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  Spanish elections and politics II (Local and Regional Elections on May 26, 2019) (search mode)
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Author Topic: Spanish elections and politics II (Local and Regional Elections on May 26, 2019)  (Read 23738 times)
Velasco
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« on: February 12, 2019, 12:39:48 pm »
« edited: May 04, 2019, 03:19:06 am by Velasco »

The trial of the Catalan separatist leaders began today and tomorrow the budget plan of the Pedro Sánchez government is likely to be rejected. Recently the talks between central government and the Catalan administration were broken and the right wing parties called a mass rally in Madrid in the wake of a political storm. These events mark the end of the legislative period. Rumours point to general elections in April (either 14 or 28) and the May 26 'Super Sunday' is still a possibility.

The old Spanish elections and politics thread has reached 93 pages and I think it's time to start a new one.

El País: "Impassioned opening arguments at Catalan separatists’ trial in Madrid"

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/12/inenglish/1549985125_369586.html

Quote
The trial of Catalan separatist leaders that began on Tuesday morning is unlike any other seen at Spain’s Supreme Court. Never has so much international attention been drawn to a Spanish court case, nor has so much been at stake at the national level (...)

On day one of the highly anticipated trial, the focus was much more on images than on arguments: Catalan premier Quim Torra walking into the courtroom wearing a yellow ribbon – the symbol of the pro-independence movement – on his lapel; the relatives waiting around in the hallways; and above all, the nine defendants who have been in pretrial custody since late 2017 sitting together inside the room, near the panel of seven justices who will try them (...)

TV3/Catalunya Radio: "The keys of the Catalan independence trial" (link provided by tack 50)

https://www.ccma.cat/324/keys-catalan-independence-trial/
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Velasco
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 12:51:03 pm »

I'll repost a couple of general election maps. They show results by province (Congress of Deputies) with circles representing the most populous municipalities

2015 general election

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2016 general election

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Velasco
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 06:14:42 am »

The government is headed for defeat in Congress over 2019 budget

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/13/inenglish/1550045962_704191.html

Quote
The government of Pedro Sánchez has resigned itself to the fact that its 2019 budget has scant chance of being approved in Congress, a situation that will most likely lead to the Socialist Party (PSOE) prime minister having to call a snap election. During an eight-hour debate in Congress on Tuesday, one that continued on Wednesday morning, the government made a last-bid attempt to convince other parties to back the plan, but the opposition of pro-Catalan independence parties is likely to lead to defeat (...)

In Congress yesterday, the Spanish finance minister, María Jesús Montero, defended the budget plan on strictly social-economic terms, arguing that they include more investment for the northeastern region of Catalonia, and an improvement in the quality of life of citizens in general. If the pro-independence parties reject the 2019 public accounts, she warned, they would damage “Catalans in particular, and all Spaniards in general.”

The finance minister performed well yesterday against the right wing opposition and the Catalan separatists. Talking in socio-economic terms, the budget includes a rise in the minimum wage to 900 Euros and more investment in Catalonia (the region has a deficit in transport infrastructure, among other things). Also, strategic reasons would have made advisable that Catalan nationalists support the budget plan. However, they are at odds with strategy.

The trial left a meaningful picture showing the division within the independence movement.
Img


Catalan premier Quim Torra greets the defendants. Most of them turn their heads, except ERC leader Oriol Junqueras and former regional ministers Santi Vila (formerly PDeCAT) and Carles Mundó (ERC). The expression of Junqueras (down right in the picture) and Vila (in front of the woman in red) is very eloquent.

The political debate is totally focused in Catalonia. The national and the international context favour the Triple Alliance.

Celeste-Tel poll for eldiario.es

https://www.eldiario.es/politica/constante-Vox-mantiene-derechas-opciones_0_867213569.html

PSOE 23.7%
PP 23.1%
Cs 19.2%
UP and allies 15.8%
VOX 8.9%
ERC 2.8%
PDeCAT 1.7%
EAJ-PNV 1.2%

Correlation similar to Andalusia. Right wing majority (PP, Cs and VOX). I'd bet that VOX is a couple of percentage points higher at the expense of PP.
 

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Velasco
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 07:01:49 am »
« Edited: February 13, 2019, 07:05:42 am by Velasco »

 So no plans to consolidate the vote with European elections in May?

That might be the target after all if Rivera finds his marbles and blocks the tripartite Right coalition.

On that subject, how do C's maintain their Catalan electorate in particular if they ally with Vox. Loads of them are ex-PSOE and/or from immigrant background. It makes little sense.

This question has no easy answer, because vote dynamics in Catalonia are extremely complex. The electoral behaviour of the non-nationalist half of Catalonia is particularly volatile. The Catalan electorate votes in different ways, depending on the type of election. Cs performed very strongly in the 2015 and 2017 regional elections, getting 17.9% and 25.3% of the vote (second and first place, respectively). However, the Cs performance in the 2015 and 2016 general elections was somewhat disappointing: 13% in 2015 (5th place) and 10.9% in 2016 (6th). The leading coalition in both general elections was En Comú Podem. Most of the ECP support came from the metropolitan strongholds traditionally voting for the socialists, but it's very likely that ECP caught some nationalist vote as well. Most of the Cs support in regional elections came from the same metropolitan municipalities, as well it caught many PP voters (Cs performance in some affluent neighbourhoods in Barcelona was quite impressive). On the other hand, the VOX rise might hurt Cs to some extent. Catalonia is not the best place for VOX on paper, but I heard there are some polls saying that VOX might step into the city hall winning some councilors in Barcelona...
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Velasco
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 04:10:49 pm »

Everybody is saying that elections will be on April 28.

