Almost two out of every three citizens of Castilla y León interviewed by the CIS declare little or no interest in the campaign for the regional elections that started at 00:00 this Friday. Meanwhile, the gatherings in Madrid have been passionately discussing this regional event for weeks, scheduled for February 13. Spanish politics has long lived in a permanent electoral campaign and any call to the polls in any part of the territory stirs up war drums in the party headquarters, no matter how much their efforts hardly coincide with those of the citizens.
Last year it was Catalonia and Madrid, now Castilla y León and sooner rather than later Andalusia. In the most depopulated community in Spain, a tiring electoral cycle of almost two years opens, which will culminate in 2023 with the municipal and regional elections, the last station before the final battle for La Moncloa.
Until now, the autonomous ones of Castilla y León were just one more than those that were celebrated simultaneously throughout Spain, coinciding with the municipal ones. This time, the PP has turned them into something else.
The early dissolution of the regional courts, decided by the president, the popular Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, pretexting a phantasmagorical motion of censure that his until now Ciudadanos partners would be plotting, has placed the entire focus of national politics on a community with nine provinces that cover 18% of the Spanish territory and only accommodate 5% of the population.
The campaign already had its appetizer with the endless controversy over the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, and his opinions about the quality of the meat, a national uproar destined for internal consumption in a very livestock territory.
The plan of the popular is to chain a succession of triumphs to relaunch Pablo Casado’s alternative and at the same time dilute what has become his main headache, the great victory reaped last May by the rebellious president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso . All the polls, except for the CIS, have breathed wind into the sails of Casado, who will turn to the campaign like no other national leader. But the PP is not enough to win. He needs a victory with a sufficient margin so as not to depend on Vox, catapulted in the polls. The need to govern with the extreme right could turn the hypothetical electoral victory more into a burden than a trophy. These are the strategic lines of the parties for the next two weeks.
Married, with everything. Although he has governed thanks to his pact with Cs, Mañueco was overtaken by the PSOE in the last elections. Now, he aspires to emulate Ayuso’s victory in Madrid, with enough slack so that Vox has no choice but to let him govern, even if it was with an abstention, reports Elsa García de Blas. Neither Genoa nor the regional PP want to govern with Vox, some for fear that this will mobilize the left in subsequent elections and others because they believe that such a coalition would be problematic.
Casado needs another regional victory to climb steps towards La Moncloa. Genoa’s plan is to wear down the left at the polls and strengthen itself against Ayuso, the main challenge to Casado’s leadership. With a new victory, it would not be just Ayuso, but the PP brand that would be surrounded by a winning aura. Casado, who is from Palencia, is going to throw himself into the campaign touring the nine provinces. The landing of the PP will be total: all the autonomous presidents and the former presidents of the Government José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy will also participate in the campaign.
The PSOE does not throw in the towel. After their victory in the 2019 regional elections for the first time since 1983, the Socialists are reluctant to consider the elections lost and claim to be the only guarantee of change in the face of 35 years of popular governments, reports José Marcos. The objective is to attract part of the 200,000 Cs voters, although, unlike the Madrid elections, its candidate, Luis Tudanca, has avoided winking at the center-right electorate. To whom it does extend its hand is to the platforms of the Empty Spain that will concur in several provinces, seen as potential allies if the PP does not join Vox. Pedro Sánchez will participate in four campaign events, which will also be reinforced by the regional presidents, the former head of government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the first vice president, Nadia Calviño. The Socialists will sell government actions with a special impact on that community, such as the rise in pensions and measures to combat depopulation.
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Cs, against “treason”. After almost three years of Government with the PP, the liberal formation has made the “betrayal” of Mañueco his great flag, reports Virginia Martínez. In 2019 he won 12 seats and now some polls put it at risk of disappearing. His candidate, former Vice President Francisco Igea, announced that he will not support Mañueco again, although he aspires to be decisive once again in constituting a government. Igea will influence the results of his management on the Board, especially the fight against the pandemic, led by a Cs counselor. The unity around the candidate, in the past critical of the party’s leadership, is total, starting with Inés Arrimadas, who will be very present in the campaign.
First date without churches. United We Can admit that Castilla y León is a difficult territory for its message and its aspirations do not go beyond slightly improving the two modest seats of 2019 with a repeat candidate, Pablo Fernández. They will be the first elections without Pablo Iglesias in the leadership. Her replacement in the Government, Yolanda Díaz, focused on building a different project, has distanced herself and only at the last minute has she announced her participation in a single act yet to be defined, reports Paula Chouza. The cases of corruption of the regional PP and environmentalism, after the controversy of Garzón and the macro-farms, will be two of the most used tricks.
Vox wants to be a key. The race that really interests Vox is La Moncloa, and Castilla y León will only be a preparatory round, reports Miguel González. Santiago Abascal has it easy to be able to declare himself satisfied, since he starts from a single seat won in 2019. If he manages to get hold of the key to make Mañueco president, he will be able to sing victory and will have shown Casado that to reach La Moncloa he will have to do it from your hand And this time he warns that his support will not be free like in Madrid. Although the slogan of his campaign is Siembra, Vox has not plowed in Castilla y León during these two and a half years. He has suffered internal problems and Abascal, in a personal decision, has improvised as a candidate a 30-year-old, Juan García-Gallardo, who joined Vox six months ago and whom no one in the party knew.
Premiere of Spain Emptied. In a community where citizens place depopulation as the first problem, the platform that aims to bring together Empty Spain will make its debut. With that name it is presented by four provinces and it is joined by Soria ¡Ya!, which has been battling for years and which the CIS places as the first force in that constituency, reports Juan Navarro. Two other provincial groups, Union of the Leonese People and Por Ávila, were already in the outgoing Cortes. All of them can be decisive.