Spain Leans Right in Local Elections ━ The European Conservative

Regional and municipal elections have turned Spain blue, the color of the center-right Partido Popular (PP), which was the biggest winner in Sunday’s elections. 

As expected, the ruling socialist party, Partido Socialista Obero Español (PSOE), lost voters as did the far Left’s collection of communist parties. The right-wing VOX, too, found itself disappointed and without enough votes to claim the role of a junior coalition partner in some key cities and regions.

In Madrid, where VOX had already offered to form a coalition government with the PP, incumbent José Luis Martínez Almeida pulled ahead of the pack to reach an absolute majority. In the elections for the regional government, where the PP’s Isabel Diaz Ayuso governs alone—supported by VOX from the bench—the incumbent also garnered an absolute majority, leaving VOX a minor party of the opposition. They rebounded somewhat, gaining a handful of seats in the parliament it lost to Ayuso in the last elections. However, VOX lost seats in the regional parliament. 

The most significant victory for the Partido Popular was the cities of Andalucia, a former socialist stronghold which the center-right party now governs with an absolute majority. In all of the regional capitals, the PP gained enough voters to govern either alone or with VOX, including the regional capital Seville, consolidating its new reign of Spain’s largest region. 

The Partido Popular also turned the regions of Aragón, Extremadura, la Comunidad Valenciana, Baleares, Cantabria, and La Rioja from red to blue, though in some autonomous communities it will have to seek support from VOX. The PP also won an absolute majority in the enclave of Melilla, wracked by a vote-buying scandal. The party had another significant victory in Valencia, regaining the city hall of the regional capital on the Mediterranean.

In the regions where the PSOE maintained a majority, the Right ascended nail-bitingly close, a clear sign that the political tide had turned solidly against the Spanish Left. 

In the Basque Country, the ascending party turned out to be Euskal Herria Bildu, the inheritor of the now-disbanded Basque terrorists. It proved victorious in key cities of the region such as Vitoria which has long been a stronghold of right-leaning Partido Popular and the Basque nationalists Partido Nacionalista Vasco.

Though VOX suffered several disappointments, it also claimed a victory in the region of Navarra, where it entered the parliament for the first time with two seats. 

Overall, Partido Popular won at least half a million more votes over its historic rival, the PSOE, in these elections.

The stage is set for general elections later this year. With this momentum, it seems unlikely that the PP’s forward charge will stop short of Moncloa, the Spanish presidential residence.