All against Mañueco and Mañueco against Sánchez. The first electoral debate in Castilla y León could be summed up in that sentence. While the PSOE candidate, Luis Tudanca, and Mañueco’s former government partner and Ciudadanos candidate, Francisco Igea, constantly challenged the regional president, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco repeatedly resorted to the policies of the central government, Pedro Sánchez and his ministers. He has even alluded to pardons for independence leaders, an issue that, he has assured, “is of interest” in Castilla y León.
The debate -which has been forged immersed in a controversy over which television should produce it and with Igea, confined, from his mother’s house- has addressed five large blocks: the pandemic, education, taxation, depopulation and regeneration. These last two have been the ones that have focused criticism on the confrontation, in which Mañueco has denied having a “personal or political” relationship with the cases of corruption surrounding positions and former positions of the Popular Party: Perla Negra, Trama Eólica, el case of the primaries of the PP of Salamanca or the investigation on the sabotage to the biorefinery project of Barcial del Barco (Zamora).
In addition, the Ciudadanos candidate has assured that the current Minister of Health, Alejandro Vázquez, has met with the bidder for an 800 million contest, an appointment for which he has asked Mañueco, since it does not appear on the counselor’s agenda .
Depopulation has occupied twenty minutes in the debate, in which the PSOE and Ciudadanos have reproached Mañueco for the demographic bleeding that the community has suffered for decades. In addition, Mañueco has assured that Castilla y León “more people arrive than leave” since 2018, something that does not fit reality. According to INE data -as Igea has also pointed out-, the inter-autonomous migratory balance is positive since 2020 in 2,679 people. In 2018, the inter-autonomous migratory balance was negative. In other words, 4,251 Castilians and Leonese left more than those who returned to the community.
While Tudanca tried to profile himself as a presidential candidate and with proposals, Igea and Mañueco have had more confrontations between the two, with competitions over who had worked more during the first wave of the pandemic. Igea has accused Mañueco of having been “hidden” while he asked citizens for protection equipment. Mañueco replied that it was he who was in the Soria hospital at the time.
Igea has questioned Mañueco to find out if he intends to appoint the Vox candidate, Juan García-Gallardo, as Minister of Education, and has asked him if with Vox in government young people will be able to “dress as they want and feel as they want”. Mañueco was “convinced” of having “a sufficient majority” so that “other people” who are not from Vox are in Education, although he has not closed an agreement with the far-right party.
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