When on March 10, PSOE and Cs joined forces to present a motion of censure in the Region of Murcia, little did they imagine that this movement would end, not two months later, in early elections in the Community of Madrid. And even less so that these elections would monopolize the national political debate and would put on the table a debate on the bases of democracy and the danger of fascism. Because This is what the 4-M campaign has become: in a fierce battle between blocs in which, however, the PP has managed to establish itself in the first position predicted by the polls.
The elections could not have been more unexpected. After the announcement of the motion in the Region of Murcia, events precipitated and, just a few hours later, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, announced the dissolution of the Madrid Assembly and the rupture of his Government with Cs. Ayuso argued that the oranges had planned to betray her by imitating their Murcian colleagues and presenting a motion together with the PSOE. And it was of little use that Cs denied it from the first moment and that Socialists and Más Madrid tried to paralyze the elections by presenting, this time, motions to try to prevent the president from dissolving the chamber.
Days later, the courts dismissed the suspension of the elections and kept them scheduled for May 4. And, after such an atypical call, the elections caused the second bombshell in just a few days when The leader of United We Can, Pablo Iglesias, announced that he was leaving the Second Vice Presidency of the Government to appear in front of the purple list. More Madrid responded quickly and reaffirmed itself in competing alone with Mónica García as a candidate. And, after some hesitation, the PSOE kept Ángel Gabilondo number one.
Once all the parties laid their cards on the table, the game began with a clear favorite: Ayuso, who defined the elections as a struggle between “communism or freedom.” To counter this, the left designed campaigns based on trying to mobilize the workers’ vote, traditionally more abstentionist. Y Moncloa decided to invest in the socialist pre-campaign giving a leading role to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
Sánchez turned around … and then retired
With that decision, the pre-campaign weeks and the start of the campaign they became a face to face between Ayuso and Sánchez that raised the 4-M even more to the national level. The candidate Gabilondo himself complained at a rally that the president confronted more with the leader of the PSOE than with him. “You only have one word in your mouth: Sánchez. The virus? Sánchez; Toni Cantó? Sánchez; What can’t solve something particular? Sánchez. Madrid doesn’t owe you three, you owe us one because you can’t live without mentioning Sánchez “, he denounced.
The PSOE, in addition, designed a campaign aimed at capturing a vote in the fishing ground of a Citizens which most of the polls leave out of the Madrid Assembly. That explains, for example, Gabilondo’s announcement that he will not raise taxes if he is president, his recognition that he had kept the hotel business open or the veto of “this” Pablo Iglesias for a possible coalition government.
That strategy, however, soon made its limits clear, and the PSOE was stagnant in the polls while Más Madrid ate ground on the left. Sánchez, omnipresent at the beginning of the pre-campaign, was disappearing, and Gabilondo turned to his left and relaxed, first, the veto to Iglesias – “Pablo, we have 12 days to win the elections”, he raised in the Telemadrid electoral debate – to later forget – “the only thing I have said is that without Ayuso and without Vox “to govern, he said this same Saturday.
Cards with bullets change the pace of the campaign
But this movement and, in general, the entire last week of the campaign have been marked by death threats to various political leaders. First it was the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, and the candidate Pablo Iglesias who received letters accompanied by assault rifle bullets. And, later, new letters addressed to Ayuso, Iglesias – for the second time – or the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, were intercepted.
When these facts were known, Vox questioned the veracity of the threats to Iglesias, which caused him to refuse to share a discussion table with the candidate of the formation, Rocío Monasterio. From there, the axis of the campaign changed and the left resumed the initiative: during the last week, PSOE, Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos They have focused their speeches on “democracy” and on the danger of “fascism”, and they have redoubled their efforts to encourage participation.
However, the latest surveys do not reflect a substantial change in the landscape and the conservative bloc still has the upper hand, according to the surveys. And if the campaign has been read in an obvious national key, the results of 4-M will also have consequences that will cross the Madrid borders and affect the state political board.
Elections in Madrid, consequences for Spain
To begin with, the disappearance of Sánchez in the last days of the campaign will not prevent a defeat of the left at the polls from being interpreted as a blow to the President of the Government, very present in the early stages of the pre-campaign and to which Ayuso has been designated as a true target to beat. Moreover, it would be the first time that the progressive bloc would not make fear of the far right serve as a tool to mobilize its electorate, as it did, for example, in the 2019 general elections.
The reverberations could also be felt on the right, where Ayuso seems to have hit the key to neutralize the flight of voters from the PP to Vox … although it has only been proven as valid in Madrid. But, faced with Genoa’s attempt to approach the Madrid president to capitalize on part of her possible success, Ayuso has firmly vindicated her “own profile” during the campaign. “I have always been an independent and free woman. I introduce myself. The project is headed by me. And the Community of Madrid I have thrown it behind my back, “he pointed out in an interview on April 13.
A few days ago, Ayuso softened those statements by stating that she and Pablo Casado are “the same, the same project, the same party.” And the truth is that the leader of the PP is trying to get benefits from an eventual victory in the Community of Madrid. “May 4 will be a turning point for national politics,” Casado said this Sunday, who affirmed that the elections will open the possibility of “changing” at the national level the “bad Government” of the PSOE and United We can coalition and “defeating” the socialists “at the national level.” There are only a few hours left for that new chess game to start.