Partido Popular emerges victorious in autonomous and local elections at the expense of PSOE

by Lorraine Williamson
Partido Popular (PP)

MADRID – Following the regional and municipal elections held on Sunday, May 28, the conservative Partido Popular (PP) has secured a significant victory, dealing a blow to the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). 

The PP has reclaimed six out of the ten previously PSOE-governed autonomous communities, with the Canary Islands remaining undecided. This shift in the political landscape at the local and regional level in Spain carries substantial implications. 

The PSOE suffered a loss in the Valencia region, which is seen as a setback for left-wing parties in the country. Additionally, the PP has absorbed nearly all the votes that were previously garnered by Ciudadanos in 2019, leading to triumph in major cities such as Seville, traditionally a stronghold for the left. Moreover, the PP has seized control of significant autonomous communities including Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Extremadura, and Valencia from the PSOE. 

“Spain has entered a new political cycle, and my moment will arrive if the Spanish people desire it,” expressed an elated Alberto Núñez Feijóo from the balcony of Calle Génova in Madrid. 

Probable reliance on Vox for support 

Notably, the PP is likely to depend on the far-right Vox party for support in ruling in most of the captured regions. This issue will be among the most significant political considerations in the days to come, with far-reaching consequences for national politics in Spain. 

PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo has maintained his stance against allowing Vox into government, but Santiago Abascal, bolstered by the election results, will demand a high price for his support. Furthermore, this forthcoming battle will be crucial in the run-up to the general election, as the PP seeks to prevent the left from mobilising against a scenario that includes far-right figure Abascal as vice president. 

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PP’s triumph in Madrid 

The PSOE has managed to maintain a strong foothold only in Asturias and Navarre. Meanwhile, the PP has secured a decisive victory in Madrid, a stronghold where the left has been steadily declining since 2015. Both the regional government and the city council will be under the control of a conservative majority. 

Political lessons for the PSOE 

Another significant aspect of the election results, which holds implications for the upcoming national elections, pertains to the left-wing landscape within the PSOE. The left’s loss of power in the Valencia region can be attributed to Podemos failing to secure any seats. Had Podemos performed better, the situation would have been different. 

Although the PSOE has improved its results, it was insufficient to withstand the PP’s surge and Podemos’ collapse. This outcome underscores the devastating impact of dividing the left-wing vote into multiple options, while the right-wing unifies into two parties, within the Spanish electoral system. 

Potential for Sumar coalition 

This reinforces Yolanda Díaz’s proposal to form a unified left-wing coalition, under the new grouping named Sumar, as the only viable strategy to effectively counter the conservative wave witnessed in other European countries. 

Feijóo’s resounding victory 

The PP has achieved all of its desired objectives and more. Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s resounding triumph, presiding over elections across Spain for the first time, surpassed expectations. Notably, he successfully regained leadership in major cities. Symbolic cities, including Valencia, Seville, Valladolid, and Palma de Mallorca, have shifted back to the conservative camp. 

Navigating Vox’s role 

The major challenge for the PP now lies in effectively managing its relationship with Vox. The impact of Vox’s involvement in several prominent autonomous governments and significant cities remains uncertain, particularly among Spaniards, especially progressives. The leader of the PP is determined to limit Vox’s influence as much as possible and test their willingness to support PP nominations. However, Abascal, who has already expressed his desire for power during the campaign, is also prepared to push the boundaries. 


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