Game over. The campaign is over and nothing seems to have changed. If what the demoscopy predicts is fulfilled this Sunday, it would mean that these fifteen days have been of little use. Juanma Moreno will reach the finish line without the desired absolute majority; Olona’s eccentric campaign will not have subtracted positions from Vox; Swords will not have been able to mobilize the socialist electorate; Ciudadanos will continue to be a living dead and the alternative left will have to seek a solution to its usual entropy and its taste for acronym soup.
Will Moreno govern with Olona? That is the question. There’s no more. The risk is much more real, after Vox has ruled that the current president of the Board will not be president again, not even if he is only one seat short of the investiture, if he does not make his exalted candidate vice president. The fate of the PP is, therefore, so inexorably linked to that of the extreme right that Moreno, but also Alberto Núñez Feijóo, could already sing to Abascal about Without you I am nothingfrom Amaral.
Two games and a shared future. In the Spain of fragmentation and multi-partyism, there are now only two government options: PP-Vox or PSOE-Unidas Podemos, Frente Amplio, Escucha, Sumar or whatever the project that Yolanda Díaz aspires to lead finally intends to call itself. Hence, the readings on the results of Andalusia go far beyond Despeñaperros, and not only because the right tries to impose the framework of an imminent change in the political cycle. All the national leaders play a lot this Sunday.
If, despite doubling the results of 2018, absorbing the entire Citizens vote and even grabbing support in the PSOE electorate, Moreno does not obtain the comfortable majority that allows him to form a government alone, the path from Feijóo to La Moncloa will be mortgaged and also, of course, the calm style that he tries to impose against the constant provocation of the Madrilenian Díaz Ayuso.
The new leader of the PP, who boasts of moderation and centrality, flees from the excitement and tries to endorse the coalition agreement with the ultras in Castilla y León to the previous leadership, nothing would remain more than the entry of Vox in the government of Andalusia. First, because it will be understood that the entente has its endorsement. Second, because the left would make it its main asset before the general elections. And third, because Europe can turn a blind eye to the extreme right in regional governments, but not in Spain.
Therefore, the question to be transferred on Sunday night is not the one that Feijóo slipped in the last days of the campaign about whether the PSOE will facilitate Moreno’s abstention if Vox bothers him so much, but if the PP is willing to form a tandem in Andalusia and then in Spain with a clearly hypernationalist and involutionist party, which defends a country in which there are too many immigrants and homosexuals and feminists and independentists are not worthy of the rights that assist them.
The trend of the extreme right
José Pablo Ferrándiz, director of Public Opinion and Political Studies of Ipsos United Kingdom, understands why much more important apart from what is at stake in Andalusia and beyond any other trend, what will have to be read very carefully on Sunday night will be the evolution of Vox’s vote. Not so much in relation to the last regional ones, but with the vote in Andalusia for the 2019 general elections, since it will be what determines “whether or not the ultra formation is reaching its electoral ceiling and what its future trend will be.” In the regional elections of 2018, it added 395,000 votes -350,000 less than the PP-, while in the general elections just a few months later and in that same Community, it rose to 869,000, just 8,000 ballots below the popular votes and a handful of votes of sorpasso.
It is clear that these are not just any elections for anyone, much less for Feijóo, who will be able to score a first victory on the scoreboard in his newly released national leadership, but have serious difficulties in camouflaging the price paid, if Vox is finally part of the Andalusian government, just as it already does in Castilla y León.
For Pedro Sánchez they will be, yes or yes, a bitter pill to digest. Andalusia is not just any place for the PSOE, but the most important, along with Catalonia, for the party to win a general election. The surveys are not good and the feelings of the organization as a whole go beyond the contained pessimism. Maintaining the 33 seats of 2018 would be cause for celebration and not drop below a million votes, an argument with which to build the story of a more than assured defeat and that, in his opinion, would not necessarily be repeated in the 2023 general elections. They are not some Andalusians, but some municipal ones that determine the general ones”, they assure from the PSOE, where they remember that the “numbers speak for themselves and that this has been the case since the beginning of democracy”.
The delay in the replacement of Susana Díaz by Juan Espadas, the wounds that still remain open in Andalusian socialism after the last primaries and the lack of muscle in the organization as a whole that is attributed to Ferraz may serve to build a story from , but not to prevent the media and gatherings from Monday from talking about a punishment by the Andalusians for Sánchez’s policies. If the result is what the polls point to, the left will try to scare away the specter of a change in the political cycle that the right has already considered consolidated in Spain as a whole.
With the exception of Catalonia, where the PSC was the first force in the regional elections in February 2021, since Sánchez has been in La Moncloa the socialists have not been successful in any regional meeting. Not even in the Galician ones, where the BNG snatched the second position; nor in the Basque ones; nor in those of Castilla y León, where they lost the first position. Much less in those of Madrid a year ago, where the PSM became an electoral anecdote and was buried by More Madrid. After those elections, Sánchez faced a government crisis and now no one expects another on the immediate horizon, although changes in strategy are. “More politics and less economics are needed, in addition to a party that comes out of the drowsiness and inaction in which it is installed,” they say in some ministries.
The Government has failed to capitalize on the social protection measures approved during the pandemic, nor on the aid so that families can cope with the rise in prices, and in La Moncloa there is considerable concern that some attribute to “the consolidation of a social right” and others, to the “crushing performance of the media right”. Be that as it may, the panorama does not invite optimism for a Sánchez who also accuses the change of leadership in the PP and who will undoubtedly have a hard time disassociating himself from the Andalusian result.
And the same will happen to its vice president, Yolanda Díaz, who in the end has become more involved in Inma Nieto’s campaign than she had planned, something that was initially interpreted as an attempt to separate the Por Andalucía candidacy from her future project political, as it did in Castilla y León. His rallies have been the most massive of the coalition of parties and, despite the differences with United We Can, he has shared a poster with Ione Belarra, with Alberto Garzón and even with Iñigo Errejón, with whom the harmony at the moment is greater than with some of the purple ones
Now all that remains is to know if his presence and enthusiasm are capable of compensating for the ignorance among Andalusians of Nieto and, above all, of denying the polls, which give the brand he sponsors some pyrrhic results, even below half of the 17 that obtained the space in 2018, when the initials were Adelante Andalucía and Teresa Rodríguez was the candidate. The latter also submits her candidacy alone to a referendum.
Sánchez’s fate is linked to that of Díaz, just as Feijóo’s is to Abascal’s. Either they add up or they don’t govern.