Tuesday, July 5

El Rocío, the carnivals of Cádiz, the fairs in the towns and the beach deactivate the electoral campaign in Andalusia

An Andalusian election on June 19 has certain risks for participation, as has become clear this Saturday, 24 hours after the campaign started. After three years without making a pilgrimage to El Rocío, in the Huelva village of Almonte, as a result of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Andalusians were immersed this Saturday on the way to see the Virgen del Rocío, a pilgrimage that quintuples the population of said village.

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The three candidates for the Presidency of the Board, the popular Juan Manuel Moreno, the socialist Juan Espadas and Juan Marín, from Ciudadanos, have decided to set aside their agenda and visit the brotherhoods that make the journey to the hermitage of the virgin. It is not a proper campaign event, but it is: with his statements and his photographers included. El Rocío has been resumed after being suspended in 2020 and 2021 as a result of Covid-19, and the organizers have already ruled that the influx of people breaks records.

And it is not the only event of Andalusian folklore that has stood in the way of the electoral campaign, the Carnivals of Cádiz and the fairs and pilgrimages of many other municipalities in the community are also underway. All these spring festivals, plus a climate that invites you to spend the weekend on the beaches. Those of Cádiz and Huelva were especially active, when they have not even hung the posters with the faces of the candidates on the promenades of the coastal municipalities. The campaign has started hypotensive, flat, with thousands of Andalusians unplugged.

This scenario, a priori, harms the interests of the PSOE and the left, who see the demobilization of their bases as the main problem of these elections. Three out of ten Andalusians have not yet decided their vote. Abstention in 2018 exceeded 40% and was the key factor for PP, Ciudadanos and Vox to add more than the progressive bloc, facilitating the arrival of the first right-wing Andalusian government after 37 years of socialist hegemony.

Moreno has attended El Rocío as head of the Andalusian Executive and has presided over, at the main door of the hermitage, the presentation of the brotherhoods. The president arrived at the village after 11:00 a.m., accompanied by his wife, Manuela Villena, and, first, conducted an interview on Onda Cero at the station’s house in El Rocío, reports Europa Press. “A severe defeat of the PSOE would put the Government of Pedro Sánchez in a difficult situation,” said the popular candidate, who has the leader of his party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, campaigning for Andalusia with his own caravan.

For Feijóo, these are the first elections since he led the national PP, after the resignation of Pablo Casado, and a victory for Moreno can serve him not only on his way to Moncloa, but to impose the “centrist and moderate” profile of his party on the hardest wing and close to Vox, which represents the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso.

In statements to the media, Moreno wanted to express his joy and satisfaction that after two years without a pilgrimage due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most important pilgrimages in the world has been recovered, with “full splendor because there was a lot of desire” . “To speak of Andalusia is to speak of El Rocío and that is mostly widespread and accepted”, as indicated by the president, who has stressed that the celebration of this pilgrimage is one more proof that we are “recovering full normality”. “They are being very exciting and very heartfelt days and they return us to that normality that we have longed for so much.”

With the arrival of the brotherhood of Triana to the village of Almonte, the former president of the Board, Susana Díaz, has appeared, who has come to greet Moreno and the vice president and regional leader of Ciudadanos, Juan Marín, who has also attended the hermitage. Moreno has gone there to preside over the presentation of the brotherhoods, holding the rod of older brother of the Almonte Mother Brotherhood. He has agreed to the hermitage with his wife to see the Virgen del Rocío.

For his part, Juan Espadas has also wanted to make a parenthesis in his electoral campaign and from the “respect for traditions” to share the “reunion” of citizens with this “universal” pilgrimage. In a response to the media at the Center for Integrated Operational Coordination (Cecopi) in El Rocío, located in the House of Culture, he wanted to “value this reunion” with the pilgrimage, to which the last time he went to her was as mayor of Seville, as he recalled, and in which he will spend this Saturday “a day of fundamentally coexistence, of respect, after so many things that we have experienced” in the last year.

As he added, the pilgrimage will serve as a “reunion of memories of those who are no longer” and also to “charge batteries and hope for everything that lies ahead.” In the same way, Swords has underlined that the development of this pilgrimage is possible “thanks to an enormous human, technical, solid device, with a lot of experience and professionalism that is capable of making this miracle that all this goes very well”. “I do not come here today to campaign, but to be with the pilgrims”, he has sentenced.

Marín, regional leader of Ciudadanos, has also been at the presentation of the brotherhoods before the hermitage, together with Juanma Moreno, and accompanied by the president of Parliament, Marta Bosquet (Cs). “It is time to enjoy a few days of living together in the village, this brings us many memories and feelings”, Marín underlined, pointing out that “today we remember those who are no longer here, and we ask the Virgin for good health to face the challenges that lie ahead of us.”