Galicia and the Basque country held their regional elections today, and it appears the coronavirus and general fascist lockdown of the country has forced the northerners back to their political roots. The traditional parties have been reinforced, and the recent interlopers forced out to the political wilderness.
In Galicia, Feijóo (PP) has won his fourth consecutive victory, improving his 2016 win by increasing his MP’s by another 2. It is generally agreed that his moderate voice in national politics over the last few months -in contrast to the hysteria of his boss, national PP leader Casado- has won over the punters who have decided to back him for another term. Electoral turnout, despite local lockdowns, was similar to the last elections.
But voters returned en masse to the nationalist parties, abandoning Podemos and Cuidananos, neither of whom got a single seat in Galicia. Instead, the nationalist BNG shot up from 6 to 19 MP’s. The PSOE stayed exactly the same, on 14 seats. Feijóo got a historic high of 48.17% of the vote, his highest ever.
Podemos and Cuidadanos lost 16 MP’s between them and neither has a single representative in the regional parliament. Coletas (Iglesias, the Podemos leader) was quick to show an auto-critic on TV, promising in between tears to learn “from this harsh electoral lesson”. No mention of quitting because of his awful performance, or of firing anyone.
In the País Vasco…
The lowest ever turnout for an election, blamed on holidays and coronavirus scares.
The PNV won 31 seats, three more than last time; EH Bildu, despite the fiddling of the national government, stayed exactly the same on 22 seats – however, their share of the popular vote shot up. The PSE-EE (the PSOE lot up there) won one more and went to 10 seats. PP+C’s, a new coalition, only won 5 seats, down from the 9 that the PP alone won last time. Vox won one.
Santiago Abascal from Vox has just been on TV, complaining that if it weren’t for the “lack of democracy that prevented people from casting their free vote” his lot would have won more.
The coronavirus scare has sent voters back to their traditional parties, scaring them away from new experiments. The strongmen of the northern mountains have reinforced their seats, and this will encourage the traditional barons of the south to present themselves as strong, independent leaders in order to cow the peasant and force votes to return to their own parties.
I expect the conclusion to add steam to Arrimadas (C’s) strategy of being the middle party, and the results are unlikely to stop Casado from moving the PP to the right to steal votes from Vox. We may well see a situation in the next few years where the PP are the extreme and C’s are the centre party for the southern states. Time will tell….