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Madrid elections heavily marked by effects of Covid on politics

Madrid elections heavily marked by effects of Covid on politics

Right-wing parties increase their representation in the regional assembly

The results from the hotly contested Madrid regional elections on 4 May are in and they show that the right-wing political parties, and especially the Popular Party (PP), have made significant gains and are likely set to continue governing there. The new regional assembly itself has also grown in size, counting with 4 additional seats due to the demographic increase in recent years.

The current President of the region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP), ran her campaign under the slogan of ‘Freedom’, seeking to paint the anti-pandemic restrictive measures of the central government as constrictive and suffocating for the economy and entrepreneurial spirit. In a way, that meant that the regional elections were a test of the confidence in Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’ Socialist government.

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos resigned from politics

In terms of numbers, the Popular Party won 65 seats, which sets it only 4 short of a majority. That means that it will likely need to seek support from the far-right Vox party, which won 13 seats in the regional parliament.

The results show a definite demonstration of support for Díaz Ayuso, whose party doubled its representation when compared to the previous regional elections. The regional President had faced a lot of criticism for keeping bars, restaurants and shops open during the height of the pandemic. This has led to an ever-increasing clash on the economy versus public health safety debate and an election campaign, which featured death threats against the major running figures from the political parties.

The electoral participation was high, with nearly 70% of voters turning up at the ballot boxes. The residents, however, supported and appreciated the policies of the regional government, which aimed to protect local businesses – as a clear sign of fatigue from pandemic restrictions.

The main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE) won only 24 seats, down from 37 in the previous assembly. And in a further blow to the leftists, the leader of the anti-austerity Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (who had resigned from his national Deputy PM post to run against Díaz Ayuso) announced that he was retiring from politics despite making slight gains in Madrid, receiving 10 seats.

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