Pedro Sánchez will make an announcement tomorrow morning (10:00 CET)
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Velasco
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 05:02:14 pm »

I assume the argument for April 28 elections vs in May is to force C to show its hand.  If C ends up backing a government in alliance with VOX that could drive some C-PSOE marginal voters to swing over to PSOE.  To have the the elections the same time as EU and local elections will not give PSOE this possible advantage in local elections.

A Cs spokesman has said already that deals with Pedro Sánchez are not on the table.  Oranges claim that Sánchez is a radical who has betrayed the country. It's the same mantra of Casado: Sánchez is sold to populists, separatists and friends of ETA. It's a complete nonsense, but right wing voters buy this message. Moderate and centrist voters could be different. It's clear that PP, Cs and VOX will arrange a government deal if they have the numbers. The socialists will try to exploit the picture of Casado (PP),  Rivera (Cs) and Abascal (VOX) together in the Colón square past Sunday. That's what I call the (reactionary) Triple Alliance. Once the government broke talks with separatists, socialists hope to mobilize voters contrary or reluctant over talks policy as well as moderate voters fearful of the VOX radicalism.

Anyway I think it's not going to be easy to mobilize left wing voters, on the fear of the Triple Alliance, and reverse the right wing drive. The electoral behaviour of left wing voters is different from the right wing ones. They need some illusion and a strong motivation to turn out in great numbers, while the right eing voters are more practical (their aim is to preserve the status quo). Right now average polling is PSOE 24%, PP 21%, Cs 18%, UP 15%, VOX 11%
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Velasco
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2019, 06:02:45 am »
« Edited: February 15, 2019, 01:20:47 pm by Velasco »

I assume the argument for April 28 elections vs in May is to force C to show its hand.  If C ends up backing a government in alliance with VOX that could drive some C-PSOE marginal voters to swing over to PSOE.  To have the the elections the same time as EU and local elections will not give PSOE this possible advantage in local elections.

A Cs spokesman has said already that deals with Pedro Sánchez are not on the table.  Oranges claim that Sánchez is a radical who has betrayed the country. It's the same mantra of Casado: Sánchez is sold to populists, separatists and friends of ETA. It's a complete nonsense, but right wing voters buy this message. Moderate and centrist voters could be different. It's clear that PP, Cs and VOX will arrange a government deal if they have the numbers. The socialists will try to exploit the picture of Casado (PP),  Rivera (Cs) and Abascal (VOX) together in the Colón square past Sunday. That's what I call the (reactionary) Triple Alliance. Once the government broke talks with separatists, socialists hope to mobilize voters contrary or reluctant over talks policy as well as moderate voters fearful of the VOX radicalism.

Anyway I think it's not going to be easy to mobilize left wing voters, on the fear of the Triple Alliance, and reverse the right wing drive. The electoral behaviour of left wing voters is different from the right wing ones. They need some illusion and a strong motivation to turn out in great numbers, while the right eing voters are more practical (their aim is to preserve the status quo). Right now average polling is PSOE 24%, PP 21%, Cs 18%, UP 15%, VOX 11%

That's politiking: C's realize that VOX is a danger to the third leg of the weird coalition of Macron-style Liberals, Classical Liberals, and Hard-Right Nationalists. I suspect they might be singing a different tune if C's and PSOE have the numbers (they don't right now) and Sanchez offers a big compromise to C's like Article 155.

Cs secretary general José Manuel Villegas was crystal clear yesterday: they won't make deals with the PSOE until Pedro Sánchez is replaced in leadership. Also, the visions of PSOE and Cs on the Catalan crisis are radically opposed: PSOE favours dialogue without concessions on self-determination, Cs seeks the implementation of a "harsh 155" in total coincidence with the PP (VOX would send the tanks too, I suspect). It's true that certain socialist 'barons' (regional leaders) have more coincidences with Cs and PP on Catalonia (recently there was a proclamation in the Extremadura regional assembly), but they are not all the PSOE and the leader is Sánchez.  Additionally the tone of Albert Rivera has been very harsh with Pedro Sánchez since the no confidence motion. I suspect there is some personal hatred. Rivera is very ambitious (Sánchez too) and possibly he saw himself as the saviour of Spain after replacing Mariano Rajoy as PM. The bold move of Pedro Sánchez in late May disrupted his dreams of glory. On the other hand, Rivera is not Macron.
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Velasco
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2019, 04:17:27 pm »

Pedro Sánchez calls snap election for April 28

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/15/inenglish/1550218263_541173.html

Quote
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Friday announced a snap general election for April 28. It will be the third general election In Spain in four years. Spaniards were not due to be called to the polls again until 2020.

The decision rules out the possibility of a so-called “Super Sunday” on May 26, the day that local, regional and European elections will take place.In a speech that began at 10am following a Cabinet meeting, the Socialist Party (PSOE) leader listed his government’s achievements in these last eight-and-a-half months, including job creation and initiatives on environmental and social issues. He also warned against making choices that could lead to greater confrontation in an increasingly polarized country.

“Spain does not deserve to get stuck because of partisan interests,” said Sánchez. “Spain belongs to its citizens. It is they who must decide whether to take a step backward. We defend a country where there is room for everyone.”

ERC leader and former deputy premier Oriol Junqueras claims to be a political prisoner

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/14/inenglish/1550154512_860484.html

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Junqueras, who is facing charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds that could entail 25 years in prison, only took questions from his defense attorney, Andreu Van den Eynde, and used his statements to craft a narrative that portrayed his own case as politically motivated.

Oriol Junqueras procalimed his love for Spain and for the Spanish peoples and culture. He also stated to be happy to speak in Spanish in the trial, because it gave him the opportunity to be heard by all Spaniards. Defendants were given the possibility to speak in Catalan, although there is no simultaneous translation and testimonies would be translated afterwards.

