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The lessons of the Galician vote for all political brands in a year of vertigo


Highlights: The lessons of the Galician vote for all political brands in a year of vertigo. Political scientists and sociologists analyze the weight of the amnesty in the electoral disaster of the PSOE. The possibilities of a change of cycle and the expectations regarding the next Basque elections . Politics is a game of expectations and a daily test of consistency in which almost everyone fails. The lesson of theGalician elections is the importance of what close: the PP and the social commitment of Ana Pontón have won.

Political scientists and sociologists analyze the weight of the amnesty in the electoral disaster of the PSOE, the possibilities of a change of cycle and the expectations regarding the next Basque elections

Politics is a game of expectations and a daily test of consistency in which almost everyone fails.

In 2020, the last time the Galician and Basque elections coincided, the then leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, imposed in Euskadi a candidate and campaign in his image and likeness, with a speech in a national key, and resigned himself to Alberto Núñez Feijóo , with three absolute majorities behind him, did whatever he wanted.

The protected candidate, Carlos Iturgaiz, crashed at the polls.



triumphed with the usual model: PP logo reduced to


size and the phrase “Galicia first, then the party” repeated at each rally.

Less than four years later, in his first Galician elections from Madrid, Feijóo had the popular candidate for the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda, talk about the amnesty of the


, the Government's pacts with EH Bildu and Sanchismo.

His voter began to demobilize.

The PP rectified, Galicianizing the campaign again to focus on its main rival, the BNG, and once the absolute majority was revalidated, with many nerves, it has resumed the national discourse: “This is a message for Spain.”

It is?

EL PAÍS analyzes with political scientists, sociologists and experts in public opinion, the lessons left by the Galician elections, what can and cannot be extrapolated to national politics, and where each party and leader stands in a year full of electoral events, that is , examination of expectations.

Dual vote, territorial implementation and caliber of the amnesty

In the general elections of July 2023, the PSOE and Sumar, the parties of the current Government coalition, brought together 40.68% of the votes in Galicia.

Shortly before, in the municipal elections in May, the socialists took 29% of the Galician ballots.

In the regional elections last Sunday, José Ramón Gómez Besteiro's party remained at a meager 14% and fell from 14 to 9 deputies.

Galicia is the Spanish champion in the so-called dual vote, that of the voter who chooses a different party depending on the type of call.

This electoral behavior is the first obstacle in the story of the change of cycle that the popular party intends to install, with a level of euphoria after 18-F only comparable in intensity to the depression after 23-J due to a question of expectations: in the In the first case, they were considering losing the Xunta and in the second they were only contemplating winning La Moncloa.

“Galicia,” says sociologist Cristina Monge, “has voted in Galician, not in Madrid.”

“It was not the PP that won, but rather the PP of Galicia, which has a very strong territorial presence,” she adds.

“There have not been,” continues political scientist Pablo Simón, “substantial changes in the blocs, but rather a reconfiguration on the left, with the BNG taking almost a third of the PSOE voters.”

The leader of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, and the party's candidate for the Xunta, José Ramón Gómez Besteiro, on February 16 at a rally in Santiago de Compostela.


Neither Monge nor Simón believe that the amnesty or the Government's pacts with the nationalists had anything to do with the disaster of the left in Galicia.

“The votes of the PSOE and Sumar,” recalls the sociologist, “have gone to the BNG, a nationalist and pro-amnesty party.

The lesson of the Galician elections is the importance of what is close: the roots of the Galician PP and the social commitment of Ana Pontón have won, which became the useful vote of the left.

The socialists and Sumar have paid for the lack of implementation in the territory.

The Democracia Ourensana seat also shows the importance of the local.

Vox does not enter the Galician Parliament, but they do.”

José Pablo Ferrándiz, director of Political Studies at Ipsos, points out that the polls showed how the initial campaign strategy of the popular party lowered the party's prospects in early elections precisely to stage a triumphant walk, a stride to La Moncloa.

“By shoehorning in national issues,” Simón explains, “the PP voter began to demobilize”: “And they rectified, seeking polarization with Pontón to secure their traditional voter, the oldest.

The PP hardly scratches among the young and sweeps among the elderly and the BNG the other way around.

And if the nationalized campaign worked in Galicia, Vox would have had a better chance of entering the Galician Parliament.”

The far-right party worsens its results election after election.

“Vox is not dead,” declared its vice president in the first press conference after the Galician elections.

Excusatio non petita...

For José Antonio Zarzalejos, political analyst, president of the editorial board of

El Confidencial

and former director of the newspaper


, the PP's nerves, which lasted "until last Sunday at nine at night," were "very justified."

A few days before, Zarzalejos wrote an article very critical of the PP's strategy and Feijóo's own leadership.

He now comments: “They begin the campaign by changing the relationship model with their electorate by talking to them about national issues, which did not make sense because Vox has not entered Galicia nor will it enter.

They decide to communicate a different attitude about Puigdemont, the amnesty and the pardons in a conversation with journalists, saying something that was not insensitive at all, and then they panic and take back their words.

They showed a lot of fragility.

The amnesty and the policies of the central government may have had their weight, but they are one more variable in a community that puts its own issues first, without that reductionism.

I do believe that Sánchez's pacts with the PNV, ERC and Junts have empowered the BNG in an almost subconscious movement of emulation on the left to achieve that premium of bilaterality that nationalist formations have.

In any case, the PP leadership has demonstrated a lack of solvency and strategic sense.”

The Basque scene and the “mutation” of BNG, ERC and EH Bildu

All the analysts consulted point out that in the Basque elections on April 21, EH Bildu can take a big bite out of the left-wing electorate, as Pontón's party has done in Galicia.

“The BNG, EH Bildu and ERC,” says Monge, “have made the same mutation from the identity-nationalist agenda to one more focused on social issues.”

