Grassroots Movements Revive Interest in Spain Politics

In an apartment block in central Madrid, homeowners and tenants in danger of being evicted gather every Thursday to plan awareness campaigns and get free advice from lawyers. "The Mortgage Victims' Association', or PAH - its initials in Spanish, has stopped hundreds of evictions and is one of many grassroots campaigns to rise from Spain's brutal six-year economic downturn in a popular revival of political involvement. Analysts say that this resurgence of street-level politics on issues from the privatization of healthcare to corruption will draw more voters to Spain's new parties, anti-austerity Podemos and market-friendly Ciudadanos, when the country goes to the polls in local elections on Sunday. It also makes an electoral outcome harder to predict as new parties fragment the vote and destroy traditional allegiances. Polls show that 30 to 45 percent of voters are still undecided, which is as much as double the level of the previous 2011 local vote.