Politics has those mysteries that are difficult to solve. The Andalusian legislature concluded at the end of this year, but the Popular Party decided that the last six months only promised wear and tear in exchange for few benefits and advanced the elections to the end of spring. In Andalusia, at least this year, that rules out the use of the jacket or the cardigan to go directly to the factor 50 social protection cream. Suddenly, the heat is a relevant factor in elections that are held on Sunday with the beaches releasing its powerful force of attraction.
It was quite clear to Alberto Núñez Feijóo on Saturday after a walk through the streets of Córdoba in 35-degree temperatures and rising. Another of those experiences that he rarely had as president of the Xunta. That day he had three acts prepared –Córdoba, Antequera and Málaga– on the hottest weekend of the year. And the next one looks like he will try to break the record. The smiles for the good forecasts that the polls grant to Juanma Moreno Bonilla have turned into a certain recovery. Beach or polls. Towel or ballot. A diabolical choice for those ahead in the polls.
“It’s going to be hot, yes,” said the presenter of the meeting, although the air conditioning caused a frigid temperature in the Palacio de Congresos, “but we have to stay here. Leave the beach for the following week, which will continue to be there”.
Both the PP and the other parties can take comfort in the data on voting by mail. Requests have grown by 98% compared to 2018, reaching 176,598. These are going to be the beach ones.
Feijóo is played as much as Moreno Bonilla in the Andalusian elections. Both became the owners of the new PP, one of whose guiding principles is to guarantee the regional barons a free hand to make their decisions and come to power or stay in it. But for that you have to win at the polls. Feijóo and Moreno are the banners of a PP that believes that it is the economy that can return them to power as long as they put on the face of being so moderate that even some clueless socialists could vote for them.
“The journalists believe that Juanma is going to win the elections,” said the PP leader with the typical announcement that he should not insist too much on lest the least enthusiastic voter bet on the beach. Afterwards, he turned around to make it clear that everything is still to be decided. “We haven’t scored any goals” in the campaign, he said before pointing out that elections can be lost by taking them for granted.
Feijóo and Moreno coincide in few rallies with the intention of extending the influence of the acts and not overshadowing each other. They each earn their headlines. The Andalusian president may be somewhat harsh with Vox and his rejection of autonomies, including the Andalusian one, with which he is telling voters that things will get complicated if he has to depend on the seats of the extreme right. It is a very obvious political simulation exercise that people remember that Vox has voted in favor of three budgets of the Moreno Government. That’s where Juanma – that’s how he appears on the electoral posters – smiles even harder so that he relaxes and doesn’t think about those things.
Meanwhile, Feijóo can ignore the candidacy of Macarena Olona and focus on Pedro Sánchez and all those political issues of the week that will have little influence on Andalusian voters. To do this, on Saturday he had to balance the economic situation. Things in Spain are going terribly wrong, he said, because the Spanish economy “is being the last to recover.” At the same time, he is pleased that the Andalusian economy is going great, although it is difficult to reconcile the two realities. A community such as Andalusia depends much more on the progress of the Spanish economy than others that have greater industrial strength.
In Andalusia, Feijóo defended that the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish has occurred. “Can taxes be lowered and income grow? Yes, Andalusia has shown it”, he said at the rally. The truth is that the tax revenues of the central Administration have also grown significantly after the increase in economic activity with the end of the pandemic and Feijóo does not consider it a merit that should be highlighted.
The PP’s morale of victory in Andalusia is something that had never been seen, not even in the previous elections that brought Moreno to the presidency. His results were horrible, the worst in thirty years, but the sum of the three rights served to put an end to decades of socialist government. Since then, Moreno’s advisers have insisted that his boss is “a quiet guy”, so much so that he has done everything possible so that the stage of the PP’s government was not very noticeable. Nothing that seemed like a revenge for so many years of suffering in the opposition.
Now it is the socialists who sweat. “The Socialists are very nervous and it shows,” Feijóo boasted. They also cannot claim victory before their time. It is a complicated balance that of the PP. Arrogant when touching the victory, one more convincing than that of Castilla y León, and also modest to imply that, if the voters go to the beach, Moreno Bonilla may have as many headaches as those of Mañueco in Valladolid.