Isabel Díaz Ayuso is likely to need the support of the far-right Vox to govern.


Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the right-wing, lockdown-sceptic candidate of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), has won a resounding victory at yesterday’s (4 May) regional election in Madrid. The PP more than doubled its share of seats in the regional assembly, which represents both the Spanish capital and the surrounding region, from 30 seats to 65. That puts it just short of the 69 needed for a majority in the 136-seat legislature, a gap that Ayuso will probably make up with the support of the young far-right party Vox, whose seat share rose from 12 to 13.

The story of Spanish politics in recent years has been one of the fragmentation of the country’s old, stable old two-party system and, at points, its partial consolidation. Following a dismal PP result in 2019, Ayuso had nonetheless became president of the Madrid region, known as the Community of Madrid, at the helm of a coalition with the conservative-liberal Ciudadanos (Cs) party (it, too, a relatively new force in Spanish politics). But in March she called early elections when Cs brought down a similar coalition with the PP in the south-eastern region of Murcia, claiming she was acting to prevent it doing the same to her.

There followed a bitterly fought campaign. Several prominent figures received bullets in the post. Left-of-centre candidates pulled out of a debate in solidarity with Pablo Iglesias of the left-wing Unidas Podemos (UP), when Vox’s candidate questioned the veracity of his claims to have been one of the recipients. One Vox poster demonising unaccompanied child migrants was investigated as a possible hate crime. For her part, Ayuso nudged the PP to the right with a campaign melding lockdown fatigue (she has presided over looser restrictions in Madrid than in other parts of Spain, despite the city’s terrible death toll) with culture wars (being called a fascist is a sign you are doing something right, she claimed) under the mantra of “freedom”. Her campaign was directed as much against Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez as against the local candidate of his centre-left Socialist party (PSOE), and won the applause of, among others, Italy’s Matteo Salvini.

It paid off: support for Ayuso’s erstwhile Cs coalition partners collapsed and the party fell below the 5 per cent threshold required for seats in the assembly. The left, too, lost …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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Spain’s lockdown-sceptic right storms to victory in Madrid election

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