, according to the results offered by certain activity indicators or by taking into account comparative outcome obtained from abroad. Once this behaviour has been analysed and the accurate indicators have been determined, a certain assessment could be reached, as provisional and partial as one would consider but, at least, supported by a precise empirical analysis and a rigorous methodology in relation to certain aspects of our democratic system of special public relevance. Moreover, the observance and follow-up of this could,in time, contribute to directing social debate around problems of general interest, to generating shared convictions among different  political visions and, eventually,to mobilising the necessary efforts to improve the 4  existing institutional designs in order to stimulate the behaviour of social agents in accordance with socially valued preferences. This Report fulfils this defined purpose. It is the result of discussion and careful planning of every chapter during an entire year. In the course of this period of time, a qualified team of researchers including sociologists, political scientists, economists and law experts carried out an exhaustive search for relevant information in order to explain, compare, measure and give meaning to the effective working of the most significant powers and institutions in our public life: the Government and the Opposition, Parliament, central and territorial powers, Justice, economic powers and their relationships with the mass media. The texts included in this primary Report are the product of the work and competence of the research team, who, furthermore, have benefited from the global orientation,  proposals and analytical suggestions that arose in several monographic meetings with the Report's Advisory Council. Joaquín Estefanía, the Director of the publication, is the intelligent coordinator and enthusiastic drive behind this work. I feel privileged to share responsibility with him, not in the wise decisions he has taken, but in the remaining deficiencies that could be found. The aim of Laboratorio de la Fundación Alternativas , is to continue publishing reports of a similar nature during the years to come, which will include the improvements srcinating from the opinions we have received, as well as experience and available information.  Nevertheless, our hope is that this first report arouses the interest of opinion makers and contributes to placing in the centre of public debate the need to unanimously make an effort to improve habits, principles and institutions which intensify social satisfaction and enhance the legitimacy of our organized collective lives. Juan M. Eguiagaray Ucelay Director of  Laboratorio de Alternativas 5
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