Tuesday, May 24

Moreno advances the elections in Andalusia to June 19 in search of a Government without Vox

On June 19, coinciding with the second round of the legislative elections in France, 6.5 million Andalusians are called to vote in momentous elections for the most populous community in Spain and, therefore, for the entire country.

The Spain that would come with Vox

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The president of the Board, Juan Manuel Moreno, has advanced the elections in Andalusia against the commitment to exhaust the mandate that was marked three and a half years ago. It will coincide, not by chance, with the second electoral battle in France between the candidate of the liberal center, Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right Marine Le Pen.

The PP is said to be a reflection of Macron in Spain and Le Pen has the sympathy of Vox. Before the leftists launch themselves against Moreno, placing him in a hypothetical government with the extreme right, the Andalusian president tries to steal their mental framework using the Gallic simile: those who are against Vox, support me. It is the useful vote that is going to direct Moreno’s campaign, filtering through the electorate dissatisfied with the PSOE and the large bag of undecided voters.

The Andalusian president convened an extraordinary Government Council on Monday to announce the date to his coalition partners -Citizens- who are on the edge of the precipice, according to the polls, and preferred to rush the mandate until autumn. The meeting was a formality – a requirement of the Electoral Law to deliberate on the date -, although previously he spent an hour meeting with the vice president and regional leader of Ciudadanos, Juan Marín. “This is a very thoughtful decision, very thoughtful and very difficult to make. My wish is that these elections have the greatest possible participation, and the June date is the best, ”he announced after 8:30 p.m., through a televised institutional statement and without questions from the press.

Moreno has played with the election date for months, with special interest in the last few days, even misleading locals and strangers by launching the idea that he could choose a weekday, something that no one contemplated. Except for the specific day of the polls, the rest of his speech was already known.

The official argument of the advance -once the thesis of the Vox-PSOE blockade in Parliament has been ruled out- is that the inflationary escalation caused by the war in Ukraine is making life more expensive for Andalusians, paralyzing important works due to the increase in the price of materials premiums and putting businesses and jobs at risk. “An economic pandemic is coming, people now stay at home, not because of Covid, but because of lack of purchasing power, of money to consume,” he said.

Andalusia cannot move forward with the current extended 2021 Budgets -designed at a time when there were still no vaccines against Covid-19, no war in Europe or soaring inflation- and “we must take advantage of the summer to constitute the Parliament and form a new government. “Whoever comes out of the polls will have enough time to design new Budgets,” he announced, after previously informing all the opposition leaders of the election date.

54 day countdown

The decree of dissolution of Parliament will be published this Tuesday in the Official Gazette of the Andalusian Government (BOJA) and the elections will be 54 days later, as required.

The calendar until then is full of popular spring festivals, in fact, the electoral campaign starts on the weekend of the Rocío pilgrimage [2 y 3 de junio] and ends at the Corpus bridge, which is a festival in Seville and Granada. In the opposition they see here a demobilizing intention and accuse Moreno of encouraging low participation, convinced that this will do more damage to the leftist forces. June 19 also coincides with the opposition exam of 50,000 applicants for a teaching position, something that the Andalusian vice president himself highlighted to dissuade this date.

The legislature ends five months ahead of schedule, although it has languished empty of drive and relevant political content for months. Andalusia thus anticipates an electoral cycle in Spain that will culminate in a year with municipal, regional and, probably, general elections.

Before there were the elections in Castilla y León, but this time it is the most populous community in the country, it has 8.5 million inhabitants, and represents almost 18% of Spaniards. It is a map more similar to that of Spain than that of the Castilian-Leonese region, with large cities, which concentrate more than 80% of the population, and rural municipalities with less than 5,000 people.

In Andalusia there are 785 localities, in 65% they are governed by socialist or left-wing mayors, but as a whole the voters from the center to the harder right have outnumbered them for three years. Moreno intends to travel alone and monopolize the center and moderation, but the rest of the parties pose these elections as a clash of blocs, a binomial between the Andalusian self-government and the rupture of all the consensus championed by Santiago Abascal’s party.

