It is necessary to go back to 1987 so that the president of the Junta de Castilla y León was not a member of the Popular Party (then Popular Alliance). Castilla y León is one of those fiefdoms that has been in the hands of popular people for decades: specifically, 35 years. In other words, young people and those under 35 have only known governments presided over by the PP, although these two years there has been a coalition government with Ciudadanos.
“35 years old? Wow (sigh). Maybe a change can come in handy for all of us,” says Laura. She is 18 years old, she studies at the University of Valladolid and will vote for the first time on February 13, if she finally decides to participate. This woman from Valladolid feels “a little disappointed” with politics and she is not sure if she will participate in the elections. Pablo (22 years old) believes that if a party continues to come out after so many years it is because people “continue to trust” that party. “I’m not telling you that everything has been good, but most things will be positive. 35 years is enough to do things well,” says this ADE student.
Young people are aware that they are a minority in Castilla y León and that is why many of the messages from political leaders are not focused on them. The community is very old, and they know it: there are more people over 60 years of age than those under 35 -children included-. “You do politics for those you know are going to vote for you: older people. And in the long run they don’t look,” says Carlos, a 29-year-old from Zamora who lives in Madrid.
The elections come at the right time according to whom. Laura believes that the electoral advance called in the middle of the sixth wave of the pandemic implies that the citizens of Castilla y León are not being “thought of”. “You have to think about the people who vote for them. You are not thinking about them when we most need a representative,” she says. Carlos believes that for Mañueco the judicial calendar of the PP has prevailed and it is not a matter of “getting rid” of Ciudadanos. “Furthermore, if Mañueco wins, he would govern for another four years,” she recalls.
Carlos was one of those young people who emigrated to Madrid years ago and does not plan to return in the short term. To return, perhaps to Valladolid, they would have to change their future job prospects, but also their youth life. “My sexual orientation also influences. Without getting to the topic, there are very old values that still persist and the Community is behind in some aspects. And that does not help to stop depopulation”, he explains.
Only one of Carlos’s friends still lives in Zamora, the rest have left in search of a job. “The good thing is that the standard of living there [en Castilla y León es más permisivo. Pero pienso en todos los planes y gente que he conocido… aquí [a Madrid] many people come to look for life, it is not so closed with their groups of friends”, he points out. Carlos is one of the thousands of young people who, although he has lived in Madrid for years, appears in the statistics as a resident of Zamora. He will wait for the February 13 to be able to vote and then you will officially change your place of residence.
Laura believes that the question that citizens should ask themselves now is: “Is the work of these years really well done?” “They have assumed that they are going to win again,” she says.
The political news of Castilla y León is not usually on the lips of many young people either, except for a group of irreducible lovers of politics -and often linked to it-. Most of those interviewed for this article confess that they do not follow the news very much, although they do show a willingness to follow the campaign more or watch the debates between the presidential candidates. “There is very little visibility of what the Board has done in these years. I have the feeling that ordinary people do not get what they do, although these two years we have perhaps had a little more relevance”, explains Jorge (28 years old).
María (30 years old) works in Aranda de Duero (Burgos) and suspends all political parties. “From time to time, change is also good, because you’ve been the same for so long… you’ll always have the same friends. But the alternative doesn’t seem solid to me either,” she lamented. Another María (31 years old), an Early Childhood Education teacher, also supports her namesake: “They represent the schoolyard and it makes me sad. A renovation could be good, but I don’t see a party that is a solution.”
Alberto (23 years old) believes that so many years of government by the same party can cause “somewhat unfair mechanisms”, with contracts that always go to the same companies. “That yes, I prefer that there is no absolute majority of any party. The coalition entails more representation”, assures this student.
Berta is from Ávila and works as a teacher in a town in Zamora. “The fact that the same party has been going on for so many years doesn’t seem normal to me, because we don’t change or evolve. It’s always the same loop: they don’t change their mentality, only people change,” concludes Berta (31 years old).
In favor of coalitions
In 2019, the first coalition government was set up in the Junta de Castilla y León, made up of the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos. These young people value positively that there is an internal debate within the government, something that they have seen despite the fact that they do not follow the day-to-day life of politicians. “There you see the need to argue, to oppose ideas and to justify them. I hope there are no absolute majorities again,” says Jorge. “These two years of coalition have come in handy because of the change that has taken place, although it has not been noticeable much due to the pandemic,” says María, an engineer.
“Governing with a majority is easier, because you do not consult or negotiate. Another thing is that it is the best, because listening to the opinion of others can also often be beneficial,” Laura values. Carlos considers that agreeing to a “better result”, even if it does not coincide with the ideology of the parties. “That there is an internal debate is positive, but a coalition with Vox would look bad,” she rejects, however. “The PP and the PSOE have lagged behind a bit and there are many young people who will vote for Podemos and Vox. Ciudadanos is going to disappear, I think,” Pablo ventures, who does not rule out that the Popular Party is not the first force to the detriment by Vox.
There are many young people who will vote for Podemos and Vox. Citizens will disappear
It is one of the post-election scenarios that could occur, if the polls are fulfilled and Vox manages to agree with the Popular Party. “They put too much pressure on them to get to govern,” fears Berta. Pablo would welcome a PP-Vox coalition, because he considers that Santiago Abascal’s party is “the only one” that “bets” on the primary sector while other parties “don’t even mention it.”
Another of the options that the surveys are considering is the entry of formations linked to España Vaciada such as Soria ¡YA!, something that Jorge considers normal. “We have had very little relevance at the state level and less and less. It is a: ‘we are going to do what the leadership says’, there has not been a ‘Castilla y León first’, there has not been a fight to take what corresponds to us because the vote was in other autonomous communities”, explains Jorge, who refers to the small number of seats distributed by Castilla y León in the general elections: 31 deputies and 36 elected senators.
“It’s ridiculous just to talk about macro farms”
The pre-electoral campaign is focusing on the management of feedlots and macro-farms. A debate that these young people see this debate as positive, but not a priority. “There are measures that can be taken and we must bear in mind that it also gives work. But it is becoming too politicized and there are more important things, such as depopulation,” says the engineer.
“It’s ridiculous just to talk about the macro-farms. We have to have a minimally ethical point of view regardless of the money it generates, but we have more important problems such as depopulation. We have to create an industrial nucleus and that there are the necessary conditions for the return and reception of people. Castilla y León could be much more economically profitable, but I don’t see that it is really promoted,” says Jorge. “There is a debate about macro-farms due to the weight of the primary sector, but there are towns that have problems because they cannot use the water. But it has been magnified to divert attention and not talk about depopulation.”
In short, María (teacher) sees the need for “dialogue” and that all the parties “recognize when something is done well” even if the management is not carried out by the party that is in opposition. Laura, who is called to the polls for the first time, criticizes the management of social networks by some political parties. “Sometimes you say: ‘but how can you post this’. You have to be very careful about the messages. Or when they insult each other … Is this politics or the playground discussion like when I was little?”, She wonders .