A key factor in the trial is to determine wether violence was employed or encouraged by independence leaders, because violence is an essential requirement to be found guilty of rebellion. The maximum penalty for rebellion is 25 years, much higher than the penalty for disobedience.

Quote
Only some of the defense lawyer’s last questions clearly alluded to what prosecutors describe as the “violent events” of September 20, 2017, when a crowd congregated outside the Catalan department of economic affairs while the authorities carried out a search inside for referendum material. Civil Guard patrol cars were vandalized and officers were trapped inside the building. The prosecution also considers there to have been acts of violence against police officers on October 1. Junqueras countered by saying it was the police who used violence against voters.

Joaquim Forn took the stand afterwards. Forn was the member of the Catalan government in charge of regional police (the equivalent of the Interior minister). He took questions from the public prosecutor and provided documentation showing the orders he gave to the Mossos de Esquadra (regional police) on October 1, 2017 (the date of the informal referendum). I'd say this strategy of defence was more effective than the previous political speech of Junqueras. The presiding judge Manuel Marchena rebuked th prosecutor's insistence to repeat the same questions to Joaquim Forn, in order to get the desired answer. Furthermore, judge Marchena didn't allow the Vox lawyers who reoresent the private prosecution to make their questions, once the defendants refused to take them. Marchena is regarded as a conservative leaning judge, as well as a smart one. Marchena is showing very scrupulous with procedural guarantees, because he is fully aware this trial is getting a lot of attention worldwide. Also, the defences have stated the will appeal before the Strasbourg Court in case their defendants are not acquitted of all charges. It is very important for the court to ensure the due process guarantees.

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Velasco
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2019, 04:49:17 pm »

Worth noting that today 3 "new" parties announced their intention to run alone and not in coalitions:

-New Canaries (NCa). A centre-left Canarian nationalist party. Strong in the eastern province of Las Palmas but weak in the western province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. They contested the 2016 election alongside PSOE and got 1 senator and 1 MP. While that Senator is pretty much gone, they should be able to hold their MP, but it will be close.

-Regionalist Party of Cantabria (PRC): A centrist, progressive and somewhat populist Cantabria regionalist party, led by Premier Miguel Ángel Revilla. They rarely contest national elections but apparently this time they will. They should be able to easily get 1 seat, but nothing else.

-Actúa:
: An IU splinter mostly; led by former IU leader Gaspar Llamazares and former judge Baltasar Garzón. Unlike the other 2, this one seems unlikely to get any seats but we shall see.

All 3 are very good parties in my (biased) opinion, but we shall see.

Sorry, but I don't think that New Canaries or the Cantabria regionalists have many chances of winning seats. These parties perform much better in regional elections.

PRC ran unsuccessfully in the 2011 general elections, getting 12.5% (around 44k votes). That time the Cantabria Regionalist Party came close, but this time there is a lot of competence. PP, PSOE, Cs, Podemos and Vox will be running too and the province only has 5 seats.

The results of NC in Las Palmas province, either running in its own or in a joint list with the Canary Coalition (CC), have been rather poor in previous elections. NC (in coalition with CCN) got 7.5% in 2008 and no seats, while the NC-CC-PNC joint list got 11.3% in 2011 and 1 seat. Unless NC runs with CC again, the chances are slim because regionalist vote will be splitted.

I concur the electoral chances of Actúa are virtually zero. The party of Gaspar Llamazares and Baltasar Garzón was rejected by Más Madrid at regional level. The platform led by Íñigo Errejón seeks to ally with Podemos, IU and Equo. Llamazares has been always hostile to Podemos and he is a figure of the past, with little electoral appeal outside his Asturias home turf.
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Velasco
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2019, 05:43:30 am »
« Edited: February 16, 2019, 08:52:58 am by Velasco »

Despite the great fragmentation of the electoral space, Spain faces the next election confronted to a binary choice: the Left or the Triple Alliance. The crisis in Podemos and the breaking of the alliance with the Catalan nationalists have weakened the block led by Pedro Sánchez, despite the PSOE is leading in the polls. On the opposite side, the triple alliance (PP, Cs and VOX) has many chances of winning a majority according to the polls. Cs leader Albert Rivera rejects categorically an alliance with Pedro Sánchez (he says the PSOE is not constitutionalist, while remains in silence when asked about Vox) and deliberately opts for the right wing alliance that governs in Andalusia with the support of the far right. Pedro Sánchez started campaigning yesterday placing himself in front of the right wing alliance of Colón Square. In the picture below you can spot Santiago Abascal (Vox), Pablo Casado (PP) and Albert Rivera (Cs)

Img
 

NYT: "Yet Another Election for Spain Reveals Deeper Strains"

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/15/world/europe/spain-snap-election.html

Quote
A center-left government has fallen. The two-party system has collapsed. The far-right is on the rise. At first glance, Spain seems a lot like other parts of Europe these days. And it is.

But the decision on Friday by Spain’s Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, to call for an early general election in April — the country’s third since late 2015 — is also an echo of deeper, particularly Spanish dynamics at play.

A secessionist drive in the prosperous northern region of Catalonia has challenged both the country’s territorial integrity and the core arrangements of the 1978 Constitution for Spain, one of Western Europe’s youngest democracies.

The result is the rise of a new nationalism across Spain, which in many ways has yet to fully reconcile the divisions left by the darkest chapters of its recent past, including dictatorship and civil war (...)

