Alfonso Rueda’s absolute majority in Galicia not only allows Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP to start the 2024 electoral race with a victory, but also represents a cataclysm for the parties that make up the coalition Government. The PSOE sank this Sunday to nine seats, while Sumar was left out of the regional Parliament. Something that the PP has taken advantage of to rush against Pedro Sánchez while the socialists try to barely digest the corrective of the polls and discard any reading in a state key.

This same Monday, the PP communication team sent journalists a note in which the national leadership appropriated not only the victory in Galicia, but also the regional and municipal victories since 2022. From the absolute majority of Juan Manuel Moreno to Rueda’s, going through the May elections of last year, despite the fact that five coalition governments with Vox emerged from them.

“Of the 16 regional elections held in Spain since Feijóo has been president of the PP, the party has won 11. Page’s PSOE, one. Sánchez’s, four (among them Extremadura, where we govern after tying seats, and the Canary Islands, where we co-govern),” the PP points out in its message, where it now clearly recognizes that it governs in two autonomous communities after losing the elections.

Feijóo took advantage of Alfonso Rueda’s result to travel to Galicia and close the Regional Board of Directors of the Galician PP held this Monday in A Coruña with a speech. “Our party won, Sánchez crashed and the Government parties, Mrs. [Yolanda] Díaz, etc., I don’t know where they are except in the most intense political irrelevance,” he said. “The Spaniards already know that if they concentrate the vote on the PP we will stop the independence movement and we will send ‘sanchismo’ to the most absolute irrelevance, this is Galicia’s message for the whole world,” he added.

The “mud” and the “snares”

The leader of the PP also boasted of having won because they have “always told the truth”, despite the fact that Feijóo himself tried during the campaign to make out as liars 16 media outlets who attended a meal in Lugo on Friday where the PP communicated a change of position on Puigdemont and the pardons. The revelations from the PP leadership about the negotiations with Junts plunged the party into a contradiction that lasted the entire campaign and from which Feijóo has not yet emerged.

In A Coruña, Feijóo congratulated himself on the victory despite the “mud” and the “insidiousness.” And he settled: “If I have to choose between having a party and the presidency of the Government, I will take the former.”

Already on election night, the general secretary, Cuca Gamarra, took advantage of Rueda’s victory to send a message: that the PSOE has “the first proof of what a portion of Spaniards think” about its policies. Especially about the amnesty law.

The idea was hammered on Monday by the PP. “The polls have dealt a blow to Sánchez that he will not be able to assimilate,” said Isabel Díaz Ayuso in statements to the media. “The Galicians have sent a loud and clear message of frontal rejection of Sánchez’s policies and the Amnesty Law,” declared national leader Noelia Núñez in an interview, who also asked “to stop negotiating with the equality of all Spaniards and withdraw the amnesty law.

The PSOE isolates the setback in Galicia to protect Sánchez

In the PSOE, meanwhile, they try to cushion the blow of 18F. With the worst results in the history of the party in Galicia, Ferraz’s efforts are exactly the opposite of that of Génova Street: to limit the blow to the territory and discard a national interpretation. During the meeting of the Federal Executive Commission this Monday, Pedro Sánchez made a call to the leadership of his party for calm and confidence in “medium and long-term” projects, alluding to the short track record with which the candidate José Ramón Gómez Besteiro faced the appointment with the polls.

“We can’t burden him with the little owl, he’s only been six months old. And by presenting a candidate in each election, this is not going anywhere,” sources from the socialist leadership summarize Sánchez’s message to his people about the future of the Besteiro candidate. In the midst of a serious crisis of territorial power that has led the socialists to chain a cascade of regional defeats from which only Asturias, Navarra and Castilla-La Mancha are saved, in Ferraz they defend a strategy that involves “medium-long projects and term”. A bet that explains why confidence is maintained in candidates who have suffered electoral results as disastrous as those of Andalusia, the Community of Madrid or now Galicia. “Besteiro’s leadership, working more deeply, will have great results within 4 years,” said the party spokesperson, Esther Peña, in a press conference after the Executive.

The slogan in the Executive on Monday was also to go out and fight the message that the result in Galicia reinforces Alberto Núñez Feijóo as a political leader and represents a blow to the coalition Government. “It is true that our result is very bad, but the fact that Feijóo is strengthened…”, question the socialists, who emphasize that “it is within normality” for the PP to prevail in the Galician regional elections and whose result, in addition, , they believe far from a great victory. “They got 40, two less than four years ago, which is a result that falls within the normality of the Galician context,” PSOE sources explain.

Nor do Pedro Sánchez’s team believe that the hard blow suffered this Sunday can be extrapolated to a context of state politics and not even to that of other territories. “Every election is different. Does what happened in Galicia mean that the same thing will happen in Euskadi? On the contrary, our expectations there are similar to what we have now and to repeat the government. And in fact, whoever is expected to suffer a blow there is from the PP”, defend sources from the Socialist Executive.

Although for the moment the PSOE is asking for time to draw more detailed conclusions about the results in Galicia, they do believe that Ferraz’s leadership has detected an “important transfer” of socialist votes to the BNG. And in the absence of a more elaborate explanation, they point to reasons such as the greater implementation in the territory of the Galician nationalist project due to the lack of time of the candidate Besteiro and a very differentiated behavior of fundamentally young voters according to the electoral call.

“In the general elections, many people understood that the PSOE ballot was the most useful to prevent a PP Government with Vox, and this time many people considered that the Bloc was the best alternative to so many years of the PP, probably in search of an answer tougher also on right-wing policies,” they defend.

The criticisms of Page and Lambán

Outside the party leadership, criticism has come from where it usually does. Asked about the results, the president of Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García-Page, implicitly celebrated the victory of the PP this Monday. “If the PP had lost the absolute majority in Galicia, today we would be talking about national consequences. And surely a legitimization of the amnesty and Puigdemont would be being considered. If the PP had lost the majority, the winner would be Puigdemont. And I am glad that Puigdemont did not win,” he said.

From Aragon, the territorial leader of the socialists regretted the results of his party. Javier Lambán congratulated President Rueda on his social networks for the victory and added: “As a socialist, I am very sorry for the poor result of the PSOE and I deeply regret the advance of Galician sovereign nationalism. These are two terrible news for Spain,” he stated.

“It never rained without it clearing,” summarized the socialist spokesperson, Esther Peña, the prevailing mood in the PSOE after the umpteenth regional defeat of her party.


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