Without a shred of a doubt, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the others played a crucial role in PSOE’s crushing defeat in Spain, just as they have in the historic Arabian Spring this year.

There is little chance of Mexico’s 50-million extremely poor gathering the stormy momentum that the Spanish youth did to oust Rodríguez Zapatero, because they don’t have web access and also because those silent masses are highly prone to electoral manipulation.

But what about the seven million youngsters who, according to the government’s own acknowledgement, have no jobs, are not attending school and what’s worse, have no immediate hope of achieving either?

This segment of the population, known as Ninis (roughly, neither job nor studies) constitutes a potential fuse for social upheaval, as Spain demonstrated.

On the plus side of the Spanish elections, Zapatero and his socialists were humble and gracious in accepting the defeat as fair and just punishment for their failed economic policies, which included universal health care for everything, from a touch of the sniffles to a sex change.

Once again, it has been proven that then socialist (or populist) ideology that a government can spend on welfare to its heart content is misguided at best, and stupid at the other extreme. So now, the pendulum in Spain will swing back to a conservative government.

In Mexico, where despite a 34 percent incidence of web access a true social conscience is still far off, the immediate electoral options are, in perceived order of likelihood, the return to power of the center-left PRI, after a 12-year hiatus in which the rightist PAN has flopped miserably; the populist PRD, which would wreck the currently stable financial fundamentals; and an unlikely continuation of the PAN. They are poor choices indeed.

In last Sunday’s Spanish elections, the ruling Socialists were hit by a string of losses to the center-right Popular Party, yielding power even in traditional strongholds.

Realistically, Zapatero said the result was due punishment of his government for the state of the economy - the jobless rate is a eurozone high of 21.3 per cent. This alarming rate, incidentally, is very similar to Mexico’s real jobless rate, which officially stands at 5 percent but is shamelessly manipulated by the government.

Despite calls by the likely next head of the Spanish state, Mariano Rajoy, to move up the next general elections of March 2012, Zapatero stubbornly insists he has no plans to modify the calendar, pledging instead to press on with job-creating reforms notwithstanding the loud outcry of opposition to his party.

The victory for the conservative Popular Party puts it in even a stronger position to win the general elections and return to power after eight years of Socialist rule.

Rajoy told jubilant supporters the win was his party’s best ever in this kind of election. He stopped short of calling for early general elections as his party has in the past.

In what Spanish media like El País said was the worst performance on record by the PSOE in local and regional elections, the numbers reflecting the loss were stunning.

The PP won at the municipal level by about two million votes, compared to 150,000 in its win in 2007, and in 13 regional governments that were up for grabs, Zapatero's party lost in virtually all of them. One was Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain, where the Socialists have always held power. The Socialists also lost bastions like Barcelona and Seville, and PP boosted majorities in Madrid and Valencia.

Thus, the lesson for Mexico is that there is no telling the outcome of an election held against a backdrop of widespread discontent.

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