Convincing victory for Partido Popular in Madrid

by Deborah Cater
Victory for Partido Popular and Aysuo in Madrid. Image: copyright Partido Popular on Flickr.com
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Isabel Díaz Ayuso secured electoral victory for Partido Popular in Madrid. The conservatives managed to secure more seats than the three left parties put together, once again putting the socialists aside.

The most important results of the regional elections are a convincing victory for Ayuso with her Partido Popular (PP), the disappearance of the center-right party Ciudadanos and the victory of Más Madrid at the expense of the socialist PSOE. After the dramatic loss of the left, Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias has decided to leave politics.

Glorious profit but not an absolute majority

Two years ago, no one had heard of her; now Ayuso is the center of attention in Spain. She made friends and foes with her flexible corona policy and made short work of coalition partner Ciudadanos by calling early elections. She has turned out to be the absolute favourite of the Madrid voter who showed interest in her now famous freedom slogan and her ‘Trumpian’ approach. Despite the resounding victory for Partido Popular, Ayuso is short of an absolute majority by four seats.

Madrid swings to the right

PP and Vox together won 78 seats (65 for the PP and 13 for Vox) versus 58 seats for the left wing (24 for Más Madrid, 24 for PSOE and 10 for Podemos). Just two years ago, the right-wing parties had 4 seats more than the left-wing parties, now there are 20. This considerable swing to the right is mainly due to the popularity of the PP; Vox obtained the same number of votes in this election as two years ago.

Pablo Iglesias leaving politics

The historically high turnout on Tuesday resulted in a dramatic loss for the left-wing parties, especially PSOE. This blow to the left has had direct repercussions for Pablo Iglesias. He previously stepped down as Spain’s deputy prime minister to help Madrid achieve a left-wing victory. Now this has failed, the Podemos leader has decided to leave politics for good.

Dramatic loss for PSOE

The dramatic loss for PSOE in Madrid is in stark contrast to the party’s recent success in Catalonia. Más Madrid even managed to win as many seats as PSOE. However, together with Podemos they were not able to make up ground on the right wing. The equally dramatic loss for Ciudadanos means the 26 seats they previously held now all go to the PP.

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Impact on national politics

The big question is what the impact of the PP’s election win will be on national politics. Indeed, Madrid is considered an important barometer of politics at the national level. However, PSOE has a different opinion. They said “voters in Madrid vote differently than in the rest of Spain”, referring to the poor election results of PP in the regions of Catalonia and the Basque Country.

The current political shift in Madrid is the result of a failed vote of no confidence that PSOE, together with Ciudadanos, filed against the Partido Popular in Murcia. To prevent a vote of no confidence from also being tabled in Madrid, regional president Díaz Ayuso called early elections last month. With PP’s convincing victory in Madrid, PSOE and Ciudadanos are paying dearly for their actions.

Now Ayuso is in full swing, while party leader Pablo Casado contents himself with a modest role in national opposition. He lost twice in the national elections against PSOE.  But with the victory of the PP in Madrid, that could be very different in the coming elections.

On the other hand, there is also fear within the party regarding the popularity of Ayuso, who largely owes her political career to Casado. It is possible she and her right-hand man, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, could cut ties with Casado if he does not live up to the national popularity of the party. The immediate future will show how the complicated balance of power between Ayuso and Casado could develop further; and to what extent Casado will transfer power over the party in Madrid to Ayuso.

Vox not claiming place in coalition

The ultra-right party Vox indicated it will vote positively for Ayuso in the new regional government, without demanding a place in the coalition in return. This means a second round of voting is no longer necessary. However, party leader Rocío Monasterio of Vox in Madrid assured voters her party will play a crucial role in Madrid politics in the next two years.

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