Is PSOE moving closer to the PP with elections looming?

by Lorraine Williamson
PSOE Pedro Sanchez TV debate

In the final week of Spain’s pre-election campaign, the PSOE appears to be on the verge of some vote recovery after the face-to-face debate between Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) and Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP).  

On the contrary, the PP, after euphoria and fantasies of absolute majorities, has revised its expectations somewhat downward. Alberto Núñez Feijóo has made a few slips, including an erroneous reference to increasing pensions. His party, the PP speaks of “mistakes” and the PSOE openly labels them “lies”.  They were fundamental to the Socialists’ improvement in the poll. In addition to the PSOE, Sumar is now focusing the campaign on Feijóo’s credibility.  

Curiously, the campaign started the other way around, when current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was questioned on Onda Cero about his lies. Now it has turned around and the PP has to go on the defensive. Moreover, the Socialists have ammunition to set the agenda, exhaust the PP leader and thus reduce the pressure on Sánchez.  

The prime minister and leader of the Socialists can go on the attack in the RTVE tripartite debate on tonight, Wednesday, July 19, in Feijóo’s absence. With things he did not bring out during an earlier debate, 10 days ago. This includes possible references to the boat trip with drug trafficker Marcial Dorado. 

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Moderating expectations 

Meanwhile, the PP has begun to moderate high expectations so that Feijóo’s people do not revolt Sunday after the results. Feijóo wants voters to believe that the prime minister was chosen by the right-wing press and the polls and not by Spaniards. That is why he will not attend the RTVE debate. In other words, where they were still talking about an absolute majority this weekend, they have now lowered their expectations.  

Preventing right-wing majority 

The PSOE, meanwhile, hopes to get so many votes that the right and the far right together do not reach 176 seats. If there is no absolute majority on the right, it is possible that Sánchez will need the votes of everyone else, i.e. PSOE, Sumar, ERC, PNV, Bildu, Junts, BNG and CUP.  Currently, the latest average of published polls gives 180 seats for PP and Vox, but that could change.  

Debate on Wednesday, July 19 

The next milestone in the campaign is tonight´s debate on RTVE between Sánchez (PSOE), Yolanda Díaz (Sumar list leader) and Santiago Abascal (Vox). Sources in Moncloa say Sánchez is ready for this. He will first denounce the PP candidate’s failure to come and hide, then insist on the idea of campaign lies about pensions and other issues. His goal remains to mobilise the leftist electorate, identifying the PP with Vox. 

Regarding the debate, the PP explains that in this case Feijóo’s absence may be positive in the battle for the right-wing voter. 

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