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The 'knock-on effect' of the election year in Spain


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The Conversation

Carlos Barrera

Director Academic of the Master's Degree in Political and Corporate Communication.

A good issue of plots of power will be disputed on Sunday, May 28th in Spanish city councils and autonomous communities. The quotation acquires special relevance if we take into account that they are considered, not without reason, as the prelude to the general elections supposedly scheduled for the end of the year.

With such a profusion of polls flooding the media, the demoscopic data based on representative samples will give way to a fixed and real picture of the vote, not only of voting intentions. It will already be possible to talk about real data , although the local and regional nature of the elections adds a component that may distort the national projection of the results.

Since January, the main political parties have been immersed in the pre-campaign. From their headquarters, strategies have been set in motion to "warm up" the atmosphere. Elections are a confrontation, hence the usual warmongering metaphors used both internally within these teams and in the media covering them.

In politics, power is won or lost, never tied. In this case, with elections just around the corner that will largely determine the future government of Spain, the dramatic overtones of the May confrontation are accentuated. This temporal proximity is a conditioning factor present in the collective environment, in the moral atmosphere that surrounds them.

The effects on the voter

It never hurts, however, to remember the nature of the elections next May and their effects on the vote or, rather, on the voter. It is not the same to vote for those who will govern a city council, where the factor of the proximity of the citizens to the concrete problems they are experiencing is accentuated, as it is to vote for those who will do so from more distant instances, be they autonomous or national governments. There are also territories where, historically, the transversal nature of the vote that candidates with charisma and pull have collected transgresses ideological-political frontiers.

It is the PSOE who has the most at stake, since it presides over nine of the twelve autonomous communities at stake. Only in Murcia and the Community of Madrid does the PP defend its positions. At the local level, the PSOE has to defend 22,329 councilors against the 20,235 of the PP and 15 mayoralties against 8 of the PP in the 30 towns with the highest number of inhabitants in the country, issue .

Battles with uncertain prognosis are looming in important municipalities such as Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and Pamplona, or in communities of different political signatures such as Valencia, Madrid, Aragon and the Balearic Islands.

The proportional electoral system and the concurrence of other parties implies that it will not only be necessary to take into account the issue of councilors and parliamentarians obtained, but also the subsequent policy of alliances to form city councils and regional governments. The question of alliances, present and future, will be a relevant factor when managing campaigns. The fact with whom they have made agreements in the last mandate or the declaration of who they intend to make agreements with in the next one is of great interest to the electorate and promises to be a recurrent discussion among the different parties and candidates. topic .

There are so many seats at stake that it will be necessary to pay attention to a wide variety of possible scenarios. In the more strictly general political arena, there is the question of the distribution of votes between PP and Vox on the right, and between PSOE and Unidas Podemos and its confluences on the left.

Who has the advantage?

Due to their wide territorial implantation, the Socialists and the Popular Party have a certain advantage in this election subject . The growing quarrels and disputes between the two partners in the Spanish government may claim victims among their usual electorates and provoke vote fluctuations. Likewise, the strategy of moderation promoted by Feijóo in the PP in his steps towards the political center may indirectly favor Vox if Abascal's party knows how to manage it in its favor.

If the margins are narrow, determining who has won the municipal and autonomic elections may not be an easy task, especially when subsequent pacts are often required to invest the mayor or the president. In any case, with a view to the general elections at the end of the year, the May results cannot fail to have an impact, especially among a PSOE and a PP that aspire to govern Spain in the next legislature.

Those who gain more power will be morally strengthened and, conversely, the losers will have to reactivate the possible discouragement that may spread among their own ranks. This has already happened on previous occasions and, although these precedents are not obligatory, they are installed in the collective subconscious and can produce a dragging effect.