This Friday a campaign officially ended and it is difficult to determine precisely when it began. The culmination of an electoral cycle in which the Galician, Basque and Catalan elections have taken place, the race for this Sunday’s European elections has once again been buried by the all-out scuffle between the Government and the opposition in the midst of maneuvers judicial proceedings that have played a leading role.

If you follow the common thread of the political debate of recent weeks, you arrive at April 24. That day, an investigative judge unknown to the public accepted a complaint from the far-right organization Manos Médicas against Begoña Gómez. The decision, which caused surprise due to the lack of foundation of the accusations, became the perfect spearhead for the PP offensive. Those from Feijóo placed the President of the Government’s partner at the center of their strategy of permanently wearing down Pedro Sánchez, who even retired for five days from public life to assess whether or not he would throw in the towel.

Officially, time was running for the Catalan electoral campaign, a real test for the PSOE and for the president himself after the approval of the amnesty law. Sánchez did not resign and the test in Catalonia was resolved with flying colors. The clear victory of Salvador Illa and the historic defeat of the independence movement deactivated the amnesty as an element of wear and tear for the Government, changed the mood of the two major parties and gave the socialists the opportunity to resume the political initiative.

Pedro Sánchez took advantage of it with a push to major foreign policy issues with the ability to combine broad consensus among public opinion while causing imbalances and confusion among the political rivals of the PSOE. If the European countdown officially began on Friday, May 24, on Monday the 27th he received the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, at the Moncloa to sign an agreement to send weapons and ammunition for more than one billion euros to make in the face of Putin’s offensive. And the next day, Tuesday the 28th, Spain took the historic step of recognizing the state of Palestine in the middle of the massacre of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two strategic decisions of Spanish foreign policy of tremendous weight and in the middle of the European electoral campaign that managed to set the agenda between the doubts of the PP and Sumar and the extreme right’s climb to the mountain. Those from Feijóo hesitated with the recognition of Palestine in the face of the hard pro-Israeli line spread by right-wing leaders such as Aznar and Ayuso. And those of Yolanda Díaz raised the tone against their coalition partners to criticize the shipment of weapons to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Santiago Abascal traveled to Israel to shake hands with Netanyahu the day after a massacre in a Rafah refugee camp.

In the background, he had also planned a diplomatic crisis with Argentina, which the Government did not want to put an end to after a exchange of statements between Javier Milei and Minister Óscar Puente that ended with serious insults from the Argentine president during a visit to Madrid to participate in an event. ultra. An episode that ended with the withdrawal of the Spanish ambassador in Argentina and that Moncloa also trusted in being able to make electoral profit from the strategy of appealing to the useful vote of the entire left against the “far-right international.”

But then, with the PP in the slipstream of the major issues of international politics, with the amnesty deactivated after the Catalan result and clinging to an offensive against Begoña Gómez that was not fed by the judicial news, news arrived from the Court of Instruction number 41 of Madrid . Five days before the elections, with a report from the Civil Guard that rules out criminal offenses and without listening to witnesses, the already famous judge Juan Carlos Peinado decided to announce the summons of Begoña Gómez as a defendant. Although he calls her to testify within a month on July 5, Peinado decides to break into the campaign and not postpone her announcement.

The final stretch of the campaign becomes, logically, monothematic. This is so much the case that the PSOE, which insists on the honesty of the president’s partner, decides to go on the offensive against the judicial decision and try to make a virtue of necessity. The day after the formal accusation, Pedro Sánchez went hand in hand with his wife to a rally in Benalmádena to make an appeal: “I ask all left-wing people to go en masse to vote for the Socialist Party so that healthy politics wins.” and dirty politics will be defeated,” he said before drawing a line on the dichotomy that according to the PSOE marks the 9J: “Either you are with Milei, with Abascal, with Netanyahu, with Aznar and with Feijóo or you are on the good side of the history that is where social democracy is in Spain and in Europe.”

The day before, the president had published a letter on his social networks, the second after the one he shared to announce his five days of reflection. In his writing, Sánchez directly pointed out Judge Peinado’s decision. “Usually, the unwritten rule has been followed of not issuing resolutions that could affect the normal development of an electoral campaign and, therefore, the vote of citizens. In this case, it is evident that this practice has not been respected. He left it to the reader to draw his own conclusions.”

