Stream of promises in final weekend before start of election campaign in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
election campaign

MADRID – This week, the electoral campaign for Spain’s 28 May municipal and regional elections officially kicks off.  

The president of the government and of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, started the election campaign on Friday in an entirely new way. This was in the heart of world power when he visited the Oval Office of the White House to meet with US President Joe Biden. 

Political announcements

And although the campaign had not officially started this weekend, politicians were busy making announcements and promises. Such as, guarantees to facilitate access to housing (the government will approve them in the Council of Ministers on Tuesday), public supermarkets to fight the “oligopolies” in the food sector (Podemos), and the government’s “positive silence” in favour of citizens (PP). 

Coalition parties Elkarrekin Podemos, Ezker Anitza-IU, Berdeak Equo and Alianza Verde proposed free babysitting by the mayor of Bilbao. The city of Palma was promised a botanical garden by the mayoral candidate. And Madrid’s mayor, if re-elected, promises €1.5 billion to revitalise neighbourhoods in the south and east. 

Opponents responses

Proposals and announcements by political leaders were met with a swift response from their opponents Prime Minister Sánchez’s announcement to give high discounts to young people interrailing within Europe or touring Spain has already been criticised by the Popular Party.  Housing is one of the most important and recurring issues during the pre-campaign. President of Madrid and candidate for re-election, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, is proposing expropriations and taxes on empty houses. 

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife from the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez called housing a “national issue” . He announced the approval for Tuesday in the Council of Ministers – of a guarantee line up to 20% of mortgages. This will make access to housing easier for under-35s and families with dependent minors.  

Sánchez also declared during an election campaign of his party in Tenerife that the housing policy involves increasing the housing supply. More subsidised housing will be built, with the aim that it will make up at least 20% of the total housing stock.  

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

Supermarkets and oligopolies 

The election campaign brought Podemos secretary-general Ione Belarra to Cáceres, where she called for the creation of public supermarkets that would make it possible to “cope with the food oligopoly led by boss Juan Roig (president of Mercadona)”, lower prices and protect small and medium-sized producers. But it must also put an end to the capitalist system, exposed by the pandemic, and its impact on the pharmaceutical industry, technology, the energy sector. 

In Madrid, the regional president and candidate for re-election, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has announced that she will include in her election manifesto the “positive silence” in bureaucratic procedures, so that they are resolved in favour of the citizen when the government does not respond within the set deadlines.  

In Barcelona, the PSC’s first secretary-general, Salvador Illa, and mayoral candidate Jaume Collboni affirmed the party’s European character and its ties with Brussels. The mayor and candidate for re-election of Barcelona and Comú, Ada Colau, presented her campaign slogan: ‘Barcelona leads the way’.  

In Vitoria, the president of the PNV, Andoni Ortuzar, warned against the ‘deception’ of the nationalist left at election time.  

The president of the PP-A and the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, stressed the importance of the municipal elections in Huelva today, assuring that these elections are ‘perhaps the most important for which a citizen can choose, as life takes place in towns and villages’.  

The PP general secretary and spokesperson in Congress, Cuca Gamarra, at an event in Barbastro (Huesca), also stressed the importance of these elections to ‘turn the page on Sanchismo’ and prevent the PSOE from ‘grabbing oxygen while we all suffocate’. 

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