The four absolute majorities that Alberto Núñez Feijóo has chained since 2009 leave little room for doubt: Galicia, at least in the area of regional institutions, is good at the Popular Party. But the reality is, as often happens, a more complex point. The hegemony of the right in the community is not so. They only govern a deputation of four, that of Ourense, and the largest town hall in their hands is called Arteixo and it barely exceeds 30,000 inhabitants. Beyond the omnipresent figure of Feijóo, who this weekend will be re-elected to the head of the party, the electoral strength of the Galician PP was significantly higher during the years of Fraga Iribarne.
Feijóo closes the door to his succession and opens it to present himself for the fifth time to preside over the Xunta
In fact, between 1995 and 2003, the four provincial entities were under his command. That circumstance, a complicated system of election of the government of the deputations by means of, was a reflection of the enormous municipal power of the right. That it only began to break down in 1999. The agreements between the Socialist Party and the BNG to support each other and agree on coalitions where the right did not obtain an absolute majority began to rebalance the Galician political map. Six of the seven cities – all except Ourense – fell on the left side. And in 2003, the Diputación de A Coruña passed into socialist hands. Four years later, Lugo’s did, in this case after a pact with the BNG that removed the historic Francisco Cacharro Pardo from the presidency. Louzán fell in 2015, also thanks to a left-wing bipartisan agreement.
The mayors of the usually considered seven Galician cities did not always remain in the progressive camp, but they did most of the time. Three of them – A Coruña, Santiago and Ferrol – led the municipalist offensive of the so-called rupturist left in 2015. The last elections, those of 2019, left the following map: the socialists rule Vigo, A Coruña, Ferrol and Santiago de Compostela and in coalition with the Block in Lugo; the BNG, allied with the PSOE, Pontevedra. In Ourense, Democracia Ourensana governs, a bizarre formation of the populist right that has now reincorporated the Popular Party councilors to its cabinet. Places like Vilagarcía de Arousa, Narón or Oleiros –with between 35,000 and 40,000 inhabitants, many for the average Galician– are not in the hands of the right either. Nor other municipalities with a high census such as Carballo, Ames, Culleredo, Redondela or Cangas.
In addition to Arteixo –which is home to an important industrial estate and the Inditex headquarters– the popular ones rule in Ribeira (26,428 inhabitants) or Marín (24,242). But the core of its local presence is found in small municipalities and within the districts of Lugo and Ourense. That the current electoral law, approved by Fraga Iribarne in 1993, overrepresents when electing deputies to the Galician Parliament. Regardless of the specific political situation and the state of the opposition parties, this structural reality contributes to explain their difficulties in transferring their municipal results to the autonomous sphere. During the harshest years of the previous crisis, Feijóo threatened to reform the norm, but to reduce the number of seats in the chamber and maintain the over-representation of the eastern provinces. Finally he did not.
Majorities above 50%
The fact is that the voting percentages obtained by the PP of Feijóo pale compared to those of Fraga Iribarne. The current president of the Xunta never approached 50% of the votes. His best mark was reached a year ago now, almost 48%. Fraga surpassed half in 1993, 1997 and 2001. But it is that the PP of Feijóo does not find it easy to repeat its results in the autonomous regions when the call to vote is for Congress.
Still in the general elections of April 2019 the Socialist Party won for the first time in votes, percentage and seats to the PP in Galicia: 32% and 10 parliamentarians compared to 27.4% and 9. In the repetition of November, which gave rise to the current government in Madrid of PSOE and United We Can, the popular recovered and there was a tie at 10 seats. But if the two from Galicia in Common and the BNG are added, the balance clearly falls on the left side. Eight months later, Núñez Feijóo swept the autonomous regions.
With the sole exception of 2011, when the absolute majority of Mariano Rajoy after Zapatero’s first cuts also dragged Galicia – the Galician PP then achieved 52.5% of support -, the results of Feijóo’s party in the generals are still to be found. a lot of distance from those he gets in the Galician. In 2008, 43.8%; in 2015, 37.2%; and in 2016, 41.5%. During that period, the ballot boxes placed to elect the regional representatives gave the PP 46.7% in 2009; 45.7% in 2012; 47.6% in 2016 and 47.96% in 2020.