Madrid (AP) – The conservative People’s Party (PP) has had an impressive victory with its top contender in the early regional elections in Madrid’s capital region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso.
According to forecasts, Ayusos PP had 62 to 65 of the 136 seats in the regional parliament on Tuesday. That would more than double their result in 2019.
According to this information, the left parties could only count on a total of 56 to 63 seats and would therefore have no chance of forming a government. The defeat of the left is also likely to put pressure on the minority government of Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
However, the vote count still depended on whether Ayuso should rely on Vox for a majority in parliament of 69 seats. The right-wing populist party had 12 to 14 seats. The turnout was around 69 percent, eleven percentage points more than in the previous elections.
Ayuso and PP leader Pablo Casado had emphasized that an election victory in Madrid could mark the “beginning of the end” for the Sanchez government. The election campaign was extremely polarized. The major economic and social problems in a country exhausted by the corona pandemic, which is putting all hope in the EU’s multi-billion dollar aid, was hardly mentioned.
Ayuso made a name for himself by repeatedly attacking the Sánchez government and only reluctantly or not at all enforcing the corona restrictions for Madrid. Despite a higher number of people infected and deaths, many gave her credit for keeping it open. Madrid is called the “party capital of Europe” and café owners call Ayuso a “Santa”, which means a saint.
At the end of March, the 42-year-old had canceled the coalition with the liberal-conservative Partgei Ciudadanos, dissolved the regional parliament and planned new elections. In addition, she had expected a motion of no confidence. Ciudadanos is now expected to fail at the five percent threshold.
During the election campaign, the left-wing parties warned of a pact between Ayusos and Vox. Sánchez had described this possibility as “the beginning of the end of a democracy full of life”. Pablo Iglesias of the left-wing alternative Unidas Podemos, who had relinquished his post as deputy head of government for his party’s highest candidacy, even took up the slogan “fascism or democracy”.
The Madrid PP had had a slump in the 2019 election, as the region’s conservatives had won all elections since 1995, some by a very large lead.