The most conservative right together with the extreme right -Partido Popular plus VOX- gets 78 deputies, compared to the 58 who have added between Mas Madrid, PSOE and Unidas Podemos.
The most conservative right won in the best Trumpist and network trolls style, with a speech full of lies, insults and empty of content. And all this, in the name of freedom. Meanwhile, the left has reacted in a somewhat varied way, but without finding the key that will connect with the electorate, except -maybe- Mas Madrid.
The lists headed by women advance, while male figures fall, even leading to the withdrawal from the political scene of the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, although his coalition has risen from 7 to 10 deputies.
Yesterday, May 4, there were regional elections in Madrid (Spain). The current president of the Community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the Partido Popular(PP)(Popular Party) won, which has leaned towards the most radical right, going from 30 to 65 deputies in two years. The spectacular growth is due to several factors, speaking in numerical terms: the disappearance of Ciudadanos(Citizens) (all their votes have gone to the PP), the great fall of the PSOE (Socialist Party) and the greater participation of voters at the polls, something that The left believed it would benefit from but that it has fundamentally resulted in the growth of the right.
The PP has been followed in the number of votes, Más Madrid, with Mónica García, who goes from 20 to 24 deputies and who has been the figure of the true opposition in the last two years. The PSOE has lagged behind in the number of votes, although with the same number of deputies, but its fall has been notable, dropping from 37 to 24 parliamentarians. Ciudadanos, a party that has governed with the PP of Ayuso, but from which it has wanted to dissociate itself to locate itself in the center, disappears from the Madrid Assembly, and the number of votes and deputies rise, on the one hand, VOX, from the extreme right -it goes from 12 to 13- and Unidas Podemos( United We can), with Pablo Iglesias as head of the list, which goes from 7 to 10 deputies.
In short, the right has won with 78 deputies, while the left has 58 in total. Understanding right and left from a traditional conception that increasingly responds less to social reality.
If we talk about heads of lists, women clearly advance, Isabel Díaz Ayuso PP), Mónica García (More Madrid) and Rocío Monasterio (VOX), while Ángel Gabilondo (PSOE) falls, Edmundo Bal disappears (Citizens) and Pablo Iglesias (UP ) is forced to leave the political scene. In any case, it has been a very personal campaign, in which the profile of the heads of the list has had a lot of weight.
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Some elements for analysis
In the elections that we had yesterday in Madrid, the phenomenon that we are experiencing in other parts of the world was repeated, and it seems we need to experiment firsthand to be vaccinated against it. The majority have elected – to be governed all – the same executioners who mistreat, exploit and despise us on a daily basis.
Ayuso’s speech, throughout his term and reinforced during the electoral campaign, in the more “troll” and “trumpist” style, has worked very well for him. Loaded with lies, insults and empty of content, it has been based on a single word: freedom. For the president, this term of freedom, covered several concepts, several meanings: freedom to go to work, freedom to drink beer in a cafeteria, freedom to separate from your partner and not cross paths with her again, freedom to lower taxes, freedom to support education and to private health centers….
Ayuso has been able to connect with a high percentage of the population that all they want is to have a job and survive and that they fear that they will take away what they have or aspire to have. That majority that has believed the speech of an Ayuso that is untrue, when it repeats poisonously -until establishing as true- that the person responsible for the crisis we are experiencing in Madrid is the President of the State Government, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE): responsible of the lack of employment, responsible for the mandatory confinements against Covid, responsible for the thousands of elderly deaths in residences … All this, despite the fact that the management of residences or public health is the responsibility of the Madrid Government, which has made public the order that Ayuso herself signed that the elderly infected by the coronavirus should not be transferred to hospitals, or that we do not know where the millions delivered by the national government to Ayuso have gone to mitigate the pandemic …
Not to mention that a large part of the population has also believed that the tax cut was good for everyone, without understanding that such a measure benefits only those with great fortunes, who will pay less, which will result in worse education and public health, for example. For those who do not know it, Madrid has become a tax haven for large companies, which have been moving their headquarters to the capital to pay less taxes.
To all this, we must add the hateful tone, used by the PP and VOX during the electoral campaign. Hate towards those who are different, hatred towards migrants, hatred towards those who are forced to go to the “hunger queues” every day in order to eat (whom they have called “those who are « maintained »). Hatred and polarization vomited by people like the first on the VOX list, Rocío Monasterio, who, curiously, is of Cuban origin but who charges against migrant children who arrive alone fleeing hunger and violence, and who – paradoxically – this vision is shared by some migrants who have also come here to find a better life.
This leads us to understand, once again, that in the face of polarization and feeding the politics of factions, the most violent always wins. In this case, the one who has the most capacity to lie without shame and the most immoral, .which is usually accompanied by a greater ability to influence the media and pay anyone who is willing to be bought.