With the banner of defining itself as a victim of “the dirty wars” of the right, the PSOE is convinced of arriving in optimal conditions to even challenge the PP for victory this Sunday. A feeling of comeback that has evolved along with the polls in recent weeks and made Pedro Sánchez brim with optimism this Friday at the closing of the socialist campaign in Fuenlabrada. “They are asking for the time and saying that they are going out to tie the game. Well, they are going to lose it! I really want to give myself the pleasure of beating Feijóo and Abascal and I’m counting the hours,” claimed the PSOE leader.

“Now or never” for the PP

Before the emergence of Judge Peinado, the PP had already marked this 9J as a “plebiscite” on the Government of Pedro Sánchez and its continuity. In reality, another one, after the one they lost on 23J and after each electoral call in 2024. “Now or never,” said the popular ones at the start of the European campaign. A motto that has guided the strategy of Feijóo, who asked on May 26 in Madrid and before tens of thousands of people for the resignation of the socialist leader and the calling of general elections.

Since the beginning of the year, Feijóo raised the 2024 electoral cycle as a test of his opposition project, convinced of a chain of successes at the polls. But what began with a resounding victory in Galicia has been declining until the campaign for Sunday’s elections ended, alerting his supporters to the risk of a “tie” with the PSOE. An expression that not everyone liked, as the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, made clear this Friday.

Feijóo has criticized in recent weeks the “clamp” of the PSOE and Vox, a “polarization” that, they claim in the PP, limits their options at the polls by cutting off their possibility of growth towards their right and towards the center. At the same time, the leader of the PP has opened the door to agreeing in Brussels with the ultra Giorgia Meloni and has flirted with a motion of censure that would require the support of the independentists.

In the PP they hold their breath in the face of a closer result than expected and with the uncertainty of what the opposition strategy should be from Sunday if they do not obtain a clear victory. “Sunday will not be enough, but without Sunday we are not going to achieve political change in Spain,” said Feijóo at the closing of Valencia.

Sumar and Podemos measure their strength

If the 23J campaign was marked by the unity of the left to the left of the PSOE, with an unprecedented coalition of forces, a year later that political space goes to the elections divided in two and with lowered expectations. Although Sumar has tried from the beginning to distance the idea that these elections are above all a battle with Podemos to decide which party has the most strength, towards the middle of the campaign its candidate, Estrella Galán, went so far as to say that her role in Brussels It was not to save any match or personal situation, in clear reference to Irene Montero.

In Podemos, however, they have always been clear that these elections are essential for the future of their political formation and some sources have even slipped during the campaign that they could be the primaries that did not exist for the 23J coalition.

Paradoxically, Irene Montero’s candidacy has barely entered into the clash with Sumar throughout the campaign and has preferred to claim Podemos as the only left-wing force. “The left has to stand up,” the former Minister of Equality repeated in her speeches.

Podemos has focused its campaign on very ideological messages and traditional left-wing flags. With a central idea: peace. “We have to fill the ballot boxes with votes to break this great coalition of war,” claimed Irene Montero at the central event in Barcelona.

Polls have shown an upward trend for a few weeks now for the party led by Ione Belarra and according to the most optimistic polls it could win up to two seats. Meanwhile, Sumar has followed the opposite path and if weeks ago the polls placed them at 10%, the latest polls leave them with four points less.

Surveys such as the CIS detect a leak of votes from Yolanda Díaz’s coalition towards the Socialist Party, which in Sumar they have tried to plug by accentuating messages against their government partner. “Everyone can write the letters they want. But we all know that in order for more social advances, more feminist rights, to be written in the BOE, Sumar is necessary. “We are the ones who make it go from words to actions,” said the head of the coalition’s list, Estrella Galán, this Wednesday at an event in Madrid.

The correlation of forces on the left, the emergence of new ultra candidacies, the leadership of Feijóo or the eternal plebiscite on Pedro Sánchez will have a verdict on Sunday night in terms of national politics. But it is climate change, defense, agriculture, water, immigration or fiscal policy that are actually at stake this 9J given the certain possibility that the rise of the extreme right will impose an agenda of setbacks in the European project. Exactly the issues that have been buried by the local political brawl and by the bizarre decisions of an already famous investigative judge.


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