The PP has given a huge blow in the municipal and regional elections and has snatched from the PSOE at least six of the 10 communities it governed, with the Canary Islands in the air, which represents a very clear change in the political map of local and regional power in Spain. The Socialists lost the jewel in the crown, the Valencian Community, and with it went the last hope of launching a message of resistance on a fateful night for the Spanish left. But not only that: the disaster was much worse than expected and predicted by even the worst polls. The PP almost completely devoured the vote of Citizens of 2019 and with that fattening swept the big cities, including Seville, which the Socialists hoped to keep, and gave a very hard blow to the PSOE by snatching Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Extremadura and the most important, the Valencian Community, while in the last breath by a handful of votes it managed to keep Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands depended on a possible pact with Coalition Canary Islands. "Spain has started a new political cycle, my time will come if the Spaniards want," said an elated Alberto Núñez Feijóo from the balcony of Genoa Street, in Madrid.
In almost all of them the PP will need Vox to govern, one of the great political issues of the coming days. The leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has insisted that he will not let Vox enter the governments, but Santiago Abascal, who comes out reinforced from this election night, will sell his support very dearly and that will be a great battle with an eye on the generals, where the PP wants to prevent the left from mobilizing against a scenario of Abascal as vice president. The Socialists barely resisted clearly in Asturias and Navarre. Meanwhile, the PP swept Madrid, a square where the left has not stopped sinking since 2015. Both the Community and the City Council will be governed by an absolute conservative majority.
Results and reactions of the municipal and regional elections 2023
In the total vote, the popular, who in 2019 lost the municipal elections by 1.6 million votes, recovered practically the entire 1.8 million votes of Ciudadanos and thanks to that they won the Socialists again. They did it by more than three points, a clear victory. But it was not a landslide: the PSOE leaves 1.2 points, it is not a debacle, but with that small movement, added to the regrouping of the right, which makes it much more competitive, and the fall of some groups to its left, has caused it to lose several autonomies and municipalities that it already achieved by the minimum in 2019 and now the terms have been reversed: It has lost them by one or two seats.
The coalition that governs Spain since 2020 did not have a single piece of good news all night. Not even in Barcelona, where both Pedro Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz closed the electoral campaign, could they claim victory, because at the last moment Xavier Trias, from Junts, became the most voted and, therefore, with many possibilities of taking over the mayor's office and thus ending the stage of Ada Colau, the great ally of Díaz and the last reference of the municipalities of change that arrived in 2015. Although there is still a possibility that the left will keep Barcelona if there is a pact with ERC. Both the PSOE and Unidas Podemos aspired to leadership in Barcelona, but among them was Trias, who already governed the city between 2011 and 2015, until Colau arrived. The result in Catalonia, in any case, as always, has nothing to do with the rest of Spain, because there the battle was between these three parties and ERC, while the PP had hardly any role. However, he has had it as always in his only fiefdom, Badalona, where Xavier Albiol has achieved an indisputable absolute majority. ERC has obtained a worse result than expected, something that could also have political consequences at the national level, as it is a key partner for the coalition government.
Another of the keys of the night, and of the lessons for the generals, is what has happened to the left of the PSOE. The key to the loss of power for the left in the Valencian Community is that Podemos has not entered. If he had, things would have changed. In fact, the PSOE improved its results, but it was useless in the face of the pull of the PP and the collapse of Podemos. This proves that the division of the left's vote into three or more options, at a time when the right is regrouping in two, is devastating in an electoral system like Spain's. And that reinforces Yolanda Díaz's idea of organizing a single candidacy around Sumar, as the only way to face with any possibility the conservative wave that is already being seen in other European countries.