Evolution of the vote since the 1977 elections

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Velasco
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2019, 02:28:49 pm »

GESOP / El Periódico de Catalunya

PSOE 27.4% 115-117 seats
PP 19.9% 75-77 seats
CS 14.5% 44-47 seats
UP 13.6% 36-39 seats
VOX 13% 43-46 seats

ERC 16-17 seats
PDeCAT 2-3 seats
Others 8-10 seats
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Velasco
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2019, 04:50:14 pm »

I don't think the GESOP poll is unreasonable. It's assuming that VOX is eroding the PP and the Cs base in a greater extent than the GAD3 poll does. Given that VOX is setting the agenda of the other two right wing parties, it's plausible. It's worth noting that GESOP predicts the ERC hegemony in the Catalan nationalism, at the expense of the total collapse of the PDeCAT. I think both pollsters are interpreting vote transfers within blocks (left, triunvirate and separatists) in a different way.
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Velasco
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 07:07:11 pm »
« Edited: February 17, 2019, 12:38:35 pm by Velasco »


Interesting how C's+PSOE has a majority here, but the Right wing Triumvirate doesn't despite having a higher combined vote-share then C's+PSOE. This basis appears to be built on VOX a horrible vote/seat ratio, worse then even C's during their peak last winter. I guess we really have no idea how the VOX vote will be distributed in this regard, with the obvious exception being high voteshares in the exclavI thies.

The seat allocation is not easy to estimate, but there are models that provide an approximate result. It's important to remark the seat allocation is not based on nationwide results, rather it's based on the addition of the results in the 52 districts (50 multi-member corresponding to provinces; 2 single-member corresponding to autonomous cities). We actually have 52 general elections in Spain (one for every district, in Congress and Senate).

I think these polls show that there's a little ray of light for Pedro Sánchez, thanks to the particular nature of our electoral system. Most of the provincial electoral districts have less than seven seats. The parties placed first and second have a bonus in seat allocation, while third parties below 15% have a bad vote/seat ratio. In case the PSOE manages to come in first place with a result not far from 30% and 120 seats, I think it's pissible to avert a majority for the Triple Alliance. We have the precedent of the 2015 elections, with the PP coming first (28.7%, 123 seats) and the left wing parties winning less seats than PP and Cs, despite their higher combined vote share.

The majority suppprting the no confidence motion against Rajoy could not be replicated, according to the last poll. However, it'd be interesting to see how Albert Rivera would act in a scenario in which PSOE and Cs have the numbers and the Holy Trinity falls short of a majority, given that he and other Cs spokepersons say they'll never support the 'traitor' Sánchez.
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 11:27:33 am »

Pedro Sánchez is already in campaign mode. He called to mobilization in a crowded act taking place this morning in Mérida, alongside with the Extremadura premier Guillermo Fernández Vara. The PSOE leader appealed to progressives and centrists. "The threat exists, we are seeing it in Europe and other parts of the world" said Sánchez in reference to the far right rise in Europe and the Bolsonaro takeover in Brazil. Other messages conveyed by Sánchez: conquering the future instead of going backwards; moderation, progress, common sense and dialogue against the aggressive nationalism of the Spanish Right* and the demands of the Catalan separatists. Yesterday Pedro Sánchez attended a campaign act in Seville, alongside with Susana Díaz. He focused on employment and social advancements.

* There is a testosterone overload that affects the leaders of the "triphallic right", according to Justice minister Dolores Delgado. She meant that the Spanish Right has three heads ("Tricéfala"), but her lapsus has provoked some jokes Grin

 In the cabinet meeting held on Friday the government finally approved the exhumation of the Franco's remains:

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/15/inenglish/1550228747_208145.html

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he Spanish government is planning on approving an agreement at a Cabinet meeting on Friday that would give the final green light for the exhumation of the body of dictator Francisco Franco from the controversial Valley of the Fallen monument, located northwest of Madrid. The agreement outlines that the government has the “legal mandate” to remove the dictator’s tomb from a place of worship. Once approved, the Franco family will have 15 days to choose an alternative resting place for the dictator.

The following piece explains which policies will have to be shelved as a general election is called

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/15/inenglish/1550228667_985380.html

Quote
he rejection of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s 2019 budget plan has forced his Socialist Party (PSOE) government to call a general election for April 28. Eight-and-a-half months after he took power, thanks to a motion of no confidence, Sánchez is bringing an end to the shortest mandate since Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s.

What began in June of last year as an ambitious project, with
a Cabinet where women were in the majority, has not been able to survive governing in a minority, given the conditions that the parties that support Catalan independence imposed on the prime minister in return for keeping him in power.

A large number of projects will now fall by the wayside. The intention of Sánchez’s government was, right from the start, to see out the legislature until 2020, and he announced a raft of policies and measures that he intended to pass through Congress in the coming months. Now they will be put on standby, ahead of the result of the elections. Here are some of those key policies (...)

Also, Pedro Sánchez released his "Survival Manual". He reveals some details on how the no confidence motion was forged. This is another campaign act, of course.

[/center]
Img


The political correspondent of El País Carlos E Cué wrote a good story back in the day

https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/06/04/inenglish/1528097589_351691.html

Quote
The worst week in the long political life of Mariano Rajoy began with a party. It was a Wednesday; the skies over Madrid were dark, presaging a storm, and the Spanish prime minister was tired but elated. At the eleventh hour, faithful to his resist-to-the-end style, he had managed to push through the budget plan with support from Ciudadanos and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) (...)



 
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2019, 01:17:15 pm »
« Edited: February 17, 2019, 02:43:48 pm by Velasco »

Hmm... It seems that there's some kind of trend towards PSOE and PP. PSOE numbers are going up because, probably, of the implosion of Podemos and PP seems to be gaining some voters from C's. Sociométrica poll is the only, of the 3 released yesterday, that shows PP and C's tied for second place.

Could that photo of Rivera next to Abascal be hurting C's? Maybe some C's moderate voters didn't liked what they saw and are now returning to PP, and some, who knows, to PSOE.

