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El Partido Popular madrileño consiguió 65 de 136 escaños en las elecciones regionales. Photo: Europa Press
Madrid's People' Party won 65 out of 136 seats in the regional elections. Photo: Europa Press.

The right wing consolidates in Madrid in an election marked by COVID and death threats

There were no surprises. Appealing to "freedom," Díaz Ayuso's PP has claimed victory but will probably need to make a pact with the ultra-right to be able to…

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The early elections held in the Spanish capital on 4 March have only served to confirm the country's great political polarization and strengthen Isabel Díaz Ayuso's People's Party (PP), which has increased its support by far since the last elections, winning 65 of the 136 seats.

A landslide victory that has even provoked the resignation of the leader of the radical left-wing United Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, who already resigned as vice-president of the central government to wrest the center from Ayuso.

Iglesias has had to surrender to the evidence that despite the criticisms of Ayuso's anti-confinement management, the people are with her. Or, at the very least, too fed up with the pandemic. And, they turned out to vote this week in record numbers with a turnout of over 76%. 

However, Ayuso does not have an absolute majority, so it looks like she will need the far-right Vox party to govern the Madrid region, an even more conservative shift that has made headlines in major European newspapers, along with the destabilization of the Spanish left parties. 

Terror and ballot boxes

All this against the backdrop of a very turbulent campaign, not only because of the global health crisis, but also because of the death threats that Spanish politicians and authorities began to receive in bullet-shaped envelopes at the end of May. 

The first envelopes were intercepted on 22 April and were addressed to the Minister of the Interior, Grande-Marlaska, the director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, and Iglesias himself, who was running for the presidency of the Community of Madrid. Meanwhile, Vox did not want to condemn the death letters and even questioned them.

The political climate prior to these extraordinary elections became even more tense when the Minister of Industry and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, received a letter with a bloody knife, the sender of which was finally located by the police. 

Díaz Ayuso was also the recipient of a threat but maintained, unlike her political rivals, that it should not be given importance so as not to fuel the spectacle and accused the left of using it as a strategy to win votes. 

Undoubtedly, the tension affected the general atmosphere, but also the dialectic and the crossfire between the parties. 

To the point of resurrecting old ghosts from the country's past when the 'Socialism or Freedom' touted by Ayuso during the campaign changed to "Communism or Freedom" the moment the leader of Podemos jumped on the bandwagon of the fight for the community.  To finally become "Freedom", as a way for the popular representative, expert in whipping up her incendiary phrases, to ask her voters to let her govern freely. For the people. Or without the people. 

Despite the bloody knives, the crossfire, the COVID and Ayuso's policy of not closing a single bar throughout the crisis, the reality is that these regional elections have had an unprecedented impact on national politics, perhaps providing a glimpse of what lies ahead. 

Where is the country and its capital headed? Certainly not towards tension. They have long since arrived there.

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