the four main candidates close the campaign of a polarized election

The leaders of the four main political formations closed their campaign after two weeks of intense work. While the current Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, was confident of victory, the conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo alluded to the coalitions that the ruling party has had to make to stay in power. The other key candidates in these elections, the far-right Santiago Abascal and the leftist Yolanda Díaz, took a mass bath before the voting.

Two intense weeks of campaign that this Friday closed with the main political leaders of the country in the streets. Four faces are the ones that drive the Spanish electoral machinery ahead of the general elections on July 23.

The electoral campaign of these elections has been marked by the unusual date in Spain to call an election – which Sánchez accepted early and surprisingly – and by the polarization between ideological blocks. In the fight is Pedro Sánchez, current president of the Government and leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE); the opposition leader, the conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo of the Popular Party (PP), the far-right Santiago Abascal of the Vox formation and the vice president and minister of Labor Yolanda Díaz, leader of the leftist Sumar coalition.

In these last hours of the campaign, all the leaders decided to take a mass bath with their followers to call for a massive vote for their formations, at a decisive moment in which each vote counts and all the political parties are aware that they will not reach an absolute majority, something that will force them to agree with other formations.

Pedro Sánchez confidently awaits a comeback

The socialist leader was confident in his speech. “We have done the best campaign,” he said. Some 4,500 people gathered in Getafe to listen to Sánchez’s last speech until the decisive July 23. “We fell and we got up, we pedaled against the clock and crossed all the flying goals, we climbed all the unimaginable ports and we still have a few meters to go. sprint end,” he stressed.

“We are going to win the elections to the last pedal stroke, to the last breath, to the last vote and we are going to win them resoundingly!“, he concluded. The truth is that the opponents had to campaign in a hurry, however the PSOE has known how to organize to the millimeter, even at the hands of other opinion leaders of the formation, such as the former president of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

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The campaign of the Socialist Party and its leader, Pedro Sánchez, has focused on trying to turn around some polls in which it has appeared for months that it has been behind the conservative Popular Party. The PSOE has carried out an aggressive campaign against its main opponents and to assess the social achievements obtained during the last five years of its government.

Sánchez was confident that the polls are wrong and considers that these weeks of the campaign have served to mobilize the progressive electorate in the face of the threat of a coalition government between the right and the extreme right.

Feijóo is shown with the “alternative” change

Leaving behind a government that “has only looked after its interests” has been the call of Núñez Feijóo, the leader of the Popular Party, at its closure.

Feijóo, who is the favorite to win the elections, said “he has no debts or agreements with anyone”, in a clear allusion to Pedro Sánchez, who has remained in power thanks to his unions with other leftist groups. “Let’s change shameful coalitions for State pacts, not one bloc against the other bloc”, he pointed out.

His claims were criticized by some, who claimed that he already governs on some points in conjunction with the far-right Vox party. Faced with attempts to separate from the far-right, he cannot put aside the calls he has made to Abascal’s followers: “We are not your party, but we are your solution,” he said in an act.

The leader of the Popular Party, the conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo, greets several of his militants at the closing of his candidacy campaign in A Coruña, Spain.
The leader of the Popular Party, the conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo, greets several of his militants at the closing of his candidacy campaign in A Coruña, Spain. © Miguel Vidal / Reuters

His possible pact with Vox to come to power after this July 23 has been one of the issues for which Núñez Feijóo has been attacked the most in recent weeks. For this reason, the popular leader has tried to convince the conservative voter that the “best strategy” to remove Sánchez from power is the “concentration of the vote” around his formation, leaving Vox aside.

However, the surveys say that the Popular Party is far from obtaining an absolute majority that would allow it to govern alone, so if it wants to remove Sánchez from power, it would need to have the political formation of Santiago Abascal. An issue that worries a high percentage of the electorate due to the promises of restriction of rights that Abascal and his party have in the electoral program.

Abascal ends his campaign charging against Sánchez and Feijóo

The leader of the extreme right had a closing ceremony before 5,000 followers in Madrid’s Plaza de Colón, a symbolic place for Spanish nationalism and the right in that country. Abascal had words this afternoon to charge against what he defined as “nefarious policies of the Government of Pedro Sánchez” and promised that if Vox enters the Government these “would end”. This extremist formation has proposed reforms and structural changes in its program that would end numerous social progress such as the right to abortion, the rights of the LGBTIQ+ collective or the euthanasia law.

Abascal has also had words for the leader of the traditional right, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, making him ugly for charging against Vox in recent days by appealing for the “useful vote” towards the PP. Abascal has stressed to his voters that the strong presence of his formation is “fundamental” and has criticized that Feijóo “try to offer pacts to everyone except them.”

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The Vox leaders are aware that the Popular Party imperatively needs their votes to try to add the necessary force to reach the 176 seats in parliament that are necessary to invest a president. This political party intends to reap a good result to be part of a future government and rejects that the Popular Party seek other alternatives to them.

The left seeks to resurrect

The closing act of Sumar, the new left-wing coalition that seeks to unite all the votes to the left of the PSOE, was also massive. Its leader and candidate, the current Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has questioned her followers to ask for their vote and thus “avoid a setback of 50 years of progress and democracy”, in a clear allusion to the negative that it would mean for some basic social rights if the extreme right enters the Government.

Díaz also criticized Feijóo, whom he accused of lying during the campaign. “We are never going to accept that they govern by lying, we are not going to allow being in the opposition to lie, lie and lie,” he said.

The leader of the Spanish left Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, attends the campaign closing rally ahead of the general elections, in Madrid, Spain, on July 21, 2023.
The leader of the Spanish left Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, attends the campaign closing rally ahead of the general elections, in Madrid, Spain, on July 21, 2023. © Nacho Doce / Reuters

The Sumar leader also put her finger on the ‘popular’ wound by recalling her alleged relationship with one of the best-known drug lords in Galicia. In the middle of the campaign, a series of images of the conservative leader on a yacht with a criminal identified as Marcial Dorado in the 1990s came to light again – the first time in 2013. Núñez Feijóo has defended himself by claiming that, at the time of the images, Dorado was “a smuggler (…) never a drug trafficker.”

Sumar’s greatest chances of obtaining seats in these elections are based on the provinces with the largest number of inhabitants, those that are running for the largest number of seats. Díaz has had a warning speech in his rallies against the risks that exist due to the arrival of the extreme right and in defense of the rights and achievements obtained in these years in social and labor matters.

With EFE and local media

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Written by Editor TLN

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