Updated: Reports of electoral fraud in Spain

As mentioned in comments on my last post, there are reports today of numerous discrepancies in vote counting across Spain. Many of these incidents involve relatively small numbers of votes. But taken together, there are enough examples to plausibly suggest a widespread campaign against parties of the left, and those supporting independence for some of the ‘autonomous regions’ in Spain.

The story is being widely reported in the Catalan and Basque pro-independence media but has had few mentions in the mainstream Spanish press. The main party apparently affected by these discrepancies is Iniciativa Internacionalista (II-SP), which the Spanish government failed to have banned shortly before the elections. Zapatero’s government accused II-SP of being a front organisation for ETA but failed to present evidence supporting this claim to the courts. II-SP received a vote of support from Arnaldo Otegi, spokesman for the outlawed Basque party Batasuna days before the elections. PP leader, Mariano Rajoy named them “the ETA list”, while UPyD leader Rosa Díez declared that II-SP “is ETA”. Apparently taking the lead from the USA’s former right-wing government, neither party leader deigned to share their evidence with the voters they were appealing to.

The allegations fall into three groups: (a) the general feeling that the huge increase in blank and spoiled votes coincides a little too smoothly with II-SP and other parties faring more poorly than expected; (b) specific examples of localities reporting examples of discrepancies between town-hall and Spanish Ministry of Interior official figures; and (c) inexplicable displays of support for far-right parties in areas where they have never previously shown any support (normally at the expense of another party which did worse than expected).

It’s too late for me to scurry around collecting examples of the three groups now, but the comments pages of this Avui story list several (at least one of which, the Vilafranca del Penedès one, seems to have been ‘corrected’, though by which side, I can’t tell). Rab is sure that the way that these discrepancies affect specific parties suggests a fraud. I’ll wait and see what appears tomorrow before I make the same judgement.


OK this is getting silly.

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega (Spanish VP)’s constituency recorded no votes for the PSOE

Europe of the Peoples-Greens have denounced irregularities

II-SP officials removed from recounts

Numerous towns appear to have returned erroneous numbers, major Spanish press outlets stay silent

7 thoughts on “Updated: Reports of electoral fraud in Spain

  1. I don’t know what to think anymore Tom, I am in two minds about this.

    One minute I think it is just incompetence (chapuza); next minute I think it is so, so suspicious that it can only be fraud or just local level manipulation.

    What compounds my suspicions towards fraud:

    a) How quiet the mainstream Spanish media is about this story.
    It reminds me of the train bombs in Madrid when the Government told newspapers what to print (“ETA is behind the bombs”) and all the media complied, all of them. Even PSOE newspapers like El Periodico blindly obeyed government’s instructions at the time for the first day or two, as narrated by the then editor Antonio Franco on an editorial.

    b) The distribution of errors tends to be more detrimental to anti-system, far-left or pro-independence parties; it is never detrimental to the PP or I have not yet seen any instances. Happy to be put right though.

    In favour of the chapuza:
    c) I note that the story is fading away in the Catalan media, neither Avui nor VilaWeb seem to be running the story as top news. I will await with interest Vilaweb’s editorial tomorrow about this issue.

    In Spain anything can happen, including a mess-up with SQL tables during election counting; but the massive increase in Null and Blank votes in the big cities, where it is easier to hide them, is at least odd. Big cities like Barcelona where II would have expected more votes than it has got.

    If this had happened in any other country, it would be headline news until it was resolved one way or another. But not in Spain. Odd, very odd indeed.

  2. Yes, my thinking is similar to yours on this. The increase in spoiled and blank ballots (a sixfold increase in Catalonia) alone points to something weird having happened. I didn’t hear of any calls to protest by spoiling ballots or submitting blank ballots, so this cannot have been done by the voters.

    But I don’t like the temptation that conspiracy theories offer. Though many conspiracies have occurred in the history of politics, especially in Spain, I’m a skeptic.

    What should have happened is a statement from MIR that they will investigate these apparent irregularities. Their silence, and that of the vast majority of the press, is a shame and – whatever happened during the counting – will only add to many people’s suspicions.

  3. Amazing how the media are turning a blind eye to this issue without exception. Even if it was only a “mistake”, it’s serious enough to make it to the front page of every single newspaper. All in all, I would say it’s disconcertingly shocking.

  4. I deleted my last comment and appended it to the post. Feel free to post links to related stories and I’ll add them to the post in the morning.

  5. We want the truth!
    WE NEED YOUR SIGNATURE claiming a clarification to the irregularities found during the European Elections in the country of Spain
    Several irregularities were detected during the European Polls in Spain. Those were different kind:
    • Many votes were assigned to candidates who didn’t receive those votes. Example: In the basque municipality of Amezketa (Province of Gipuzkoa) the party called POSI received 100% of the votes owned by Iniciativa Internacionalista.
    • Valid votes were counted as invalid. Example: In the province of Guadalajara 50% of the votes counted as invalids were discovered as valid when they were double checked.
    • Increase of white and invalid votes has been huge and suspicious and there is not a clear explanation for that. Statistical analysis of the increase per region makes no sense. Despite participation on this polls was similar to 2004 polls, white votes increased 125.000 and invalids increased 50.000. The clearest case we find in Cataluña, a region where II votes were expected to be higher, there is 534% increase on white votes and a 366% increase on invalid votes.
    In addition, citizens found different obstacles when intending to get the counting data coming from the double checking process.
    Regarding mass media, except some few courageous journals, the Spanish TV channels and newspapers are hidden this situation. That’s why we need citizen collaboration to show the situation and finally know the truth. We do not demand anything else, we just want to know the truth!!


  6. Well, I have read Vilaweb’s editorial and I am now more puzzled than before.


    For a start, it is very mild and very much sitting on the fence.

    Still, this looks and feels weird: weeks after election date, the official results are not yet available. Is this happening in any other state in Europe?

    Yes a few hundred votes here and there have been reinstated to II and other parties. But observers on behalf of II are thrown out of the re-counting process, and the ‘blank’ and ‘null’ votes are not made available for rechecking. Why not?

    And the press keeps quiet about it, which is what worries me the most.

    The Spanish mass media blanks this story so only the Basque media are reporting on it.

    The more we wait, the worst it looks.

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