Publication: Saturday, May 1, 2021 6:30 AM
From “communism or freedom” to “fascism or democracy”. Anyone would say, given these campaign slogans, that what is at stake on May 4 is the future government of the Community of Madrid. Because yes, even if it may not seem like it, next Tuesday the regional elections will be held in a region about which little or almost nothing has been said since the election was called on March 10. Since that day, ever-increasing tension and tension have imposed themselves, plunging the electoral race into a spiral of violence increasingly remote from the reality of Madrid.
In recent weeks, Madrid has been on the lips of all candidates and political leaders, but as a launching weapon, and not as the axis of new management plans and proposals. It must be recognized that the context already predicted that this was not going to be a regular meeting: the health and social crisis derived from the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting polarization exerted strong pressure on a territory that ended by becoming the scene of a different battle than usual; a battle over very different ways of doing things, of governing.
The polls did not help calm the waters either, showing more than corrected results between two well-differentiated blocks at each round. And even less the recurring interventions of the Justice in the face of the violation of the electoral law, the hoaxes and disinformation and even the death threats that many political leaders have received – and on which they have come to trivialize or even delete. false-. Thus, the Community of Madrid has been the victim – and the rest of Spain has witnessed it – of a political free fall full of insults and bad manners.
In their various strategies, the presidential candidates have chosen to limit the exposure of initiatives in the face of the development of well-defined identity profiles that govern their candidacy. Just look at the events that everyone has organized. Ayuso (PP) approved the word “freedom” to extrapolate it to a most bizarre conception, as he suggested when defining this concept in Madrid as the possibility of “changing partners and never seeing her again” , or buy where you want and consume where you want. Also when exercising it, with electoral interventions in institutional acts that the Electoral Council has sanctioned; ideas closer to debauchery than to freedom itself.
Monasterio (Vox), for his part, has become the image of provocation more than any other leader. Because the far-right party candidate has captured most of the campaign’s controversial headlines, criminalizing unaccompanied minors with hoaxes in which she awards them substantial state subsidies, questioning death threats against them. different political leaders – “I always doubt the government and the Spaniards too”, he came to say about the bullet letters – bursting into debates with grievances against the rest of the candidates or organizing rallies in confined communities by the coronavirus.
Monasterio’s positioning conditioned the speeches of his rivals. This is the case of Gabilondo (PSOE), who, although he started this career by referring to the singer Loquillo to present himself as the candidate “bland, serious and formal”, ended up being “unleashed” by the turbulence of a political moment which seems to harm moderation. Proof of this is the canvas he has deployed in the heart of the capital to criticize the possible formation of the so-called “Colon government”. He tried to return to temperance, but could not – or would not – continue on this path. Now he is calling “the people of Madrid to the polls against fascism and the far right” and reaching out to the rest of the left parties to “defend democracy”.
Iglesias calls on “working class neighborhoods to vote” and Edmundo Bal tries to reissue government pact with Ayuso
More than unleashed, Iglesias (United We Can) has been shown to be the “agitator” of the campaign in the strictest definition of the term. Because his passage in Madrid politics after leaving the vice-presidency of the government has already immediately caused an earthquake which he tries to maintain aftershocks up to 4M. The candidate of the purple formation opposed Ayuso’s “communism or freedom” and based his speech on the warning of a radicalization of the PP which “only governs” for the richest areas of the Community. by warning against a possible entry of “fascism”. in government. On the other hand, he conditioned the change of government “to the popular districts which will vote”.
The one who wanted to plead for a moderate role, perhaps in order to distance himself from the PP to scrape the votes, was Edmundo Bal (Citizens). At least that is what he proclaimed when he accused Ayuso of having put an end to the government of the Fellowship. Bal tried to impose himself on the rest as a “ mediator ” between the big fights, raising his voice against the politics of the factions – even if he did not hesitate to bring back positions with the PP – and deploring publicly curse words between rivals. Its strategy: to pose itself as the antithesis of this model, highlighting the Madrid of “concord”. His speech nevertheless places him in a dangerous position. Numbers don’t go with Ciudadanos, and in such an exclusive scenario, a centrist role like the one he claims may end up being his downfall.
And in search of the harmony and empathy of the people of Madrid, Mónica García (Más Madrid) has found her place, which seems to have created an empire based on perseverance. His candidacy could be described as a “surprise” if it were not for the fact that his movements, even if this political mess had not taken place, had a clear objective. García took advantage of Gabilondo’s repeated absences last year to establish himself as the leader and voice of the opposition against Ayuso’s handling in a pandemic. His initial refusal to go along with United We Can produced obvious rejection among his potential electorate, who at times saw the left’s options to win dissolved. He quickly joined the mantra of “fascism or democracy” – he claims to be “the retaining wall of the far right” – and could not be stopped in the polls for days. There are those who are already talking about a possible “sorpasso” at the PSOE.
Proposals and Agreements
Ironically, days before the ballot was called, the campaign started to focus on Madrid’s programs. They must have spent nearly 40 days for this, because it is in the home stretch that the candidates rushed to launch important proposals: the People’s Party and Vox have positioned themselves in favor of a general lowering of taxes with two colliding programs. in the fiscal model with those of the left parties. PSOE and Ciudadanos do not advocate touching them, but Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos do, proposing an increase for large estates and estates.
The purple training also bet on the increase in personal income tax for those who earn more than 60,000 euros per year. The drama caused by COVID-19 also crept into the proposals, as everyone except Vox chose to increase investment in science, although in this batch to allocate more resources, the left includes health and education. And on the educational issue, the popular have sought their space, who want to give parents the freedom to choose their children’s school. Find out more Madrid has also set its sights on families by launching its flagship conciliation plan, consisting of a public babysitting service.
The housing situation also emerges from these elections. Vox, as it did in 2019, introduced into its program a massive land liberalization plan for housing construction. United We Can proposed to regulate the rental price. And the PSOE is looking at young people, to whom it promises to pay the first month’s rent and, in addition, a free transport pass for those under 31 until 2023. Also in Ciudadanos, they appeal to young people, promoting a check for 100 euros to spend on culture, as in France.
Ayuso approaches Vox avoiding the labels; Gabilondo does not clarify possible agreements with Iglesias
Complying with the proposals that everyone presents will not be easy, because for the moment the polls base the formation of the government on the pacts that have been made between the parties, none reaching an absolute majority. This is why Ayuso is already paving the way for a possible pact with Monasterio to add, although he has tried to move away from the far-right label. Edmundo Bal, very critical of the president of Madrid for having blown up the government agreement with the citizens, nevertheless continues with the intention of competing with Vox to reissue the agreement with the popular. Things are not easy on the right and they are not easy on the left.
Iglesias made it clear from the start that only the union of forces with the PSOE and Más Madrid would succeed in ousting Ayuso from the community government. Although the side headed by Mónica García refused to be on a joint roster with United We Can 4M, they have always been in favor of joining forces with the purple side. More reluctant was Gabilondo, who until the debate held in “Telemadrid” did not reach out to Iglesias to expand the possibilities of ending the hegemony of the PP in the Madrid region; by specifying that yes, that the Socialists have not yet reached any agreement with United Podemos before the results of the 4M. What happens after Tuesday will depend in any case on what the people of Madrid say.