PP supporters celebrate outside their party's Madrid HQ on Sunday. AFP
Spain swings to the right with PP party claiming local elections victory

Spain swings to the right with PP party claiming local elections victory

There was a drop in support for Cuidadanos and Podemos, political newcomers in the last 15 years, but a rise for Vox



Friday, 2 June 2023, 11:11


Voters turned their backs on the Socialist party and other left-of-centre parties across much of Spain in last Sunday's municipal elections. With almost all the results of the over 8,000 councils counted by midnight on voting day, it was clear it had been an even better night than expected for the right-of-centre Partido Popular (PP) and far-right Vox.

Adding up the results from all town halls, the PP won 31.5% of the national vote, up from 22.6% at the last local elections in 2019. The Socialist PSOE got 28.1%, down from 29.3% last time. In third place came Vox on 7.2%, up from 3.6% in 2019.

Bad news for Ciudadanos

One of the biggest stories of the night was the collapse in the vote of the Ciudadanos party, which fell from 8.3% to 1.4%. Much of their support went back to the PP, observers said.

There was bad news too for another newcomer party on the political scene in the last 15 years, Podemos, which dropped votes in most areas. It failed to get a single member on Madrid city council or in the Madrid regional assembly, in a city which had been held up at one time as a bastion of its support.

The surge in the vote for the right gave rise to similar headlines across Spain. In Andalucía, one seen as a stronghold of the Socialist PSOE, the conservative PP took the town halls in seven of the main cities in each of the eight provinces in the region, including highly prized Seville, the regional capital.

In Madrid, the PP secured an overall majority on the city council and Valencia city saw the PP emerge as the biggest party.

Despite the PP's success, in many town halls the party will need to consider pacts with Vox in order to govern.

As usual, local election results in more nationalist-minded regions followed different patterns, especially in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

In Barcelona city, the ruling left-wing mayor lost out to the more right-wing pro-independence candidate, although the vote was as usual heavily split between several parties in Spain's second city.

Over in the Basque region, the big news was the rise of left-wing party EH Bildu, viewed by the right as political heirs to the defunct ETA terrorist group. Voters in the region replied to that criticism from the rest of Spain by increasing EH Bildu's share of the municipal vote at the expense of the PNV, the long-standing, more conservative Basque nationalist party.

New mayor's have to be sworn in across Spain on 17 June.


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