Simón agrees, but points out a nuance: “In Congress, the BNG is much more nationalist than in Galicia and than EH Bildu, which has put independence issues in the drawer to stay with social issues.

But in Euskadi there is a differentiating factor, terrorism, which makes it cost the PSE voter a little more than the Sumar or Podemos voter to move to the nationalist



What happens is that the socialists are already practically in the bones in Euskadi, so they are less vulnerable to dual voting.”

EH Bildu's candidate for Lehendakari, Pello Otxandiano, and the general coordinator, Arnaldo Otegi, on December 17 in Bilbao.

H. Bilbao (Europa Press)

The Basque electoral system, by which the three provinces provide 25 seats each, helps the formations to the left of the PSOE, but they suffer the same problem as in the elections to the Xunta: the lack of territorial implementation.

“It is one thing to be from Galicia and another to be in Galicia,” says Simón.

“After the de facto death of Podemos, Sumar is only strong where there is a pre-existing party structure of a regionalist nature.

It has to decide if it wants to be a unitary force or rely on those brands, let them rule in each place, as Joan Baldovi, from Compromís, has already warned.”

The great unknown of the Basques - which the PNV did not want to coincide with the Galician ones to give time to its new candidate, Imanol Pradales - is who will occupy the first place.

Zarzalejos, who was a lawyer for the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, believes that EH Bildu has the possibility of overtaking



“His candidate, Pello Otxandiano, breaks the patterns of the previous ones.

He is young, a telecommunications engineer, speaks Basque, and has no history.

He belongs to Sortu, but when ETA stopped killing, in 2011, he was 27 years old, he is not contaminated by links with the terrorist group.

And that profile may be attractive to the voter who is bored with the PNV and to the PSE voter who has also grown tired of the subordinate role in successive coalitions with the Basque nationalists occupying portfolios, let's say, Marias.

Ana Pontón appeared last Sunday in Santiago de Compostela.Samuel Sánchez

European plebiscite

The next electoral stop will be the European elections in June.

“They have,” says Monge, “other rules of the game, because they are generally seen as second-degree elections that give rise to the most thuggish vote, to get out the rage, and they will be interpreted again in a national key: With Sánchez or against Sánchez.

Podemos has the possibility of scratching something there, but it will also depend on the alliances it is able to forge with other forces.

The trend indicates that Podemos is disappearing, but in Spanish politics we have become accustomed to script twists, the situation can still turn around."

Simón agrees that the former Minister of Equality Irene Montero can obtain a European seat, but he does not believe that this will greatly improve the complicated situation of the Ione Belarra party: “More than resurrection in Brussels, it would be assisted respiration.”

Ferrándiz points out that the qualitative analysis of the data offered by the surveys shows that “the left-wing electorate considers Podemos amortized”: “They consider that it has become a burden, not so much because of the policies, but because of the attitude, the anger , frowning.

And they have little chance of reinventing themselves.”

The challenge of exhausting the legislature

“The elections are in 2027. I have all the time in the world,” Sánchez declared this week after the Galician disaster.

A few hours before, in Congress, Feijóo had told him: “The result of the plebiscite is 40 to 9 [the seats obtained by popular and socialists last Sunday].”

The absolute majority in the Xunta has encouraged the PP to talk about a change of cycle and consider the recently begun legislature amortized.

Ferrándiz, director of Political Studies at Ipsos, points out that the surveys do not indicate, at the moment, a drive for change at the national level.

“During the economic crisis, there was a sustained and precipitous fall of Zapatero's PSOE.

Not now, not even in the worst moments of the amnesty negotiation has there been a great distance with the PP because it is a more media issue, which does not have as much of an impact on the electorate as the economy or corruption, which does have a terrifying effect. about the voter.”

“The Government,” says Simón, “has to quickly get out of the corruption scandal of Koldo García [former advisor to former Minister José Luis Ábalos] because just as the surveys showed that the pardons did not affect the PSOE, the reform of the Penal Code for touching on the crime of embezzlement did generate a lot of rejection.

Here the legislature can fail because the cost of voting with the PSOE increases for members.

Ábalos has to stop being a deputy.”

The political scientist points out that Sánchez's time will depend on the amnesty and the Budgets.

“With that he can work, as long as the international economic situation does not worsen, because the Government would have to approve unpopular measures and right now it is already having a hard time approving popular ones.

If there is no amnesty, the milestone that may decide Sánchez to bring forward the general elections is to make them converge with the Catalans next year to rely on one of their engines, although in that case, Andalusia would not respond so well.

It would be a call almost to save the furniture, because Sánchez would not have the elements that allowed him to spin the narrative in July: the PP pacts with Vox.”

Since 2022, the PSOE has lost the regional governments of Andalusia, Extremadura, the Valencian Community, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja and the Canary Islands, territories that total more than 20 million inhabitants.

“In decentralized states,” says Zarzalejos, “the medium-term viability of a government without substantive territorial power is not conceivable and the PSOE currently only governs in three communities, one of which, Castilla-La Mancha, presided over by Emiliano García-Page, is a dissident of government policy.”

The analyst believes that the duration of the legislature will also depend on what happens in Catalonia.

“The nationalists and independence supporters are not doing what they are doing to get a left-wing coalition into their territory.

For these forces, being in favor of the central government for a long time is annoying; many times they decide that it is better to live against it.”

While promising to exhaust the legislature, the president admitted that, more than the pacts with the independentists, the PSOE's problem is the lack of regional consolidation.

“Sanchez's hyper-leadership,” says Monge, “has allowed him to come to power, but the party has been emptied of structure.”

The Xunta is not La Moncloa, but the Galician elections have left lessons for everyone.

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Source: elparis

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