Tuesday, July 5

Pedro Sánchez vindicates the ‘Gallic village’ of Andalusian socialism and calls for resistance against the advance of the right

Cuevas de Almanzora, a municipality of 5,000 inhabitants on the Almeria coast, which in the Andalusian elections of 2018 had a higher than average turnout (60.3%) and gave a clear victory to the PSOE (40.9%) against the PP (25%). It is eleven o’clock in the morning, the sun beats down on hundreds of sympathizers protected with straw hats and under the awnings that have been installed in the Plaza de la Libertad. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, is literally sweating his shirt off at his first campaign rally with the Socialist candidate, Juan Espadas.

The call for “massive” participation is constant. The enemy on June 19 is abstention (43.4% in 2018), resignation, despondency and discouragement. Sánchez lists a list of social reforms and laws that his government has approved and recalls that the PP has systematically voted against all of them. As soon as he gets on the lectern, he takes off his chest for the latest unemployment data, the best since 2018, driven in recent months by the discontinuous permanent hiring of the labor reform: 20.2 million Social Security affiliates, less than three million unemployed in Spain, and the minimum interprofessional salary in one thousand euros.

Sánchez is also being examined in the Andalusian elections, although his turn at the polls will not come until the fall of 2023. The day before, his rival, the president of the national PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who has his own caravan in this city, was in Granada. campaign, separated from the candidate Juan Manuel Moreno, and with national echoes in all his rallies. Two overlapping contests, hence the federal PSOE is obsessed with mobilizing its entire electoral machinery. In the municipality of Almería, a more massive act is perceived than the start of the campaign, in Jaén.

The President of the Government has broken down figures, reasons, reforms, but in the end he has focused on the emotional message. This is what the 19J elections are about, about awakening dormant socialism, the 400,000 voters who stayed home in 2018 but returned to vote in the general and municipal elections the following year. To shake the bases, Sánchez has called for resistance and has pulled the epic of the Andalusian PSOE, which was a Gallic village when the entire national map was dyed the blue of the PP.

“When the rest of Spain was governed by the right, here there was a progressive bastion and we looked with great envy at the Andalusian Government”, he says, appealing to the “red bastion in Andalusia”, the one that “maintained universal healthcare, the one that with its Andalusianism defended its self-government. We looked at you with admiration”, he insists, remembering the times of Mariano Rajoy in Moncloa, and the majority of communities under the acronym of the PP.

And it stops at the critical point that scares the Andalusian PSOE the most, the 37 years of uninterrupted governments until it was displaced in power by the sum of PP, Ciudadanos and Vox. “Some of you may say that we have not done everything when we governed in Andalusia, but everything good that Andalusia has has been done by the PSOE,” he warns, arousing applause from the public. The campaign started three days ago and one thing has changed in the Socialists’ strategy: now they talk more about themselves, and are proud, than the time they spend whipping up fear of the extreme right.

However, Sánchez repeats that “voting for the right or the extreme right is the same, because they are interchangeable, and because in the end they will end up understanding each other.” “You have to vote for the PSOE red”, remarks the president, lamenting the “hostility” with which the PP always receives socialist governments in Spain. “They always tell us that they are illegitimate. Now they call it sanchismo, before with Felipe, they called it felipismo. With Zapatero, shoemaking. And it is nothing like that, it is democratic and legitimate socialism. Social democracy,” he shouts.

Moreno Bonilla, the president of the Board and PP candidate for re-election, is no longer assaulted as a Vox camouflage. “Some of you may have heard that this man has done nothing wrong, nothing good either. But you are wrong. Leaving the one that is so that Andalusia stays as it is is not advancing, it is going backwards”, the president insisted.

Swords has preceded him in the act with a more disjointed speech and more aimed at portraying Moreno as a hostage of the extreme right. The socialist candidate has appealed to women’s vote, after a group of Vox supporters tore up a sign installed by the City Council of Cantoria (Almería) where it read “municipality free of gender violence”. “These are women’s elections. They have to feel affected and concerned. Either they move forward or they go back to a dark past, in which they had to stay at home and were not allowed to study”, he warned.

Almería is the Andalusian province where the PP and Vox are strongest: 12 seats are shared, and in 2018 the PP obtained four, behind the PSOE with three, Vox with two, Ciudadanos with another two and Adelante Andalucía with one. Sánchez has promised the arrival of the AVE to Almería and has spoken of the Mediterranean Corridor, an investment of 3,000 million euros, of which the connection with the province of Almería has already taken 57 million.