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Regional elections in Madrid could herald a change of course | Free press

The election campaign in the main region of Madrid was characterized by extremes. Conservative incumbent Ayuso hopes that a victory in “Europe’s party capital” will send a signal to all of Spain.

Madrid (AP) – About 5.1 million residents of the Spanish capital Madrid were called to regional elections on Tuesday in which the rights of the country could hope for a victory.

According to surveys, the Conservative People’s Party (PP) regional head of government Isabel Díaz Ayuso reached about 40 percent, nearly doubling their share of the votes by 2019. Together with PP chief Pablo Casado, she called the vote, roughly equivalent to a state election in Germany, for the “beginning of the end” of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing government. Only marginally talked about the major economic and social problems in a country exhausted by the corona pandemic, which is hoping for the billions of EU aid.

Ayuso has mainly made a name for itself by criticizing the restrictions that the Sánchez government has initiated since the start of the corona pandemic and only reluctantly or not at all to implement them for Madrid. Despite a higher number of people infected and deaths, many gave her credit for keeping it open. Madrid was sometimes called the “party capital of Europe” and cafe owners call Ayuso a “Santa”, a saint.

But even with a good election result, the 42-year-old would most likely need a partner for a parliamentary majority. And then there is currently only the right-wing populist Vox in question, which Ayuso’s minority government has tolerated with the liberal conservative Ciudadanos in the last term. However, the Liberals acted awkwardly, and Ayuso ended the coalition in March. At the same time, she started the elections two years earlier to avoid a vote of no confidence in her. According to surveys, Ciudadanos is now threatened with not reaching the five percent threshold.

Then Ayuso only had to rely on Vox, which was about nine percent in surveys. “We will offer our votes to Ayuso, but subject to conditions,” said Vox top contender Rocío Monasterio. Which are they? “We’ll say that on May 5th.”

The prospect of a PP-Vox pact united the otherwise often divided left. Sánchez said the “beginning of the end of a lifelong democracy” was under threat. Pablo Iglesias of the left-wing alternative Unidas Podemos even fought the rallying cry “fascism or democracy”.

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