Election fever

IF you’ve been out and about anywhere in the Valencia region in the past week you can’t have missed the political posters which have popped up on every other lamppost. It can only mean one thing, an election is on its way.

As of last Friday, we are now in the official two-week campaign period, when politicians are out and about scouting for votes. There will be numerous TV and radio debates, and other events, posters and banners are also permitted during this period. Campaigning will continue up until midnight on Friday 26 May. Saturday 27 will be the day of ‘reflection’ when no campaigning can take place and elections will take place on Sunday 28 May, or as they’re calling it here, 28M.

Autonomous elections

Spanish nationals are able to vote in the autonomous regional elections in the town or city where they are registered or enpadronado. For the past eight years there has been a coalition regional government between the three left-wing parties, PSOE, Compromís and Unidas Podemos. The government is sometimes referred to as El Botaníc, after Valencia’s botanical gardens where their agreement was signed. The largest of the group is PSOE and as such their leader, Ximo Puig, became president of the regional government. He has headed the region through the pandemic and hopes to keep his job for the next four years.

Candidates for president of the Valencia Region from left to right
Top row:Ximo Puig (PSOE), Carlos Mazón (P), MAmen Peris (Ciudadanos)
Bottom row: Joan Boldoví (Compromís), Carlos Flores (Vox), Héctor Illueca (Unidas Podemos)

Opinion polls currently put PSOE at anywhere between 24 and 30%, compared to the 24.4% which they achieved in the last elections, held in 2019. Their coalition partners, Compromís, gained 16.8% of the vote in 2019 and look set to get something similar this year. However, both parties are likely to need the support of Podemos to get enough seats in the parliament to make a government. For this they are also reliant on Podemos achieving the necessary 5%.

The centrist party Ciudadanos, has all but disappeared, dropping from 17.8% of the votes in 2019 to the current situation where none of the opinion polls is giving them more than 3.6% of the vote.

Hoping to oust Puig from the top job is Carlos Mazón, leader of the right-wing PP (Partido Popular) which is being estimated at between 28 and 34% of the vote. Mazón is unlikely to get a majority of the vote to be a ble to govern alone and his most likely option for forming a government would, however, be a coalition with the far-right party, Vox, who, according to the opinion polls have jumped from 10.7% in the 2019 elections to around 15% of the vote today. Their leader, and would-be vice president in a PP-Vox coalition, is the professor of constitutional law, Carlos Flores.

Flores, who was convicted of domestic violence in 2002, was sentenced to one year in prison and fined €6,000. As reported at the time, the violence was mostly psychological, involving harassment and coercive control, which led to his ex-wife suffering a nervous breakdown and having to move to Barcelona.

The diagram below, carried out for 20 Minutos shows the distribution of votes according to opinion polls carried out between 10 and 15 May.

Municipal elections

Local municipal elections are also being held on 28 May to select councillors for towns and cities across Spain. In Valencia city, for instance, the mayor, Joan Ribò, is up for re-election. Spanish nationals, who are officially registered or empadronado are eligible to vote in municipal elections, as are foreigners who have also registered their “intention to vote”.

Candidates for mayor in Valencia city participate in a debate organised by Cadena SER, from left to right:
Juan Manuel Bádenas (Vox), Fernando Giner (Ciudadanos), Sandra Gómez (PSPV-PSOE), María José Catalá (PP) and Joan Ribó (Compromís), Cadena SER

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