Andalusia, once the PSOE’s granary of votes, has been decisive in putting and removing tenants in Moncloa. In these elections, perhaps more than ever, the course of the country is being decided on many fronts: above all, it remains to be seen if the conservative bloc once again overlaps the left-wing forces, consolidating the change of cycle in Andalusia that began in 2018, with the first right-wing government in 37 years, supported by the PP-Ciudadanos-Vox alliance.

Key for Sánchez, key for Feijóo

But President Pedro Sánchez also plays in this courtyard, who has to gauge the state of health of his coalition government with United We Can in the face of growing social discontent, fueled by the pandemic and galloping inflation; and the new leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who has linked his destiny to that of Moreno, confident that the centrist and moderate path will allow him to fly alone and without the ties of the extreme right of Vox within a government, which would be the second under his mandate after that of Castilla y León.

The legislature in Andalusia had been hopelessly trapped in the debate on the electoral advance since the opposition knocked down the Government Budgets for 2022, last November. Finally, Moreno, after several weeks playing publicly with the electoral date, has hastened the appointment with the polls before the summer with the idea of ​​being able to form a new Executive – this time alone – and have time to design and approve the accounts for the year that it comes in december.

The acting president and candidate of the PP launches an electoral campaign that, de facto, began months ago, with a marathon tour of inaugurations throughout Andalusia, meetings, announcements, selfie, visits to construction sites, photos, etc… According to the polls, Moreno is the favorite in key elections for a community, a traditional granary of votes for the left, where the PP has never governed with the legitimacy of having won the elections. Moreno was invested as president thanks to an agreement with Ciudadanos and Vox, despite obtaining the worst electoral result in the history of the PP.

Broaden the electoral base against Vox

Andalusia is also now the main fishing ground for votes for the extreme right in Spain -800,000 votes in the last general elections; 400,000 more than in the Andalusian elections – and its result in these elections will determine the future of the right in the country. Moreno considers the left amortized and his main challenge is to achieve a comfortable majority that allows him to govern alone, without bringing the extreme right into his cabinet, as Alfonso Fernández Mañueco has done in Castilla y León. It is an objective not only of the Andalusian president, but of Feijóo, whose centrist and moderate patina depends a lot on Moreno managing to distance himself from Vox in Andalusia.

The new president of the national PP did not attend the investiture of Mañueco in Castilla y León, but his presence in the Andalusian campaign is taken for granted. His political and personal harmony with the Andalusian leader predicts a frantic race to widen the electoral base of the PP in the center at the cost of the gradual disintegration of Ciudadanos, his government partners these last three years, and of the voters disenchanted with the Andalusian PSOE (some 90,000 close to going over to the PP, according to calculations by San Telmo).

The growth expectations of the Andalusian PP in the polls have a lot to do with the shipwreck of its orange partners. However, Moreno wanted to wink at them in the same announcement of the electoral call. The two forces have announced that they will concur separately, but until very recently the Andalusian president managed “some option” that would allow them to fish for votes in different fishing grounds and reissue their alliance.

“The coalition government is united until the end, and the loyalty between Vice President Marín and myself has been absolute. This is not common in the rest of Spain nor has it been before in Andalusia”, he warned, distancing himself from the abrupt ruptures that the PP led with Ciudadanos in the governments of Murcia, Madrid and Castilla y León (all with the oranges outside the Government).

“Stability and security”, along with “balance and moderation” are the political values ​​that Moreno is going to sell in the campaign, along with a portrait of the PSOE as “something from the past”. “I hope I have been helpful. Make the Junta de Andalucía something safe to hold on to. I will always carry with pride the immense honor of being president of Andalusia, the best land in the world”, he said when saying goodbye.

The decree dissolving the Andalusian Parliament published on a Tuesday in the Official Bulletin of the Junta de Andalucíadeclining five bills that are currently being processed in the Chamber, as well as, among others, the controversial bill proposed by PP, Ciudadanos and Vox to amnesty illegal irrigation in the Doñana area.

In Parliament, only the Permanent Deputation will remain active, the body that watches over its powers when it is not in session due to vacations or because the parliamentary mandate has expired and until the new Legislative Chamber is constituted. In his speech, Moreno has promised to bring back to Parliament the initiatives that have been pending approval.