Andalucia turns right - sharply
Huge ballot blow for PM's PSOE in the region - where it is set to lose power for the first time in four decades as extreme-right-wingers Vox get a shocking 12 regional MP seats
PM PEDRO Sánchez's PSOE party won, and completely lost the regional elections in Andalucía on Sunday.
Although it continues to be the most voted party in Spain's largest region, acting regional president Susana Díaz - who fought for national party leadership was defeated by Sánchez - is set to lose her office in San Telmo, the seat of the Andalucían regional government.
The PSOE obtained only 33 seats (14 less that before) and lost the support of around half-a-million voters. With the overall majority line standing at 55, even the 17 obtained by Adelante Andalucía (Podemos) will be insufficient to form a left-wing regional government.
Podemos, in alliance with Izquierda Unida, lost three seats in comparison to the 2015 vote and sees its support in the region plummet.
Losers but winners
The PP party also lost support and reached only 26 seats (33 in 2015), but it becomes the second most-voted party in the region and avoid a dreaded overtaking by centrists Ciudadanos. The regional results were celebrated as a national victory with PP party leader Pablo Casado taking the limelight in the celebrations on Sunday evening.
The PP will be expecting support by Ciudadanos, another winner on Sunday that more than doubled its number of regional MPs (21, only nine in 2015). However, on Monday regional Ciudadanos leader Juan Marín said he would be presenting his name as regional president because Ciudadanos 'was the only party to have largely increased its support to change things in the region'.
Far right comes forward
A PP-Ciudadanos agreement would still fall short of a majority and the only alternative will be the support of far-right party Vox.
This is the first time a farright party has obtained a significant result in an election in Spain, the fact that it has occurred in the left-wing stronghold of Andalucía makes it even more surprising.
Vox, that broke-off from the PP, demanding a move to the right, has obtained 12 seats - poll surveys gave them one and on Saturday its leader said eight would be a 'huge success'.
Vox did not even have a manifesto for the region, as one of its main targets is the centralisation of Spain and the gradual elimination of regional power. It also has strong view on immigration, family policies and the defence of Spain and its symbols - which according to Vox include bullfighting and game hunting.
The PSOE had 'dared' the PP and Ciudadanos to rule the regional 'hand-in-hand' with the extreme-right wingers.
Charismatic Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has also shouted wolf! And has urged nationalist parties in Madrid to support the PSOE-Podemos budget to ensure sound government and 'block the fascists'.
As expected, the Andalucía results have been given a national reading.
The PSOE disaster is obvious and calling a general election today seems the worst possible option even if PM Pedro Sánchez cannot get enough support for the 2019 budget.
PP leader Pablo Casado has slightly reinforced his new leadership, although Ciudadanos and now Vox are eating away as his electorate from both ends.
Ciudadanos continues to be on the rise and has now confirmed its ability to get good results both in the richer northern region (it won the Catalan elections) and in the unemploymentstuck south. It seems ready to go head-to-head with 'traditional' parties PP and PSOE, and seems capable of agreeing with both, although in recent months it has been closer to the PP than to the Socialists.
To the left of the left, Podemos' bubble seems to be deflating and if Andalucía is anything to go by, it sinks way beyond the main players.
More worrying is the sudden popularity of Vox, which has existed for several year but has this weekend put its mark in national politics.
The arrival of the far-right wing actually follows a trend that has already flourished throughout Europe with the clear examples of France, Germany and Italy.
Their main target will be to convince voters they are not the supporters of the late dictator Franco's policies ('Franquistas')an accusation all other parties have made.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal (centre with Andalucia candidates during the campign