Various news items in Spain

This week the newly elected members of the Spanish parliament will start registration procedures in the Congress, prior to the creation of the new Government. 169 (48%) of the 350 MPs are newly elected members. The party with the biggest percentage of newcomers is the winning Socialist party – 96 of the PSOE members of parliament are new (53%) which is good news for people anxious for Zapatero to continue with the party’s renovation from within, (source: Cadena Ser). Meanwhile according to a poll carried out by Cadena Ser, only 8% voters changed their vote after the 11 M attack.

A special law, Royal Decree, has been passed and gives any illegal immigrants in Spain affected by the terrorist attacks in Madrid 6 months, as from today, to legalise their situation. The day after the bombings, Government spokesmen said that all illegal immigrants affected by the attacks (including victims’ families) would be granted Spanish residence.

This announcement was made as it became clear that many illegal immigrants were holding back from going to look for family members in hospitals (or IFEMA where the bodies of people killed were taken), because they were scared of being discovered by the authorities. According to El Mundo, authorities now have quite a job on their hands, as hundreds of immigrants come forward claiming that they have been affected in some way by the train bombs.

This morning’s news in Spain, as probably everywhere, (on internet, radio, tv) is dominated by the assassination by Israel of the founder of Hamas, Ahmed Yassin, which is bound to escalate violence even further in that sad, punished region. Palestinian militants have already warned that with this murder, Israel has “opened the gates of hell” and should expect swift and bloody retaliation.

It is difficult to know what Sharon and his government hope to achieve with acts like these, which only add further instability to the region and, ultimately, make it easier for extremist Islamic groups (which support terrorist crimes such as the one carried out in Madrid) to draw furious young people to their cause.