Publication: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:00 AM
Sometimes it seemed like the time would not come, due to the campaign’s continued feel for political confrontation. But finally, the day of the autonomous elections of the Community of Madrid has arrived. 55 days later, Madrid voters will go to the polls to choose who they want to take the helm in the last two years of the legislature. The atmosphere is tense and the polls have drawn a very polarized panorama until the last minute, but with a minimal difference between the blocs.
So, in the midst of a pandemic that has changed all expectations, the balance will shift one way or the other depending on the number of citizens who decide to go to the polling stations. A total of 5,112,658 people are called to the polls, who will elect the 136 deputies who will make up the Regional Assembly.
Madrid has fled, more if possible, and the dimension taken by the election of its regional parliament is undeniable: the battle no longer seems to be to govern autonomy, but to see which model to prevail. Political Manichaeism pushed to the end.
It all started in Murcia
It was an ordinary Wednesday when Spain woke up with one political card and suddenly went to bed with another. On March 10, news shook the country: the citizens and the PSOE had agreed to present two motions of censure in Murcia, one at the town hall of the capital and another at the regional level. The numbers, in principle, gave, and both parties would take power from the PP.
But what started as a battle at the Murcian level quickly activated a butterfly effect and continued with an electoral advance in the Community of Madrid and with the leader of United We Can then second vice-president of the government and minister of rights. social workers, Pablo Iglesias. , leaving the executive to lead the lists of his training in Madrid.
Ayuso pressed the button lest Cs pose a defiant move on him as well. The oranges were diluted, the Region of Murcia continued under the power of the PP after an episode of transfuguism and the political battle of the management of the pandemic transformed into marketing.
A national campaign
The campaign seemed harsh: when Iglesias decided to go to the arena in Madrid, it was confirmed what Isabel Díaz Ayuso had been asking for since dealing with the pandemic. The protagonism of Madrid, constant conversation, torrent of information and proclamations. Benefit from a statute of autonomy which decides the will of an entire country.
The president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, appeared fully in the campaign to confront Ayuso, gave it a national dimension and gave the vote of the autonomies the category of a state code election: it seemed that the message that the PSOE was trying to convey was, simply, one with me or against me, like the PP.
And the last hours of an unforgettable campaign – in every way – only crystallized that feeling. After a few weeks marked by extreme polarization, by fiery spirits, by the proliferation of threats and bullets, by bitter verbal and dialectical clashes, the May 4 elections have a certain aftertaste of plebiscite.
Tension and caricature
The tension was palpable from the first minute: it seemed that the holding or not of the elections would be settled by the courts, since the PSOE of Madrid and Más Madrid tried to block them by first presenting motions of censure in extremis in the Madrid Assembly register. For a few minutes, the photo-finish was necessary and the TJSM decided: yes, the people of Madrid would vote.
What is this 4M vote for? The proclamations were many and varied. The six main parties running in these elections have stuffed all their speeches with bombastic terms, scrambled to the point of caricature after the eternal repetition.
For Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP), the question to be resolved is “freedom”. For Ángel Gabilondo (PSOE), “democracy”. For Mónica García (Más Madrid), “what really matters”. Pablo Iglesias (United We Can) calls to fight against “fascism”. For Rocío Monasterio (Vox), they vote to appease the threat of “communism”. Edmundo Bal (Citizens), who appears to be without representation after his party took the vice-presidency in Madrid, defends “centrism”.
What is played in each match
The panorama is very different from the previous Madrid elections. Demoscopic predictions point to an Assembly split into two blocs, almost on the verge of technical equality. The absolute majority is 69 seats and only the agreement between the parties of the same cordon will elevate one of the candidates to the Royal House of Posts, seat of government from Madrid to Puerta del Sol.
The points to be glimpsed will be if Ayuso, finally, realizes his desire and obtains the absolute majority. The PSOE will try to retain as many voters as possible after turning more to the center, and will seek to ensure that Más Madrid does not give the bell and overtake them or get too close to them. Fair and enough to be able to form a left bloc and wrest the presidency from the PP.
Unidos Podemos and Vox will predictably close the number of parliamentary groups. Its fight is waged in other words: to obtain enough influence to condition the outgoing government and to print its policies on the agreements.
A pandemic election
These are not the first regional elections held in our country since COVID-19 entered our lives. But they will be slightly different from what we experienced with the Catalans last February, for example.
The planned safety device is extended. There will be 1,200 local agents, 4,500 national police officers and 2,200 civil guards to ensure the smooth running of the elections. Tailor-made strictly hygienic, surgical masks will be distributed at the entrance to the polling stations, hydroalcoholic gel and gloves.
The instructions are clear. When entering the polling station, some marks will be visible on the ground that will indicate the route to maintain the safety distance between people and various security agents will be established in charge of controlling their capacity.
The COVID team of managers will be made up of 3,000 people, spread over nearly 1,100 polling centers. Over 55,000 liters of hydroalcoholic gel, 5 million masks, 2 million gloves, 45,000 face shields and 9,100 liters of liquid disinfectant for surfaces and over 250,000 meters of marking tape will be provided.