Those familiar with British politics are often surprised by the lack of a direct link in Spain between elected politician and constituent. Whereas in the UK Members of Parliament are expected to have regular direct contact with their electorate, and hold weekly “surgeries” to meet them and discuss issues, in Spain such encounters are much rarer, and the public’s interaction with politicians is more limited.
That is why the press is intrigued by the initiative of Rosa Díez (pictured), spokesman in the Congress for Unión Progreso y Democracia, to meet fortnightly for face-to-face chats with any members of the public who wish to see her.
Díez argues that starting a regular process of dialogue with citizens is good for politicians in order to keep them in touch with feelings on the streets. However, it has other attractions for politicians too.
El Mundo reports that this initiative is already reaping benefits for Díez, with positive comments from the fifteen people who met with her at her first “surgery”, One, a former PP activist, even signed up to her party.
Díez will hold her second “surgery” next week to accommodate the twenty people who she was unable see first time round due to time constraints.
More interaction between politician and electorate is always welcome, and Díez should be applauded. It remains to be seen if she will continue this initiative after the General Election, but hopefully she will, and others will follow lead.