The victory of the PP in Andalusia extends to all the provinces, but has different readings depending on the electoral history, the magnitude and the expectations that the popular had deposited in each one of them. In some, like Seville, Jaén or Huelva, the victory is historic because it is the first. In others, like Malaga, it was taken for granted, but it has reached overwhelming heights. And in Almería the reading is that the PP has regained vigor in a square that it never lost, but that seemed in danger due to the push of the extreme right.
El Ejido before the mirror: Vox faces the revalidation of its xenophobic speech in the capital of greenhouses
The popular ones have obtained in the easternmost constituency of Andalusia more votes than the second and third forces together. 45.53%, compared to 22.07% for the PSOE and 20.72% for Vox. The PP thus achieves six seats (two more than in 2018), the PSOE remains at three and Vox adds one more (three in total). The PP wins with a difference of 23.5 percentage points with respect to the second, a result that only finds comparison a decade ago, when Gabriel Amat dominated the party and the province with an iron fist and Javier Arenas from Almería was the popular candidate for the Presidency of the Junta de Andalucía.
For the left, reading the results is discouraging. Neither Por Andalucía nor Adelante Andalucía achieved a seat. While in 2018 Adelante Andalucía reached almost 25,000 votes (one deputy), now Por Andalucía remains at 12,882, Adelante Andalucía at 4,509 and the Almeria left disappears from the Andalusian Parliament. Citizens also do it, which goes from 42,258 votes to 6,633, and from two deputies to zero. Their votes feed the PP.
The result of this Sunday, at the height of 2012, leaves a very different picture from that of 2018, when the PP achieved 27.24% of the votes, the PSOE 25.92% and Vox 16.79%. That December 2, 2018 marked the thunderous entrance of the ultra party in an autonomous Parliament. From that 16.79% they grew to 26.93% in the second general of 2019. Yesterday, it was about checking if Vox hit its ceiling that day. And for now, it seems so.
The limited growth of Vox
The slight improvement of Vox in Almería (10,000 votes and one deputy more than in 2018) does not seem sufficient for the aspirations of a party that makes immigration one of its electoral axes, and that had turned the province into the vanguard of its policies. Here, those of Abascal had made one of their big bets, with an intensive display of acts by their national leaders and wielding, openly and without a single piece of information, a discourse that links immigration with crime. “Do you know what the difference is between Saint-Denis [en alusión a los disturbios en este barrio parisino] or El Puche or El Ejido? That a Champions League has not yet been held in Andalusia ”, the candidate Macarena Olona released in the first televised debate.
For this reason, when the PP electoral caravan arrived in Almería, Juan Manuel Moreno, who knew that he was playing with fire, rushed to launch his response message. “This is not Saint Denis!” It’s not just the potential risk of racial conflict. It is also the economy, since it is the immigrants, mainly Moroccans and Sub-Saharans, who put the work into the “economic miracle” of the highly profitable Almerian fruit and vegetable industry, almost always in precarious and often irregular conditions.
Moreno also knew that in Almería he was performing a very delicate balancing act before a potential electorate that in recent years has been moving to the right, to the extreme. The resource was to pull from the manual, placing itself in the supposed middle ground: “The midpoint is the balance between those who want an absolutely disorderly immigration with open doors, with which we do not agree, and those who want to practically eliminate any presence of immigrants, with what it means of economic impact for certain areas of Andalusia”, he said in Adra. Also Alberto Núñez Feijóo, national president of the PP, visited Almería.
It was in El Ejido where Vox achieved its first and only victory in the Andalusian races of 2018, and from where it catapulted into the generals a year later with half a dozen wins in the sea of plastic. Now, the PP not only reconquers one of its most faithful provinces, but it does so clearly and putting a brake on the growth of Vox. The party of the extreme right touches with its fingers the second place (which the PSOE maintains by a narrow margin), its growth continues, but it is no longer dazzling.
On this occasion, the party has not won in any municipality: certainly not in El Ejido (where the PP achieved 47.6% of the votes compared to 27.8% for Vox), but neither in places where it was majority in November 2019, such as Adra, Roquetas de Mar or Níjar. In the three municipalities, the popular ones oscillate between 40 and 50% of the votes and those of Abascal move between 23 and 27%.
Judging by the result, Moreno’s foreshortening to block the transfer of votes to Vox has worked.
The internal problems of the extreme right party
Although in 2018 the Abascal harvest was scarcer than now, in politics expectations count, and these have not been fulfilled. Some critical members had already warned of the party’s stagnation in the province. The organic problems of the party have their origin in the preparation of municipal lists that did not respond to the sensitivity of the members, and yes to the designs of Rocío de Meer, Teresa Alonso and Mercedes Tamayo, a true power in the shadows despite that the presidency falls on the ousted and later recovered Juan Francisco Rojas, according to a prominent fractious member who asks to remain anonymous.
“They put out some pathetic lists, with arrogance and arrogance, and trampled on the militancy”, to explain why a large part of the councilors that Vox achieved in 2019 are no longer in the party. Of the three in Roquetas de Mar, one remains; of the three from Vícar, the same; of the two from Almería, one; and in El Ejido, Juan José Bonilla (a lawyer known for being the son of one of the farmers assassinated in 2000) left the party, after breaking the coalition after a year and a half of municipal government with the PP, and the party passed to the opposition.
This organic decomposition at the provincial level, in which the national leadership does not intervene due to incapacity or convenience (“Madrid is interested so that the cannons do not point upwards”, says the affiliate) would have limited the growth of the brand. Much has also had to do with the recovery of the PP, capable in 2022 of repeating a victory almost as comfortable as that of 2012.