Spain’s main opposition, the Popular Party, secured a landslide victory in a local election in Andalusia on Sunday. Partial official results hit socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ahead of the expected referendum at the end of 2023.

90% of the ballots were counted, and the Conservative People’s Party (PP) won 57 seats in the Andalusian Regional Assembly with 109 seats. This will allow them to rule alone at the long-standing socialist hub of Spain’s most populous region.

That’s more than double the 26 seats won in the last election in 2018, when the Socialist Party was dismissed from the southern region, known for its white-walled villages and the popular Costa del Sol Beach Resort.

The Socialist Party has won 31 seats. This is the same number as the last election in 2018, when the local government was first banished from the government in Andalusia since the establishment of the local government in 1982.

This is the third consecutive local election defeat against the Socialist Party’s PP, following the votes cast in Madrid in May 2021 and Castile and Leon in February.

Sanchez’s left-wing coalition has struggled to cope with the economic collapse of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is fueling inflation around the world, especially through rising energy prices.

Antonio Barroso, an analyst at Teneo’s political consultant, said defeating in Andalusia before the election was a “serious blow” to socialists, and next year “Sanchez will face a difficult battle to be reelected. It may mean “.

“PP seems to be gaining momentum, and voters’ concerns about inflation may only make it more difficult for Sanchez to sell his government’s achievements in the next legislative election,” he added. rice field.

-Free from the right end-

Inflation in Spain reached 8.7% in May, the highest level in decades.

The Sanchez government has implemented a series of measures to support consumers, including subsidies for fuel prices in pumps, raising the minimum wage, direct subsidies for truck drivers, and financial support for some farmers. Did.

As a result, PP no longer has to partner with and govern the far-right Vox, which has won 14 seats.

So far, Vox has supported Andalusian PP, but has supported it from outside the government.

However, during the campaign, he warned that if the PP needed help to re-govern, it would now require it to join the government.

Since 2018, PP has ruled Andalusia in a coalition with a single centre-right, Citizens.

During the campaign, Andalusian PP head Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla urged voters to provide a “strong” government that was not “pressed” by Vox.

-‘Wise alternative’-

Vox emerged as the Kingmaker of Andalusia in the region’s final poll in December 2018, with 12 seats in the far-right first election success since Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s. I got it.

It joined the local government earlier this year in the central part of the Castile and Leon region of Spain.

Vox has become the third largest political party in the Spanish parliament, following the 2019 general election.

The deal with Vox in Andalusia will involve a complex effort to project a calmer image by PP’s new national leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo.

The PP has sought to establish itself in Andalusia as a “wise alternative” to middle-aged politicians, Oscar Garcia Luengo, a professor of political science at the University of Granada, told AFP.

This strategy seems to have won the party’s support for some of the voters who voted for the Socialist Party in 2018, leaving a better position to win nationwide.

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