An immediate one has been the withdrawal from the political scene of the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, who has ended up being the center of all the attacks from the right, allowing himself to be carried away by polarization and becoming his own victim. Iglesias announced his resignation to the media in the same style that has characterized him throughout his political career: gambling everything or nothing, presenting himself as a victim of hatred and fascism (it is true that he has received death threats as well as the Minister of the Interior and the Director of the Civil Guard), but without an iota of analysis of the entire process that has led him here. Giving reason, on the other hand, to the invitation of the leaders of the right, asking him to leave.
He left the vice presidency of the state government to remove the right-wing of the Madrid government, trying to save his figure and the project that has so many similarities with the Izquierda Unida( United Left), but in the absence of sufficient results, he retires. The “all or nothing” messiah model no longer exists.
Hopefully, we all learn that, in the face of populism, in the face of Trumpism, if we want to build another system in which we put life at the center, this happens by being part of the builders and moving away from empowering and venerating leaderships. We have to bet on horizontal models. And this is a general lack, not only of Unidas Podemos( United We Can).
On the other hand, the candid and dialogue candidate of the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrera Espanol (Spanish Socialist Workers Party), Ángel Gabilondo, has not known how to move in these turbulent waters and falls victim to his own and strangers.
Not to mention Ciudadanos (Citizens) who have been governing with Ayuso for two years, being part of the decisions that have brought us so much disaster, and who -suddenly- wanted to appear centered.
On the other hand, the figure of Mónica García, the head of the list of Más Madrid, has been reinforced. A doctor who has continued to work as such in the middle of the pandemic and who has been the true opposition to Ayuso, in the Madrid Assembly. She has managed to put polarization aside and rely on complaints accompanied by proactive measures in defense of the public, through a more inclusive language.
But, also in Más Madrid, they have to deepen internal democracy and leave the justification for certain top decisions due to the rush imposed by electoral agendas … if they do not want to end up being just another party on the political scene.
Something to keep in mind for the future is to look for what unites beyond the differences and personalities that have had so much importance in these elections. In this, the left-wing bases have taught a lesson (both those of Unidos Podemos and those of Más Madrid by having bet – at certain times – to develop a joint campaign for the population to vote for “the public”, including the proposal of the vote for socialism, in a gesture of generosity and jumping over historical betrayals.
This should commit the PSOE to work for the repeal of Real Decreto 15/97 that introduced the privatization of the Spanish public health system (universal and one of the best in the world at the time) by the hand of the PP and whose consequences today we are paying, in addition to artículo 135 de la Constitución Española ( article 135 of the Spanish Constitution) proposed and approved by the socialist Zapatero in 2011, by which the payment of the foreign debt (largely illegitimate because it is private) is placed before any public policy. The PSOE has to repair its great historical errors, and stop doing politics in favor of the economic elites.
But these elections have taught us a few other lessons. If the most helpless population, in a moment of great exhaustion, has voted to the right largely because, among other things, it has promised freedom to be able to move to go to work, perhaps the PSOE and UP should consider that the Ingreso Mínimo Vital ( minimal living income) has not given the answer we were looking for. We are talking about the aid for very precarious people, launched by the Government of Pedro Sánchez in response to the pandemic and which has only reached 10% of the applicants, with the consequent frustration of a large part of the applicants.
Why don’t we think, once and for all, to implement a Renta Básica Universal e Incondicional (Universal and Unconditional Basic Income) -as some economists proposed as early as April 2020- that allows the entire population to have a sufficient economic base and make the necessary fiscal adjustment in the next exercise? Don’t you think that all those most disadvantaged populations would have less fear and would be less vulnerable to being deceived and manipulated if they had a guaranteed subsistence? Why else have so many southern neighborhoods voted for the more radical right? Without a doubt, when the future closes, consciousness darkens.
The Spanish government of PSOE and UP will have to decide to clearly position itself with the populations, going to the root of the problem, demanding more contributions from the one who has the most, and leaving charitable policies, in addition to renouncing electoral calculations that -on the other hand- do not come out well.
If, as the most progressive of the Government argue, the populations are not prepared for a basic income because they do not understand the concept well, they should develop a clarification campaign through the mainstream media, about the reasons and benefits of it, just like what they are doing -for example- with vaccines. Isn’t it about saving lives? Let’s do it!
Let us also save lives by ensuring subsistence for everyone, together with inclusive public policies, based on the denunciation of different types of violence, but emphasizing new proposals, dialogue and what unites us to defend the majorities.
Let’s start building another future from today, without waiting for tomorrow, and let’s move towards a true real democracy and a more just and possible society.
Translation by Lulith V., from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!