The President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez -Almeida, celebrate their absolute majorities on the balcony of Calle Génova. Claudio Alvarez
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, greets the followers of the Popular Party gathered in Genoa Street. Claudio Alvarez
The confetti has put an end to the celebration from the balcony of the headquarters of the Popular Party in Madrid. Claudio Alvarez
In the Basque Country, again, the results were also very different from those of the rest of Spain, and one of the great winners of the night was precisely Bildu, which managed to be the first party in Vitoria and a year before the regional elections is disputing the primacy of the PNV throughout the community. Precisely Bildu had an unexpected great role in the campaign for the scandal that caused to place seven terrorists with blood crimes on their lists. The formation of Arnaldo Otegi decided to withdraw them from them. But that scandal has not meant any wear for them and, nevertheless, for the Socialists, to whom this issue completely dislocated the positive campaign they had in mind and that ended up complicating with the scandals of the postal vote in the final stretch.
Clear triumph for Feijóo
Meanwhile, the PP achieved all the objectives it longed for and even some in which it did not have much hope. It is a very clear triumph for Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who was playing in his first elections throughout the national territory as leader. He himself lowered expectations a few weeks ago, and said that the PSOE was going to endure much better in the regional and municipal elections than in the general elections, because the barons and mayors were better valued than Pedro Sánchez. However, in the first test of fire, Feijóo has achieved a much higher than expected success, especially in large cities, where he has regained primacy, although always with the need to rely on Vox in almost all of them. The left has lost emblematic cities such as Valencia, Seville, Valladolid or Palma de Mallorca.
Now the PP will try to convince Spaniards that the wave of change is already unstoppable and will reach the general elections within a few months, while the Socialists will try to say that this is a coup, but the battle for the Government of Spain is not yet decided. "What a president's face Feijóo is putting on. Today the repeal of Sanchismo has begun," said Almeida, the mayor of Madrid. "We have taken a giant step towards Alberto Núñez Feijóo being the next prime minister of Spain," said Juanma Moreno, the president of Andalusia. This community, the most populated in Spain, has gone from being the great granary of votes of the PSOE to a black hole where it continues to lose votes and power in spurts. All the provincial capitals of this community passed into the hands of the PP, including Cádiz, another reference of the municipalities of change that returns to the hands of the right after the departure of Kichi González.
The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, jumps on the balcony of Genoa Street during the celebration of the victory of his formation. JUANJO MARTIN (EFE)
But the big test for the PP now is to manage Vox. The Socialists still believe that it remains to be seen what effect it will have for Spaniards and especially for progressives in the coming months to see the far right enter several very important regional governments and in many relevant cities. Feijóo is willing to force the machine with Abascal to try to give him the minimum possible power and take him to the limit to see if he dares to vote against the investitures of the leaders of the PP. But Abascal is also willing to force the machine and in the campaign he has already made it clear that he wants power.
Another of the big questions of the night is to what extent the national debate, in a campaign with a great prominence of Sánchez and Feijóo and with issues such as Bildu, has harmed the expectations of well-valued socialist presidents and who only a few weeks ago did not think at all that their position was at risk. The Aragonese Javier Lambán, very distant from Sánchez, was very clear: "In Aragon we tried to build a wall against the national tsunami, but it has been insufficient." And the great socialist survivor of the night is precisely the one who was most clearly critical of Sánchez and his pacts in the campaign, Emiliano García Page, the most distant baron of La Moncloa. "We have won by our exclusive strength against a lot of inertia," he summarized.
Sánchez has absolute control of the PSOE and it is difficult to think of a revolt, but it will be inevitable that voices will be raised against the contagion of the attrition of the central government that has undoubtedly harmed the regional barons and the socialist mayors. And there will also be a questioning of the coalition itself and the strategy of alliances of the Executive, which insists that without the partners it has had it would not have been able to carry out three Budgets and the star measures of the legislature. Sánchez for the moment avoided appearing and sent Pilar Alegría, the party's spokeswoman and minister of education, to show her face. "It's not a good result. We have to reflect on the coming months. We must do better for the next election. The PP has absorbed all the vote of Ciudadanos. Governments will only be possible with the extreme right of Vox, but we have to make a reflection, "he insisted. The first answers will arrive today in the Executive of the PSOE, a meeting that seems very hard after a devastating night for the Socialists and for the Government.
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