Hard blow for the left in the local and regional elections in Spain

The Spanish local and regional elections were marked by a general victory for the right, which will obtain regional and municipal power from the hand of the extreme right. The conservative Popular Party gained ground and seized up to five regions from the PSOE. In addition, in the municipal elections the right prevailed in cities such as Madrid, Seville and Valencia. These elections represent a setback for the party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez a few months before the general elections scheduled for the end of the year.

The conservative Popular Party (PP) widely won the elections this Sunday, May 28, managing to take control of several cities and autonomous communities -regions- until now controlled by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). More than 35 million Spaniards were called to the polls to elect the representatives of the 8,131 municipalities and 12 of the 17 autonomous communities, plus the two autonomous cities.

The Popular Party multiplied the cities in which it will govern and significantly increased its regional power, something that had not happened since 2011.

The PP won 31.52% of the votes in the municipal elections compared to 28.18% for the PSOE. The far-right Vox party came in fourth, and managed to gather 7.19% of the vote. These elections mark a clear advance of the right-wing and extreme-right parties that had respectively won only 22.62% and 3.56% of the votes in the last elections in 2019.

The PSOE lost 1,948 councilors and several autonomous communities, which represents a hard blow for the party of Pedro Sánchez, current president of the Spanish Government. These elections also marked the disappearance of the political landscape of the Ciudadanos liberals.

The PP celebrated the results in front of its national headquarters in Madrid where its followers expressed their happiness.

“The impressive result of May 2021 has not only been repeated, but has gone further. That means that this vote has been established, that we have not disappointed”, said Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid.

For her part, Pilar Alegría, spokesperson for the Electoral Committee, lamented the result of the PSOE.

“It is clear that this result is a bad result for the Socialist Party, it is not at all the result we expected,” he said, adding that he thanks everyone who voted for his party.

Large cities at the hands of the PP with the support of the extreme right

The PP maintains its control of the capital Madrid, where the current mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida obtained an absolute majority. The conservative party obtained 29 of the 57 city councilors, a much higher margin of victory than in 2019, when it had won 15, and which now allows it to govern without having to ally itself with Vox. The far-right party got five councillors.

The PP also won in Valencia with 13 of the 33 councillors, followed by the Accord Per Guanyar coalition, with 9 councillors. The right had been out of the city council of the third largest city in Spain for eight years after a left-wing coalition seized power from them after years of numerous scandalous corruption cases in 2015. The conservative formation will join the 4 councilors obtained by the extreme right to obtain the mayoralty.

In Seville, a traditional stronghold of the Socialist Party, the Popular Party wrested power from the PSOE, winning 14 of the 31 councilors and also counting on the 3 Vox councilors to be able to govern. The PP achieved a significant rise compared to 2019, when it had won only 8 representatives in this municipality. The PSOE won 12 councilors this year.

In addition to these three large cities, other provincial capitals governed by the PSOE for years such as Palma de Mallorca, Valladolid, Murcia or Granada pass into the hands of the right and the extreme right.

Supporters of the Popular Party (PP) wave flags as they gather to celebrate the result of the polls in front of the party's headquarters in Madrid on May 28, 2023.
Supporters of the Popular Party (PP) wave flags as they gather to celebrate the result of the polls in front of the party’s headquarters in Madrid on May 28, 2023. © JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

In Barcelona, ​​after a tie between three parties, the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, led by Xavier Trias, finally managed to win 11 representatives and win the count. The PSC achieved second place with 10 councilors and the current mayor Ada Colau gathered a total of 9. The alliances between the Partido de los Socialistas de Catalunya and the leftist formation of Ada Colau make it think that Barcelona will be the only big city that maintains a progressive local government in Spain.

The PP takes five communities from the hands of the PSOE

The socialist debacle in the control of the different regions in Spain is worrisome. At the beginning of the night, the PSOE was in the governments of 10 of the 12 autonomous communities called for elections. At the end of the day, the loss of five has been certified, with a possibility of six, some of these territories are historical bastions of socialism in Spain.

In the Community of Madrid and the Region of Murcia, the PP managed to revalidate their governments and, in fact, in the region that includes the capital and its metropolitan area, it obtained 71 of the 135 seats and will be able to govern alone, unlike in 2019, when there were assembled 65 seats. Isabel Díaz Ayuso will once again be the president of this region.

For its part, the PSOE and its partners on the left lost the Valencian Community, the fourth most populous region in the country, because the PP doubled its 2019 results, going from 19 seats to 40 this year. He will need the support of the 13 Vox parliamentarians to be able to govern a community that was one of his traditional strongholds for decades, but which he lost in 2015 due to the numerous corruption scandals that took place there.

The other regions where the PSOE lost their governments and the conservatives of the Popular Party will be able to govern together with the extreme right of Vox are La Rioja, Cantabria, the Balearic Islands, Aragon and Extremadura -the latter two, historical socialist bastions where the PP has few electoral victories. The sixth region where they can lose power is the Canary Islands, where the Canary Coalition – a conservative regionalist party – can join the PP.

The only places where the PSOE is assured of government are Asturias and Castilla La-Mancha and, furthermore, it will be able to retain power in Navarra if it renews its alliance with Geroa Bai and Zurekin Nafarroa.

Some alarming results that blow up urban power in the big cities that until now had the PSOE and a series of left-wing coalitions with which it governed and that also end its territorial power in some of the most important autonomous communities. Worrying data that puts the current president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and his coalition partners, the leftist formation United We Can, in trouble.

With EFE and local media

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Written by Editor TLN

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