Wednesday, July 6

The PSOE receives its worst defeat in its historic feud a year and a half before the general

No one in the PSOE had warned of such a blow in Andalusia: the PP takes the absolute majority in its traditional fiefdom. Moncloa and Ferraz had prepared the ground for the failure with which they had assumed to stay another four years in the opposition, but they had prepared a strategy for the next electoral cycle (with the municipal and regional elections in May 2023 and the general ones at the end of that year): placing Alberto Núñez Feijóo in extremism for endorsing a pact with Vox, which the Socialists took for granted in the Andalusian Government. Now that tactic is being dismantled and concern is taking over the Socialists, who are waiting for a reaction from Pedro Sánchez so that the accumulation of defeats (in Madrid, Castilla y León and now Andalusia) does not culminate in a change of cycle in the coming months.

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The once all-powerful federation of the PSOE worsens its result again and signs a new electoral floor in a historic fiasco for the Andalusian socialists. “It’s a blow,” Ferraz sources admit. Sánchez’s management already started from low expectations and had set itself the goal of not worsening the result of Susana Díaz in 2018, but Juan Espadas has left more than three points, which represent three seats (down from 33 to 30) and more than 130,000 votes. The PP wins comfortably in all the provinces, and is far ahead of the PSOE in its traditional strongholds: it had never lost in Seville and Jaén – a province in which it had tied at most for the number of seats. The electoral disaster even reached Dos Hermanas, a talisman in Sánchez’s career, where the PSOE had not lost since the municipal elections of 1979. Only in 2012 did the PP manage to beat the PSOE in Andalusia, but an agreement with the IU allowed the Socialists to keep the power.




The PSOE, which came to exceed 50% of the votes in Andalusia in 1982, is now almost twenty points behind the PP, which obtained its best historical result. “They will have to do a critical analysis,” said the Asturian president, Adrián Barbón, on TVE about the result of the Andalusian socialists, who have been losing votes in each election to the Andalusian Parliament since Manuel Chaves recovered electorally in 2004. Since then, the percentage of the vote has been reduced by half. The socialists are also aware that they need Catalonia and Andalusia to govern Spain.

The PP, on the other hand, achieves its best record, which exceeds what Senator Javier Arenas achieved in 2012. So, the right reached 50 deputies, but the sum of PSOE and IU allowed the left to retain the Executive with a coalition government that ended less than three years later with an early election in 2015 before the emergence of Podemos a year earlier.

The speed that Spanish politics has reached reveals a revealing fact. In 2018, Juan Manuel Moreno obtained the second worst result of the PP in history, only surpassed by that of 1982. Even so, he was able to govern in coalition with Ciudadanos and thanks to the support of Vox. In just four years, the PP has eaten its allies, made the extreme right irrelevant and plunged the left into defeat.




Ferraz tries to disassociate Sánchez’s defeat

At the PSOE headquarters they attribute the catastrophe to different causes, although they try to disassociate it from Pedro Sánchez and the work carried out from Moncloa. “They are autonomous,” they pointed out at the socialist headquarters as soon as the count began after the first polls that pointed to Moreno’s absolute majority and that ministers and prominent leaders received with disbelief. The truth is that the Andalusian president will revalidate his mandate, but this time alone, destroying the strategy that Sánchez had prepared to place Alberto Núñez Feijóo tied hand and foot to Vox. In the socialist ranks they always took for granted that the only possibility for the PP to maintain the Board was thanks to the extreme right.

“Feijóo has to decide if he wins like Ayuso imitating Vox or like Moreno in the center,” Socialist sources pointed out as a first reading of the results. This Monday the Executive of the PSOE, chaired by Sánchez, meets. What they digest in the party leadership is that the strategy of fear of Vox that they have used in recent contests no longer works. “People have normalized them, perhaps they have to have them longer in governments,” those same sources point out. However, for now the extreme right is only part of the government of Castilla y León.

In Moncloa, however, they trust the comeback for the next electoral cycle to the improvement of the economic situation. “What the generals mark are the municipal and regional ones”, they express in Ferraz, where they hope to appease the concern that may arise in the socialist federations due to the fear of a generalized defeat within a year. “All the regional presidents are consolidated and that also happens in the municipalities”, they try to reassure the party. Thus, they argue that “people increasingly discriminate against voting.”

In the socialist leadership they also strive to limit the defeat to the Andalusian key. Thus, they attribute the blow to the wear and tear that the PSOE-A accumulates for the 37 uninterrupted years of power, the time it was immersed in internal affairs without opposing the last pieces of Susana Díaz or the ignorance of the candidate, Juan Espadas. In addition, he recognizes that the PP no longer scares Andalusians and that Moreno has managed to bring together part of the centrist electorate that at other times even voted socialist to prevent Vox from entering the Board, which was the call of the Andalusian president in the final stretch of the campaign.

And those have been the main messages from both Espadas and the deputy secretary general, Adriana Lastra, after the results were known. “All my thanks to my colleague Juan Espadas for the effort he has made in the elections planned and called against him,” she said. number two de Sánchez, who has accused Moreno of having “searched for elections with little mobilization and low participation.” “They are the last stop on a road designed by the previous leadership of the PP and executed by Feijóo”, he pointed out in a statement without questions from journalists in which he tried to downplay the defeat by recalling that the PP continues to govern in the same three communities in which it did so before advancing the elections and that, in any case, has “changed allies”, as happened in Castilla y León with Ciudadanos and Vox. Lastra has also pointed out that the victories come after the disbursement of “huge” resources by the Government to overcome the pandemic crisis.

The PP asks Sánchez for a “reflection”

At the national headquarters of the PP, the afternoon began with contained joy that became exultant as the result progressed. With close to 50% of the vote counted and the landslide victory tied, in Genoa the chains with which they control the management of expectations were allowed to loosen a bit: “It is an absolute in Andalusia!”

The historic result in Andalusia allowed Feijóo’s PP to begin its siege of Sánchez from this Sunday, which he pointed out from the headquarters’ press room. “I should reflect,” said the secretary general, Cuca Gamarra. “His government model is more and more exhausted every day. This result is antagonistic to a weak government that seeks alliances without caring about the needs of Spaniards in their day to day”, she added.

“The Spaniards want something different” from the coalition government, Gamarra has argued. The “national reading” that they make in the Feijóo PP is that “stable governments with a sufficient majority are needed to be centered on the citizens.” “We opt for a different way of doing politics, for rigor, management, moderation and for adding”, he has settled.



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