There is an extreme volatility with sudden turns in public opinion, so we should be cautious with analyses and intetpretations. I think the only prediction that we can support right now is that PSOE, Cs and of course VOX will get better results, while PP and UP are bound to lose support. In the case of Cs, I think the picture in Colon Square and the government deal in Andalusia, which undeniably associate the oranges with the far right, are potentially harmful. At least the PSOE will try to take advantage of these developments to recover ground in the centre. The talks policy damaged PSOE in previous months (additionally the crisis in Catalonia exacerbates division within the party), as well the bad communication policy: the Calvo's blunder with the "mediator" was the origin of the political storm that ended in the Colon Square rally, a failed sttempt of the Spanish Right to bring Sánchez down with a massive demonstration. The attendance was around 50k, a clear underperformance. In addition the picture of the Triple Alliance gives ammunition to the PSOE. Some people say the failure of the Colon Square rally and that picture determined Pedro Sánchez and his inner circle to call elections in April. I think your assumption that moderate Cs voters may turn to PP over that picture doesn't make much sense, because Pablo Cssado is a hardcore conservative with stances close to VOX. The Santiago Abascal party was the only winner in Colón Square. On the ither hand, VOX is growing mainly at the expense of PP but also at the expense of Cs. The result of VOX within the rightwing block may determine if the Triple Alliance wins a majority or not
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2019, 06:00:18 pm »

Interesting chronicle of the NYT correspondent Raphael Minder from El Ejido, the Andalusian stronghold of VOX. Minder is the author of a book entitled 'The Struggle for Catalonia'

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/world/europe/spain-elections-vox-far-right.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FSpain&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

Quote
Wedged between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, the Almería province of southern Spain was once a setting for the spaghetti westerns that turned Clint Eastwood into a star.

These days, shimmering miles of plastic greenhouses stretch to the horizon, incubating the tomatoes, peppers and other produce that have transformed this once impoverished region into a farming hub.

But the most important seed growing here along Spain’s southern coast may be that of Vox, Spain’s first far-right party since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975 (...)

PP, Cs and VOX seek to differentiate their offer in order to catch all the vote right of the centre, says a chronicle in El País. The parties of the Triple Alliance have a total coincidence in what regards the implementation of direct rule in Catalonia (VOX goes further, advocating the suppression of all regional autonomy). Other headlines: "Casado whips out fear of chaos if the PP doesn't win". "Rivera encourages to bury the Two Spains (the "reds" and the "blues")". There's another article talking about the strategies to escape (or not) from the Colón Square picture. The Spanish Right seeks to transform that picture in government deals, while the Left seeks to use it to mobilize voters.

https://elpais.com/politica/2019/02/16/actualidad/1550342351_459051.html

Another interesting headline in El Confidencial, a centre-right leaning digital paper: "Spain has no room to implement a great tax cut". Is this a message for the triumvirate (particularly for Pablo Casado)?

https://www.elconfidencial.com/economia/2019-02-17/casado-promesa-bajada-impuestos-margen_1830074/

eldiario.es: "Podemos seeks to renew its alliances in the middle of a serious crisis to become a party of government"

https://www.eldiario.es/politica/Podemos-IU-aliados_0_868263923.html

Meanwhile Manuela Carmena and Íñigo Errejón launched their campaign in Madrid: the act was a big breakfast (handmade fairy cakes and chocolate) with 2000 supporters in a working class neighbourhood called Villaverde

https://www.eldiario.es/madrid/Carmena-Errejon-arrancan-campana-conjunta_0_868613262.html

The Minister of Public Works José Luis Ábalos was insulted by a semiretired policeman yesterday night in Mérida (Extremadura). The offender called "Rojo" ("Red") to Ábalos, so presumably the ideology of that man is "Blue" (or maybe "Vox Green").

https://www.elmundo.es/espana/2019/02/17/5c69900321efa0be238b4662.html



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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2019, 08:39:39 pm »

The threshold to have a good vote/seat ratio is estimated at 15%, but the increasing fragmentation makes it unclear. Also, the ratio may depend on which provinces a said party is stronger, given that seat allocation by province favours the less populated (the "empty Spain"). That's why some polls predict that PP could win more seats than Cs with a similar vote share. PP performs strongly in rural Spain and among the eldest, while it performs poorly among the youngest voters. Another feature of the system is that nationalist and regionalist parties use to have a better ratio than third parties nationwide, because peripheral parties have their vote concentrated in a few provinces.

2016 General Election (vote share/ % of seats)

PP (33% /39,1%), PSOE (22.6%/24.3%), UP (21.2%/20.3%), Cs (13.1%/9.1%)

ERC (2.6%/2.6%), CDC (2%/2.3%), EAJ-PNV (1.2%/1.4%), EH Bildu (0.8%/0.6%), CC (0.3%/0.3%)

Kiko Llaneras made an estimation for El País on the Vox effect over the rightwing seats, assuming the combined vote of the Triple Alliance is at 49% (percentage may oscillate depending on the mobilization of the left). It seems the rightwing majority is assured with Vox getting more than 11%. I'd take it with a grain of salt, because there are multiple variables. Mobilization is key

https://elpais.com/politica/2019/02/16/actualidad/1550336107_552865.html?rel=lom
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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2019, 10:55:19 am »
« Edited: February 18, 2019, 11:01:42 am by Velasco »

Cs political bureau agrees unanimously not making deals with Pedro Sánchez and the PSOE after the general elections. By the moment this decision doesn't affect deals at regional and local level. Cs secretary general José Manuel Vilegas said that talking and making agreements with the separatists (the "coup plotters" in the vision of the Spanish Right) is one of the most serious and deplorable actions ever performed by a Spanish government. Cs leader Albert Rivera stated past Friday that Pedro Sánchez and the PSOE must go to the opposition. Rivera seeks the repetition of the coalition agreements in Andalusia, with the difference that he hopes to lead the government himself. Cs would be a "modern" and "liberal" alternative in Rivera's words, while the PP represents a "conservative" one somewhat tarnished by corruption. Rivera has no opinion of Vox, because that party has no seats in the Spanish parliament.

