economy and politics

The evolution of the PP vote: the victory in the municipal elections does not have to anticipate a reversal in the general elections

7,054,887 votes. 31.53% of the votes cast for a total of 23,412 councillors. It is the quantitative result of the PP in the municipal elections of May 28, the first at the state level that the right has won since 2016. And the first at the local level that Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s party has won since May 2015. Some data that have served the PP to give themselves a shot of generalized optimism and that allows them to launch the campaign of the generals on July 23 from the first place on the grid.

Feijóo promises to eliminate the tax for the rich and the Heritage tax, while asking for more money for the communities

Feijóo promises to eliminate the tax for the rich and the Heritage tax, while asking for more money for the communities


Seven years ago, the PP was led by Mariano Rajoy from the Moncloa Palace and the result set off alarm bells. The irruption of Podemos, and later of Ciudadanos, became more evident in those elections. So much so that the armed candidacies around Podemos achieved multiple mayoralties, including Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Zaragoza, Valencia, Cádiz, A Coruña or Santiago.

The PP obtained 6.07 million votes. One million less than last May 28. And even so, it was the party with the most popular support. It exceeded 400,000 votes, and a couple of percentage points, to the PSOE, which was already led by Pedro Sánchez at that time. Now, the result has been the reverse in relative terms. The PP has won, with a three point advantage over the PSOE. In absolute numbers, the difference is 800,000 votes.

Sunday’s victory has been perceived in the PP, at least behind the scenes, as a first round of the general elections. Feijóo is confident that the 28M push will last until July and will allow him to obtain “a clear, incontestable and forceful majority to start a new direction.” “Spain took the first step yesterday to open a new political cycle,” he said Monday before the party’s senior staff, with the triumphant regional barons in the front row.

In the PP they maintain that in July the result of the PSOE, of Sumar (or however that political space ends up being presented) and of the bloc that has supported the coalition government these four years will be worse than in these recent elections. In the general elections, they maintain, the drag effect that voting for their mayors has among voters will not occur.

In fact, despite the significant transfer of regional and municipal power that can occur from the PSOE to the PP, the difference in popular vote is not that great.

The result of the PP last Sunday was better than in 2019 and 2015. The worst scenario was that of four years ago, with Pablo Casado at the head of the party. The PP had just lost the Government due to a motion of censure established in the sentence that confirmed that it benefited from the Gürtel plot. It ran on June 1, 2018 and in May 2019 the Spanish went to the polls.

The PP received 5.15 million votes, almost two million less than now. The difference in elected councilors exceeds 3,000. And in 2015, although it won, the PP had one million fewer votes than in 2023.

That is where the good comparisons for Feijóo end. Looking back, the PP has always obtained more votes than now, in a scenario in which bipartisanship dominated the polls.

The great moment of the right in the last two decades came in 2011. In those municipal and autonomous regions, the PP really swept. 8.47 million votes. 37.5% of the vote cast, almost 10 points more than the PSOE. And 26,507 councilors. Months later, Mariano Rajoy achieved a large absolute majority.

It is the destiny that Feijóo yearns for. The Galician leader never tires of repeating that he obtained four absolute majorities in the Xunta elections and, although in the PP they are aware that achieving it now is almost impossible, he hopes to govern alone with a broad result.

But the comparison of results in elections at the state level calls for more prudence. Municipal elections have historically been held in Spain apart from the general ones, and those have not always set a trend that has later been replicated in these.

In 2003, for example, the PP and the PSOE tied. The Socialists were slightly above in vote, but the right prevailed in councillors. A year later, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero prevailed by far in the general elections: five points and almost 20 deputies more than Mariano Rajoy.

In 2007 happened in reverse. That May, the PP won the local elections, also by the minimum: less than one point. And it was the PSOE that had the most councillors. Reverse of what happened four years earlier. In March 2008, Zapatero revalidated his victory in the generals by four points.

What will be the relationship between the recent municipal elections and the imminent general ones? It remains to be seen. The reality is that the PP has recovered a hegemonic position that it had lost. Its rise in the 40 largest cities in the country is absolute, almost doubling, and more, the result in Madrid, Granada or Barcelona.


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