The Community of Madrid will celebrate tomorrow the third election day in Spain since the pandemic was declared, back in March of last year. On the two previous occasions, the Galicians and Basques of July 2020 and the Catalans of last February, the elections were preceded by a heated debate about the advisability of going to the polls with the virus lurking. But in Madrid, despite the fact that the accumulated incidence is worse today than in those communities on the date of their elections, there has hardly been any discussion.

The region has, with data from last Friday, a 14-day cumulative incidence of 384.73, the second worst in Spain. In comparison, in Catalonia, the February 14 elections were held with a cumulative incidence over 14 days of 325.45 (data from February 15, one day after the elections).

And in Galicia and Euskadi, last July there was an incidence of just 8.96 and 7.79, respectively, after months of harsh confinement. However, it is also true that 27.6% of the Madrid population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Galicia and the Basque Country, the elections were initially called for April 5. But, with the country plunged into total confinement, all parties agreed to park them until July. That April 5, when the elections should have been held, the accumulated incidence at 14 days was 183.11 cases in Galicia and 289.9 in the Basque Country, although it is true that, during those first months of the pandemic , the detection capacity of the health authorities was significantly lower than the current one.

In July, even with an almost testimonial cumulative incidence, lGalician and Basque elections They were controversial because the precautions that were taken even went so far as to leave citizens without voting in person. The governments of both communities prohibited anyone suffering from Covid-19 from going to the polling stations, which affected 259 people in Galicia and about 200 in the Basque Country.

In Catalonia, on the contrary, The Electoral Board gave its approval so that the infected and quarantined could vote on February 14 arguing that he could not prohibit a fundamental right.

But before that, the Generalitat tried to delay the elections, although the complaint of four extra-parliamentary formations and an individual led the courts to have to intervene and, days later, to annul the decree. The judges argued that postponing the elections without a new clear date would lead to a “prolonged period of provisionality” at a time of “institutional precariousness” in Catalonia, which did not have a president with full powers after the disqualification of Quim Torra.

The differences with the Community of Madrid are evidents, given that, to begin with, the region still had two years ahead of its legislature and the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso was not in office when it called for elections. Once it was determined that the convocation was valid, neither the regional government nor the opposition have considered that the epidemiological situation could prevent the holding of the elections, despite the fact that 106 of the 179 municipalities in Madrid –including the capital– are at extreme risk.

The Madrid Executive has not tried to restrict the possibility that citizens with symptoms or infected with Covid can go to their electoral college, and has limited itself to recommending “symptomatic or with active disease” to vote between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. . It has also been established a recommended schedule for seniors 65 years old (from 10:00 to 12:00) and bottles of hydroalcoholic gel have been distributed for the tables and gloves, masks and screens for those who integrate them. On the contrary, individual protection equipment (PPE) will not be distributed to the members of the polling stations, as was done in Catalonia.

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