Loyal to his hyperbolic rhetoric style, PP leader Pablo Casado compares the current political situation of Spain with the situation after the death of Franco. Casado assures that separatists are ready to launch a second assault to the Spain's integrity with the PSOE's collusion.

The Vox campaign in Madrid targets low income municipalities with high proportion of immigrant population, which usually lean to the left

https://elpais.com/ccaa/2019/02/17/madrid/1550425964_576994.html

The GAD3 poll released by La Vanguardia provides a little ray of light. According to it, a majority of Spaniards favours dialogue as the way to solve the conflict in Catalonia. Talks between central and regional governments are supported by 52.3%, while 34.2% supports the implementation of direct rule in Catalonia (article 155). A poll conducted by GAD3 three months ago showed opposite results. The turn in public opinion is attributed either to the dragging effect of the government's discourse or to a reaction against inflated rhetoric and overacting.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20190217/46528947189/la-mayoria-de-los-espanoles-elige-el-dialogo-para-resolver-la-crisis-catalana.html

 
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2019, 05:22:47 am »
« Edited: February 20, 2019, 05:31:39 am by Velasco »

Vox takes its anti-immigration message to Madrid

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/18/inenglish/1550506982_047374.html

Quote
x, a Spanish far-right party that recently gained parliamentary representation in the southern region of Andalusia, is trying to extend its successful strategy ahead of local, regional and national elections due to be held in the spring.

After securing 12 seats in Andalusia on December 2 on a pro-Spanish unity and anti-immigration message, Vox got an early start on its campaign for regional and municipal elections in Madrid with a Sunday rally in Torrejón de Ardoz.

The choice of venue was not casual: a hotel located a five-minute drive from one of the Madrid region’s most diverse neighborhoods, San José, where halal butcher shops share sidewalk space with Senegalese hairdresser salons and Ukrainian supermarkets (...)

Brussels fears Spain becomes in the new Italy

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/18/inenglish/1550477002_732280.html?rel=mas

Quote
The European Union, just like the markets, is ruling out a financial or budget meltdown as a result of the snap election announced in Spain for April 28. But Brussels is afraid that the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy could be affected by the same kind of political instability seen for years in Italy, which is currently led by a populist and euro-skeptic government.

The risk of seeing Spain follow in Italy’s footsteps is creating apprehension among EU institutions, which view Spain as one of the few member states that supports European integration and remains free of extremist parties (,,,)

Cs decision to rule out deals with socialists has been received with some skepticism, because many people remember Albert Rivera promising that he'd never support Mariano Rajoy before the 2016 elections. There is a tough competition between the three rightwing parties, with Pablo Casado and the PP engaged in an absurd rhetoric radicalism (part ideological conviction, part fear of Vox) and the oranges not wanting to get left behind (some voters switching from PP to Cs might be tempted to vote for Vox). Also, the tactical turn to the right is motivated by the desire of Albert Rivera to become the next PM by leading the rightwing block. Rivera is not particularly good at strategy, on the other hand. Depending on election results, it might be some pressure for a PSOE-Cs agreement that provides stability to the Spanish government. However, the differences over the crisis management in Catalonia (talks policy Vs article 155) and the tough rhetoric of Albert Rivera make an agreement very difficult. We'll have to wait after the elections to see what happens.


So, there's this poll. The left is getting trounced in Madrid, though that's not really new anyway.

This is not a proper poll. Rather it's an extrapolation to the province of Madrid of a nationwide poll. No doubt that Madrid is a right leaning province, but I think the PSOE will get better results in the general elections.
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2019, 09:45:36 pm »
« Edited: February 21, 2019, 12:14:55 pm by Velasco »

Giles Tremlett reviews the Podemos crisis in The Guardian, What went wrong?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/19/podemos-spanish-politics

Quote
It was only five years ago that Spain’s break-out party Podemos became a dazzling new lodestar for Europe’s lost and troubled left. But with a snap election just weeks away, it now risks a crash as spectacular as its rise. Has the leftwing populist model of ponytailed rebel Pablo Iglesias and his gang of talented young thinkers, so admired by many Jeremy Corbyn backers and others around Europe, proved a failure?

Polling suggests the party is in deep trouble. Podemos once led the polls and very nearly snatched leadership of Spain’s left from prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist party at the 2016 elections, but it is now only the voters’ fourth favourite party. The meltdown means it is slated to lose half its deputies, while Sánchez gallops ahead, taking well over twice as many votes as Podemos on 28 April.

The far-right populist party Vox is now also snapping at its heels, adding ideological insult to electoral injury. In April, Vox will target the same working-class city neighbourhoods as Podemos – claiming that immigrants and Catalan separatists, not austerity, are the problem. Mainstream parties will undoubtedly argue that this is merely one populism replacing another. That misses the point (...)

There is the Errejón factor. The differences between him and Pablo Iglesias went beyond alliance policy and strategy. They had a long time friendship which was underminded and broken by politics. Errejón is regarded by many as the most talented of the Podemos founders

Quote
Errejón was also a key theorist in a party that pledged to break moulds and shed the shackles that had kept the reforming left out of power. He was the most forthright proponent of a philosophy of popular “transversal” coalitions that knitted together a wide variety of groups opposed to the status quo in one of Europe’s most corrupt and unequal societies. This allowed Podemos to channel the rage of the spontaneous indignado protests, which had occupied city squares in 2011. It also prevented it repeating the doomed coalitions routinely put together under the dead hand of Spain’s communist party. Everybody was welcome, the message became, under Podemos’s bright, purple-coloured umbrella.

