Continuity or change. The dilemma is always the same. Vote to stay the same or change government. Galicia has had one of the same color for 15 years. And all the polls, with the exception of the CIS, indicate that this will continue to be the case: it maintains that the PP will maintain the presidency of the Xunta. Of course, recent and remote experience says that it is better not to trust demoscopy and political scientists, that in the past electoral campaigns did not move a vote and now, however, they can be decisive in turning the tables. Those of 18F are the most open elections of those that have been held recently in Galicia, land of myths and legends. Some, with a salty aftertaste and others, about siren songs.
Nobody like Alberto Núñez Feijóo to account for the latter and the consequences of letting oneself be trapped by the seductive voice of demoscopy. The leader of the PP arrived in flight to Madrid supported by the barons of his party and in flight he also believed that he would arrive at La Moncloa after last July 23. This is what all the pollsters whispered in their ears. Abducted by that song, he failed in the attempt and now the revalidation arrives in the form of Galician elections. Yes, Alfonso Rueda is examined, a president by accident who inherited the position, but above all, his mentor is examined, for whom maintaining the Galician government is a matter of survival within his party.
The high presence of national leaders in this campaign shows that 18F is much more important than Rueda losing a presidency that he never won at the polls. For example, whether the majority of Galicians are aware or not of the latest order by Judge García Castellón on the Tsunami case. For example, if you know the details of the amendment with which the PSOE and Junts agreed on a new categorization of terrorism. For example, that the amnesty law has run aground in Congress after being shot down by the same people who demanded it as an essential condition to invest Sánchez. For example, Sánchez’s capacity for resistance in the first elections after his alliance with the Catalan independence movement. For example, whether or not Yolanda Díaz is a prophet in her land. Or for example, and above all, the future of the leader of the national opposition.
PP and PSOE will do the rest in a campaign that will have little of Galician, in which it is not in question that the popular ones continue to be the first force, but it is that a broad mobilization of the left-wing electorate can project a government that is at least bipartite between nationalists Galicians and socialists. “Don’t take anything for granted. To those who voted for me during the last 15 years, I will ask you to trust Alfonso Rueda,” Feijóo launched at the closing of the 26th interparliamentary meeting of the popular parties organized in Ourense a couple of weeks ago, aware of what is at stake and that their candidate neither raises passions nor has a high degree of knowledge in the electorate.
The barons of the PP will wait for the European women
Although he plays at home, in a hegemonic territory for the right, he goes on the attack to prevent a leftist alliance from inhabiting the Xunta and, from that moment, the debate on his leadership is reactivated in Madrid, after the failures of the 23J and his failed investiture. A third party cannot be allowed because the most ultra wing of the right – in which Aznar, Ayuso and all their media trumpeting live – will not ignore it this time. Sources from the national leadership maintain that in the event of losing the Xunta, Feijóo would not leave Genoa immediately, “unless he decided to do so, understanding that Rueda’s defeat would be his second.” What they do not rule out is that there are movements among the barons to, pending what happens after the European elections, “open a debate on the project and leadership.”
Until then, the PP appeals to voters dissatisfied with the PSOE and especially with Vox, since those of Abascal could make the range of seats dance in such a way that the PP loses its absolute majority. In Genoa they do not believe that the extreme right is going to obtain representation in the Galician Parliament, but they do fear that it will steal enough votes for Rueda to lose some deputies.
Galicia is a territory that resists Abascal. Starting from zero deputies and mayors, its candidate is a perfect unknown and the formation is waging an increasingly less silent internal war among its cadres, but it will once again trust everything to the acronyms and an ultra and unapologetic speech that weakens Feijóo and distinguishes him of a PP, which he sometimes draws as an accomplice of the PSOE at the national level. Theirs is an impossible mission, according to the polls, but they still hope to win votes among abstentions disenchanted with Rueda’s management.
The other threat to the popular ones is in Ourense and in the possibilities of a harried mayor, Gonzalo Pérez Jácome, who has also embarked on the regional adventure. Jácome faces his second term as mayor thanks to the exchange of stickers with the PP so that he could retain the deputation and his debut in a Galician team is unknown. Some polls give him a representative but if he does not arrive, it remains to be seen who would have those lost votes subtracted from him.
The PSOE entrusts itself to mobilization
From the federal headquarters of socialism on Ferraz Street they are also aware that the battle is being fought nationally, and not only because of the right’s desire to focus on the alliance with Junts and the amnesty law. Basically, it is the first time that Sánchez submits to the verdict of the polls after an investiture that was only possible due to the concessions he made to the Catalan independence movement. Even so, they believe that Galicians are more concerned about things to eat than about penal oblivion and that the management of the Xunta can “manifestly be improved in everything that has to do with public services.”
“I ask Galicians to mobilize and vote en masse. When there is low participation, the PP governs, but when there is massive participation, the left governs. So, full ballot boxes and safe change,” Pedro Sánchez appealed a few days ago at the closing of the PSOE political convention in A Coruña. Not in vain, abstention in Galician elections is historically higher than in general elections. So much so that in the last elections in which the president of the Xunta was elected, in the middle of the pandemic, a historic low was recorded and only 58.8% of the electorate went to vote, a percentage that rose to 70% last June 23.
The socialists, who admit the difficulty of wresting the absolute majority from the PP, trust the result to a broad mobilization of the left like the one registered in general and for this reason they have designed a campaign to support their candidate with several presences from Sánchez, the ministers of the economic area and the former president Zapatero, who has recently become the main demand of the socialist electorate. His campaign strategy involves offsetting the right’s attacks on the amnesty with an argument that highlights the Government’s economic measures, such as the increase in pensions, the SMI, the IMV, free transportation or the banking tax. and energy ones. And the objective is to combat abstention because the possibilities of change are at stake, according to his calculations, in two deputies and five points of voting intention.
The most repeated phrase these days among socialist strategists is that “there is a party,” and no poll predicts that they will be able to take second position from Ana Pontón’s BNG, who is the one to whom the demoscopy grants greater possibilities of growth since the elections of 2020.
Díaz deploys his ministers
In this last week, the PSOE defends that the “no” to the neo-convergents to introduce their new amendments to the amnesty law will allow them to deconstruct the mantra of a president subjected to the independence movement and obtain electoral benefits from it in these two weeks. In fact, the negotiations with Junts to unravel the text that has been returned to the Justice commission will not be reactivated until the 18F passes, according to government sources who remain firm that there is little room for agreement. All in all, the socialists believe that Sánchez has nothing to lose this 18F which, in any case, will not modify the roadmap of his government.
The one who does face a no less difficult situation is Sumar. And not only because 18F Yolanda Díaz will know whether or not she is a prophet in her own land, but because she will also have to demonstrate if her national project can be extrapolated to other territories. It will also be the first time that Podemos and the coalition led by Díaz measure forces after her divorce in the Congress of Deputies. Neither of them trusts a result that they can boast about, since Galicia is a territory in which the left is now dominated by the nationalists of the BNG, which leads the opposition after the gradual disappearance of Las Mareas. While Sumar fights for representation in the Galician Parliament and will deploy all its ministers in the campaign, in addition to its new parliamentary spokesperson, Iñigo Errejón, who this Saturday rallied alongside Díaz in his native Ferrol, Podemos lacks any option. The distance between the two, however, will determine the strength of each one for the next battles to be fought, especially the European ones in June, in which the purple ones will do the rest with Irene Montero as a candidate.