July 16, 2019 Print

Just in time to affect regional elections in May, Institucíon Futuro (IF), an Atlas Network partner based in Navarre, Spain, has published 7 reports that expose inefficient spending by the government. Navarre, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, has suffered multiple economic casualties since Podemos, a populist party, and EH Bildu, a nationalist party, gained control of Parliament in 2018. 

IF’s reports, which were were published between November 2018 and May 2019, analyzed the government’s annual budget from 2015 to 2018, connecting the economic decline with populist control. The reports provided voters with the information they needed to make an informed decision in the May elections. According to IF, the influence that these two parties have had on public policy has included increased tax rates and an unnecessary mass hiring of civil servants.

Each report was accompanied by a short video, which gained significant popularity with young audiences via social media and national press coverage. IF also attracted media attention through “For a Better Navarre,” a conference hosted a week before the elections. During the conference, Miguel Belloso, editor of Actualidad Económica magazine, and Carlos Cuesta, editor of OK Diariodigital newspaper, spoke to more than 100 attendees about the danger of increasing public spending without control. 

IF’s reports received both positive and negative responses. “The left-wing and populist newspaper in our region has tried to attack our think tank because of the reports we have been launching,” said Ana Yerro, Director of Communications at IF. “We interpret these attacks as a good sign: the papers have harmed the populists and they have felt the need to respond to them.”

In spite of media attacks on the reports, Navarra Suma, the right-wing conservative party, won 20 of the 50 seats in the Navarrese parliament in the May elections. “The fact that right-wing political parties have increased the number of votes in the regional elections proves that our project has made changes in public opinion,” commented Yerro. 

Although the new government has not yet been established, Yerro expects that Podemos and EH Bildu will hold very little control in Parliament.