Another interesting angle is the relationship between the Podemos leadership and the mayors of Madrid and Barcelona: Manuela Carmena and Ada Colau

Quote
Both mayors have performed remarkably well as they seek to make cities more liveable, rather than merely richer. Carmena has even pulled off the apparently impossible trick of reducing the debt inherited from big-spending rightwing mayors without instituting austerity. Charges that the new left is radical, dangerous and irresponsible now ring hollow.

Neither mayor allows herself to be bossed by Podemos, a party that is only half-joking when it repeatedly references the power battles waged in Game of Thrones. Colau remains on friendly terms, but the relationship with Carmena has soured as Podemos has shed allies,

There are problems in the relationship between Podemos and the regional allies

Quote
Monica Oltra, the deputy premier of Valencia’s regional government, has already said that her Compromís party, a key local ally, will not repeat an electoral coalition with Podemos in the April general election. En Marea, a similar ally in Galicia, has also walked away. As a result, Podemos’s broad coalition looks increasingly skinny and self-centred.

Tremlett says that Podemos should ask itself why the three most powerful women in the alternative left (Carmena, Colau and Oltra) operate outside the party, as well as mentions the role of speakswoman in Congress Irene Montero (she's a young and talented politician, a former member of the communist youth who hapens to be the Iglesias' couple). He finishes saying the Andalusia results prove that "something went badly wrong". His diagnosis is "internal strife and narrowness of vision"

Pedro Sánchez presented yesterday the PSOE's pre-campaign. The slogan is "The Spain You Want". I just watched the video and it's good, conveys the message of an inclusive Spain where everybody fits in. It's filmed in b/w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3vxiVaW7wk



Apparently El Periódico de Cataluña published a poll about whether the Catalan issue should be solved with talks or with another round of article 155 (direct rule).

This wouldn't be noteworthy if it wasn't because they took crosstabs for several regions of Spain. The results are here:

The GAD3 poll has the same results on the same question (see a previous post) and it's noteworthy. This turn in public opinion provides a ray of light, IMO

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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2019, 12:33:42 pm »
« Edited: February 21, 2019, 12:48:41 pm by Velasco »

If Podemos is drubbed, will Iglesias try and stay on anyway?

The problem with Podemos is that style of leadership focused on the cult of the Pablo Iglesias personality. It won't be easy to replace him. I remember some rumours pointing Irene Montero as a possible leader after the next general elections. I think she has a raw talent to develop, but she has some disadvantages as well: too young, couple of Pablo Iglesias... Ideologically she and the Pablo Iglesias inner circle are a bit Leninist for my taste. The communist youth makes its mark.

On a related note, I read today there are problens with the Podemos and IU alliances in some regions. There are regions like Asturias and Murcia where both organizations will run separate lists. Madrid and other regions are in the air.  IU might ally with Anticapitalistas (the far-left wing of Pidemos) in some places ...  
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2019, 02:49:10 am »
« Edited: February 24, 2019, 12:41:50 am by Velasco »

The leader of the opposition in Catalonia Inés Arrimadas is about to enter national politics. She will run for the province of Barcelona in the next general elections. The decision will be officially announced today in a campaign act taking place in Madrid with Cs leader Albert Rivera. Arrimadas will replace Cs spokesman in Congress and former journalist Juan Carlos Girauta on the top of the Barcelona list. Girauta will top the list for Toledo because he's moving his residence to that province. The Operation Arrimadas has been forged with great secrecy, to the point that high officers like secretary general José Manuel Villegas were completely unaware. The news has created internal shock and raised some opposition in an organization totally controlled by Rivera. Arrimadas is very popular for her role in Catalonia and is the only person in the party who could overshadow the supreme leader. Tomorrow she will travel to Belgium in order to perform an act in front of the Puigdemont's residence in Waterloo and remember the ousted premier that the Catalan republic does not exist. Arrimadas could be replaced by regional deputy Lorena Roldán as the Cs spokeswoman in Catalonia. The decision is interpreted as a firm intent to fight with all weapons against PP for the leadership of the Spanish Right.

According to El País, the decision made by the Cs leadership to veto government deals with the PSOE is motivated by public opinion surveys. Demoscopic information shows that there are many rightwing undecided voters that could switch to PP, Cs or Vox. Most of these voters repudiates Pedro Sánchez, as well there is a dangerous vote transfer from Cs to Vox. People like economist Luis Garicano defended not ruling out deals with PSOE, but demoscopic evidence was apparently very strong and finally the decision was approved unanimously.

Disturbing news from Andalusia: Vox asks for the names of gender violence workers, claiming that many of them are not qualified and their decisions are ideologically motivated

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/22/inenglish/1550852190_868783.html

Quote
Vox, a Spanish far-right party that gained parliamentary representation at regional elections in Andalusia last December, wants to know the names of government workers who deal with gender violence.

Francisco Serrano, a Vox deputy and the party leader in the southern region, has filed a parliamentary petition asking the Andalusian government for the identities of all the workers at its Gender Violence Integral Assessment Units.

These units comprise psychosocial teams from family courts and other experts specializing in minors, and their job is to evaluate the risk factor for women who suffer from gender violence.

Serrano also wants to see the registration numbers showing that these experts are members of the relevant professional associations. The request encompasses “all the psychologists, social workers and forensic doctors” who have served with these units between 2012 and 2019 (...)

There is some purge flavour floating in the air...

I think the comparison of Andalusia and the Castillas is quite interesting, would have expected it to be the other way round based on traditional partisan support - I suppose the fact that it isn't is quite telling.

