Friday, September 22

The threat of a republican referendum takes out the ballot box in the Barrio de Salamanca despite the PP’s veto threats

Under the awning of the booth, while a couple from the national police asked a colleague for explanations, Ana Sastre, 27, called on passers-by to fill out the ballot and put it in the ballot box: it was about deciding whether Spain should continue to be a monarchy or opt for a republic. A symbolic and non-binding act, as the organizers had repeated, the Platform for the Monarchy or Republic State Popular Consultation, linked to Podemos, IU, Anticapitalistas and other parties of the non-institutional left, in addition to some neighborhood associations. After the first quarter of an hour, a dozen people would have voted at this electoral point, in front of the Príncipe Pío station. “In this neighborhood there is little movement,” noted Sastre. Her partner then turned on the loudspeaker, through which the Risk anthem began to sound, followed by ‘Ay, Carmela’.

Always attentive to attempts to undermine the foundations of the parliamentary monarchy, the Madrid PP had spoken out strongly against the initiative, which Vox also rejected. The popular spokesman in the Madrid Assembly, Alfonso Serrano, already warned on Thursday: “Where the PP governs, this type of action is not going to take place.” Serrano was wrong. The Principe Pío police officers were satisfied with the explanations of the organizers, who had met the administrative notice deadlines, and left. Not many people came by the booth either. “The king stole, right?” Indicated one, talkative, explaining his decision, accompanied by another who did not quite understand the voting issue. At the table, masks with republican motifs were sold (the original price, from 8 euros, had dropped to five) and candies with the United Left logo were given away.

The 32 polling stations distributed throughout the city were not evenly distributed. In Villaverde there were five, but in Chamberí only two, for example. One of them in Cuatro Caminos, where militant veterans had set up shop with some misgivings about what they might find, given that the district is not particularly leftist. The fears were unfounded. “In this street [Raimundo Fernández Villaverde] there are many military houses, but we have not noticed aggressiveness or provocations”, explained Cristina Escribano, unofficial spokesperson. In Chamberí there were doubts about whether the District Board would authorize the activity, because the conflicts with the delegate councilor, Javier Ramírez, are constant, but the permit ended up arriving the day before, in the afternoon. In the first 40 minutes, 32 ballots were deposited. The WhatsApp chat of the volunteers was fuming: in Antón Martín reinforcements were requested. “Perhaps for the holidays”, they ventured in Cuatro Caminos.

The Manuel Becerra roundabout, in the Barrio de Salamanca, could be considered Comanche territory for the Republicans, but the booth was installed there this morning, also without incident. “Right here they usually put those of Vox”, presumed one of those present, who was already venturing a calculation of results, with recognition of the monarchical option. “You have to have the courage to come and vote, but I think that 10% [sí votaron monarquía]. The demoscopic analysis came from the fact that the voters marked the box on the ballot without an envelope, at the table itself, and everything could be seen. Those who arrived were asked to indicate their ID and age range, for statistics. From the electoral table they reported the only minimally conflictive event of the morning, that of a man who approached, identified himself as a State attorney and warned that without asking for the DNI that would not have any recognition. The woman telling it gave a raspberry at the memory.

A middle-aged couple, she wearing a blue spring dress and a bag from El Corte Inglés; he with a mask with the logo of the City Council of Boadilla del Monte, also approached. They voted Republic, against superficial analyzes of the relationship between clothing and ideology. “Hopefully it will be of some use,” she said. Three specimens of prickly pear, a species in danger of extinction but that resists in certain habitats in the capital, emerged from the subway entrance, but passed by the booth. The result of the consultation was sung, but the plan was to announce it after the count, after 8:00 p.m.