Andalusia marks the starting point of the general elections

The parties began this Thursday night the campaign in Andalusia, but the Andalusians are on their way to Rocío, in the late carnivals of Cádiz, in the fairs and in the pilgrimages willing to share the joy and take away the sorrows after the parenthesis of two pandemic years. There is campaign, but it is not seen. “Flat” is the adjective used by most of the people consulted. Andalusia is the starting point of a long electoral cycle that will culminate in the fall of 2023, if there is no advance of the general elections. In between and in spring, the municipal and regional ones. The result will be scrutinized with a magnifying glass in the formations with national implantation, for what may happen later. The voter census in the most populous community in Spain for the twelfth Andalusian elections on June 19 is 6.6 million people; of them, 302,446 are released voting.

All the polls smile at the PP candidate and president of the Board, Juan Manuel Moreno. And they are all: the official ones from the CIS and the Andalusian Studies Center, and the private ones like the 40dB one. for EL PAÍS and SER. But it is not the first time that the popular ones come out as favorites in some Andalusian regional elections with the wind in their favor. It already happened in 1996 and 2012. The former lost them and the latter won them, but they had no one to join and remained in the opposition. They know it very well in the Andalusian PP that every day gives the same order to their own – “cool down, cool down!” – to lower expectations.

In the polls, the PP adds by itself and can also agree to its right — that is, to its extreme right — if the disappearance of Ciudadanos is confirmed. The entire campaign of Moreno, the new mambo king of Andalusian politics, as the socialist Manuel Chaves was in his day with his two million votes, is directed towards the same objective: to achieve more seats than the entire left together to avoid appoint the Vox candidate, Macarena Olona, ​​vice president of the Board. He believes that, if the numbers give, the party of Santiago Abascal will have to abstain as it happened in Madrid. Abascal denies it; abstention has a price: entering San Telmo, the seat of the Andalusian Executive. At least for now.

The polls tell Moreno that this goal is possible. And he hits on the same message: call for a useful vote, address the voter “disenchanted” with the PSOE (he wants to attract 100,000 socialist voters), warn against “coalitions of trouble”, mark compliance with the Statute of Autonomy as a red line , even warn that there may be an electoral repetition. Which means that his main and only concern is Vox.

Moderation and flat campaign

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The machinery of the PP is at full capacity and its militants, highly mobilized. In this party they admit that they have designed a flat campaign, without confrontations, they want to sell moderation. When the Andalusian president called the elections, three questions were noted on the PP blackboard: will Moreno surpass the entire left? Will Juan Espadas improve the results of Susana Díaz? Will Olona win more seats than Ciudadanos? There are 15 days left to clear those three Xs, but the popular say that “the three unknowns are going to be good”.

In the PP they are surprised by the PSOE campaign, convinced that “every day that goes by without anything happening is a success” for their candidate. “The PSOE is Goliath, but he has a stone on his head,” describes another, raising his eyebrows.

The first difficulty that the Andalusian Socialists admit in this electoral call with respect to all the previous ones is that they had never campaigned in the opposition. “Without the Board, the PSOE is on the wrong foot and people join the winning horse,” says a leader. “The slipstream of the Government is very strong, there is no electoral environment and the party is not reaching society,” says another. His candidate, Juan Espadas, affirms at the rallies that he is going out to win, but all the Socialists privately admit that the objective is to obtain a result “a little better” than the one obtained by Susana Díaz in 2018: 33 seats. They believe that this is their land, but nothing is written yet.

The professor of Political Science at the University of Granada Ángel Cazorla points out: “Right now I don’t see signs of socialist recovery in the indicators. The key is the abstentionists (around 40%), there is some room for maneuver there, but I don’t see miracles”. The teacher from Granada echoes a doubt that is also opening up in the PSOE. Swords was the best candidate that the PSOE had? “Susana Díaz left scorched earth and the PSOE needs a long time to rebuild the party. Swords is a good politician, with management experience, but now in elections he gives priority to emotions, affections and illusion and Swords represents the past. He does not have powerful charisma”. There are not a few socialist and non-socialist leaders who are now wondering why Pedro Sánchez did not force his Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, to take the witness after the loss of the Board in 2018.

The President of the Government will have visited all the provinces in the pre-campaign and campaign, but from the PSOE they already warn that they will not read the result in a national code. “[Las elecciones] they are merely autonomous,” the spokesman for the federal executive, Felipe Sicilia, said on Thursday on Radio Nacional, when asked if 19-J will mean a change of cycle.

The presence of the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, in support of the Por Andalucía coalition will be modest: a couple of events. Díaz was decisive in forcing Podemos to accept the candidacy of Inma Nieto (IU) for the presidency of the Board. The confluence is born with many doubts about its viability. Like everything else, it will depend on the results and on whether Teresa Rodríguez, finally alone with her troop, gives her a lot of competition.

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