The fact that a most people in Andalusia and the Castillas supports the implementation of direct rule is telling, but not very surprising. As for the comparison between these regions, maybe the sample size is not large enough to establish meaningful conclusions. The CIS surveys might be more helpful in that regard, because they have larger samples and make questions on territorial issues. Anyway the opposition of Andalusians to the separatist drive in Catalonia and the divisive effect of that drive within the Spanish Left influenced the last regional elections. Events in Catalonia have always a deep impact in Andalusia for many and varied reasons. Catalonia is sometimes called the "9th province" of Andalusia because there are more than 1 million of people with Andalusian ancestry living there. It's worth noting that the stance of the PSOE branches in Andalusia, Extremadura and Castilla La Mancha is tougher than the stance of the national PSOE. Their 'barons' or regional leaders (Susana Díaz, Guillermo Fernández Vara and Emiliano García-Page) are not the best friends of Pedro Sánchez. Recently the Extremadura regional assembly made a proclamation supporting of the implementation of article 155 in Catalonia with the votes of PSOE, PP and Cs (Podemos opposed)
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2019, 11:20:01 am »


The PSOE strategy of conquering the center seems to be working very well. Centrist voters are fleeing from C's due to the party's cuddling with the far-right and its veto on a PSOE-C's coalition. The only problem for them is that their preferred option (PSOE-C's) is very far away from the 176 seats necessary for a majority, they'd need to win the separatists' support once again, which would much more difficult this time around.

The Invymark poll has better numbers for the right: PSOE 24.3%, PP 21%, Cs 20.2%, UP 13.9%, VOX 11.3%

I would like to think that PSOE is recovering ground in the centre at the expense of Cs, but it seems that socialists make gains at the expense of Podemos. Sigma Dos and Sondaxe are showing that VOX is biting PP and Cs alike. The turn to the right of PP and Cs seems to be motivated by the rise of the far right at their expense.
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2019, 10:01:48 pm »
« Edited: February 24, 2019, 10:19:07 pm by Velasco »


I think PP would be doing a much better under Soraya Saenz Santamaria than with Casado. She would attract moderate voters that, now, seem to be fleeing from C's to PSOE. But i would like to hear Tack's, Velasco's or Michael's opinion.

I think that Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría would have been a better leader for the PP, obviously. Even though I would never vote for parties like PP pr Cs for ideological and sentimental reasons, I realize that healthy democracies need parties that represent people with liberal and conservative views. I believe that it's in everybody's interest that the main parties have a decent leadership. Santamaría is more skillful than Casado and has a lot of experience in government. She knows how the machinery of the state works, as well as she has a pragmatic approach to politics. Casado is a conservative hack unexperienced and a with dubious academic credentials, the puppy of Esperanza Aguirre and José ;María Aznar. My impression is that Casado could be an incompetent and potentially dangerous PM. Certainly Soraya would have been less prone to rhetorical excess and the PP would have been more centered and moderate under her leadership. However, I'm afraid the Vox surge is an inevitability. It's caused by indignation and anger, triggered by the Catalan crisis (possibly thre are more underlying causes). Vox is the party that represents the rightwing indignados. Despite everything, I think it's better that mainstream liberal and conervative parties preserve their values and personality instead of buying the far right agenda, mimicking its rhetorical excess and ideological extremism. It'd be a way to contain the phenomenon within a relative marginality in the short term... although I think the strategy of the cordon sanitaire doesn't work in the long term, because it doesn't target the root causes. Indeed, I think voters would prefer the original to the copy...
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2019, 03:01:08 am »

The trial of the Catalan separatist leaders continues. By the moment the prosecution is having a hard time proving that separatists resorted to violence, the essential requirement of the charge of rebellion (defendants are also charged with sedition, misuse of public funds and disobedience). We are only at the early stages, though

Jordi Cuixart: "The referendum was the biggest exercise in civil disobedience in Europe"

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/26/inenglish/1551194163_039224.html

Quote
The last two defendants in the trial of 12 Catalan separatist leaders took the stand on Tuesday inside the Supreme Court in Madrid.

In line with the others who testified before him, Jordi Cuixart, the head of a pro-independence civil organization called Òmnium Cultural, described himself as “a political prisoner, not a politician in prison.”

“I am in prison for being a social activist,” said Cuixart, who has been in pre-trial custody since October 2017, shortly after Catalonia held an unauthorized referendum that was followed by a unilateral independence declaration inside the Catalan parliament.

Important testimonies are scheduled in the upcoming days, including: Mariano Rajoy (former Spanish PM), Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (former Deputy PM), Artur Mas (former Catalan premier) and Íñigo Urkullu (Basque premier)

The prosecutor0s office in Madrid will request three years and three months of prison for Cristina Cifuentes, the former premier who is accused of forging her Master's degree certificate.

Foreign Affairs minister Josep Borrell will be the top candidate of the PSOE in the upcoming EP elections.

Cs hired a former speaker of the Castilla y León regional assembly creating some controversy. Silvia Clemente resigned her position and the PP memberhip a few days ago, in order to run in the Cs primary election to nominate the party's candidate. Clemente has been in politics more than 20 years, holding several regional portfolios (cultire, environment and agriculture). She alleged that PP premier Alfonso Pérez Mañueco lacks ambition and a project for the region, but she was about to lose her position in the PP electoral list. There are some doubts on her honesty because Clemente's husband spent 1 million euros of unknown origin in a refurbishment, as well the same enterprise in charge of the works at her hisband's house was given contracts by the regional Department of Agriculture during Clemente's tenure. She will be opposed in the primaries by a Cs regional deputy called Francsco Igea. Clemente will run as an independent because the Cs leadership gave her a special permission and she is backed by Secretary general José Manuel Villegas. The move was an "unpleasant surprise" for the PP. In case Silvia Clemente gets the nomination, post-eletion agreements with the incumbent premier seem difficult. The PSOE in Castilla y León is happy with this conflict in the right.
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