Recently Vox leader, Santiago Abascal, tweeted that the Spanish government was the worst government in the last 80 years, stating the following facts:

enter image description here


🚩 Never in 80 years has a government destroyed more GDP in Spain

🚩 Never in 80 years did public debt and unemployment have increased so much

🚩 Never in 80 years has a government caused a greater territorial division or made a pact with all the enemies of Spain

That is the truth that it hurts so much.

We will not be silent.

Tweet is here.

To be fair, GDP, public debt on unemployement should be measured on percentage, not on absolute values, about last fact, it's a bit subjective, but things that contributed to these territorial division and deals can be put for comparison.

As enemies of Spain we can consider the following ones from El pais newspaper where it's stated that what would be the enemies of Spain would be politicians from countries who want to separte from Spain who have the intention of declaring independecy for their places breaking the law that considers Spain as whole nation (this would be the best translation of "golpistas separatistas"), communists and the own PSOE.

For those 80 years we can consider also what in the time were considered those "golpistas separatistas", communists, and the own PSOE (which indeed was created before those 80 years).

Are these facts true?

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    I edited your question slightly: I added a screenshot of the quote and I translated the entire tweet. If you feel I edited to much then feel free to revert your original post. Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 15:09
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    As Spain was not in the world wars I expect the first two to be trivial y true due to covid 19. What is the not inability?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 17:12
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    The third "fact" seems to be split into two, unless I'm missing some context and explanation. For the second part, I'm lost on how to consider it "factually". How to handle the question of who the enemies are? Are Mr. Abascal's opinions of who these enemies are generally well known, and this question changed to ask if a pact was made with them?
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 18:08
  • @Dan Getz, according to translate.google.com/…, for Abascal, spanish enemies are communists, separatists and the own PSOE. Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 18:44
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    OK, so is the fact which you want to investigate "is this the first government in 80 years to make a pact with (all?) groups which Abascal considers enemies of Spain"? If so, could you edit the question to make that explicitly clear? It might still be hard to answer—one would need to know who from 70 years ago he'd consider enemies of Spain, for example.
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


(Partial answer: I'm leaving the third claim out for now. That one leaves the most to interpretation so I'm not sure this part is even answerable)

Before we get started: 1) there are lots of images 2) Getting data from 1940 is hard and I couldn't get what I wanted for all the different claims. As such, I had to limit the period chosen to more recent years for some of those 3) In a way a follow-up: but 1940 was very different from what we have today, which asks why the timescale used (of 80 years) is so big.

Context of Spanish politics

The Franco era started in 1936 and ended in 1975 with his death. Spain became democratic with the constitution of 1978 and since then its legislative power resides with the Parliament, while the executive power is attributed to the prime minister. The current prime minister is Pedro Sánchez since 2 June 2018, who is a member of the PSOE, which currently has a majority. This is what Santiago Abascal is referring to when mentioning the current government.

"Never in 80 years has a government destroyed more GDP in Spain"

Because the tweet is unclear on this, there are several ways to consider it.

This is the evolution of GDP in absolute value for Spain (in million of current US dollars): evolution absolute GDP

And this is the evolution of the growth (in %) of the GDP:

evolution growth GDP

It is also possible to consider the evolution of the GDP per capita, which has an increasing trend, even if it can be argued that Spain does it slightly worse than some of other countries in Western Europe as seen here:

Relative per capita evolution

For short: in terms of absolute value (globally or per capita), this would clearly be false, but this can be true if picking the percentage based growth or relative GDP compared to some other countries (more comparisons on the website if you are interested).

Overall rating is mixed.

"Never in 80 years did public debt and unemployment have increased so much"

Public debt first.

Considering debt as a percentage of the GDP, it has varied quite a bit, as per Business Insider:

Spain debt as percent of GDP 1880 and more

Santiago Abascal is himself sharing a similar image, with added context, showing that several crises result in increases to the GDP, along with some predictions from financial institutions (dating from early 2020, so before the COVID-19 crisis):

Spain debt as percent of GDP with extra context

Currently, Spain is facing an historically high decrease in GDP of 18.5% (as of July 2020):

RIP Spain GDP 18p5 percent down

Hence the statement that the government "is destroying the GDP more than has ever been done in the past 80 years". While that is the lowest of the Euro area, the COVID-19 is also an unprecedented economic crisis, driving the overall GDP of the Euro area down by 12.1%:

Decrease GDP Euro area and members

In absolute value, it has kept increasing: Absolute Spain HDP 1880 and more

Which means that both in relative and absolute terms, this part of the claim appears to be true, but it has to be put into perspective with the current economical crisis due to COVID-19.

Now for unemployment rate.

The oldest records for unemployment I could find are from 1955 and can be seen below (continuous line):

Unenmployment rate 1955 and more

It is true that Spain also appears to be the #1 country in the European Union in unemployment rate as of June 2020, sitting at 15.6%, however it did reach much worse rates, sitting at about 26% in 2013, so the time period considered is important. A more recent extract to complete the missing years between 1993 and today:

employment rate Spain in percent 1976 and more

Compared to 1955 which is the earliest reference I could find, this appears to be true, however Spain did get higher unemployment rates at times (e.g: 2013).

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    It looks like you're interpreting "destroy GDP" as meaning "have GDP decrease on their watch", without any analysis of agency or guilt. I think it might help to be explicit about that, otherwise it might sound like you're drawing a conclusion about agency or guilt. (I know that conflating these two ideas is common politics-speak, but we're not all politicians here.)
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 17:56
  • @DanGetz I added context for both the current government (not everyone follows Spain's politics after all :P) and extra context to the changes in GDP both for Spain and the Euro zone as comparison. That should leave less room to misinterpretation. Tell me if I still need to clear things up.
    – Entropy
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 19:51
  • Ok, re-reading it, it's hard to separate GDP from public debt, since the national debt is very often expressed as a percentage of GDP, so parts 1 & 2 overlap. I'll re-arrange the answer when I can to avoid the repetition tomorrow if I can.
    – Entropy
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 20:15
  • This answer is really confusing. You have two different images that you refer to as being graphs of GDP in absolute terms. One shows a decrease. The other shows an increase ... and is labeled "dueda". Also, you say the claim is false for absolute GDP, but not percentage change. But shouldn't current absolute numbers be of greater magnitude than current percentage change? Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 1:47

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