The PSOE has gone from governing Andalusia at will, to being forced to compete in elections in which, for the first time, it has been the PP that has imposed the rules of the game. And they could not be more terrifying for the socialists. The coincidence of the campaign with pilgrimages, carnivals and other popular festivities, combined with a little-known candidate —Juan Espadas— and the already crestfallen mood of the progressive electorate due to some polls in which they do not come back, has placed the Andalusians right where Juan Manuel Moreno wanted: in a flat campaign, if not non-existent for the general public. In Andalusia there is no electoral environment. The rallies take place in a kind of parallel reality. It is even difficult to find the posters of the candidates. With very low expectations, in which to improve the 33 seats of Susana Díaz in 2018 – the land of the Andalusian PSOE in some regional elections – would be sold as a good result, Pedro Sánchez called for an uproar at his first campaign rally and urged to mobilize “en masse” on June 19.
The feeling in the beach bars of Almería, more eager for tourists than for the outcome of 19-J, is the same as in big cities like Seville. The campaign is running smoothly. The PP wants it that way, without fuss or much noise, and the PSOE intends to burst that perception contrary to big changes. “There are reasons, there are reasons and above all there is a lot of pride to vote for the PSOE”, Pedro Sánchez stressed this Sunday in his speech, after showing his gratitude to the socialists “who always vote against all odds”.
La Moncloa and Ferraz are confident that the structure of the Andalusian PSOE, the most powerful in the party with a army of more than 45,000 militants and hundreds of mayors, inject the energy that it lacks into the candidacy. The arguments would be the social policies of the central government, with the boom in contracts after the labor reform and other flags such as the 1,000 euros minimum wage. And emphasizing that always with the PP against. But nobody hides the cost of the last three years, in which the once hegemonic party has had to learn to oppose. An impossible task when the socialist bench in the Andalusian Parliament was marked by the advisers of the last Executive, with Díaz at the head.
The relay in the Andalusian federation of the PSOE was completed less than a year ago. The last step in this internal transition has been the renewal of seven of the eight head of the list and 70% of the candidacy. “We have granted three years without opposing a PP that has done nothing,” summarizes a leader of Andalusian socialism. “Susana left the party a mess and Juan Manuel Moreno has shown the supreme intelligence that it was not noticed that there was a change of government in Andalusia,” says a baron of the PSOE.
“One of the great strengths we have is that one in every 200 Andalusians is a member of the PSOE,” contradicts a member of the federal leadership, who assures that the machinery “is more tense and oiled” as the days go by. “Let the right take hold, that we are just starting, the strength of the socialists is noticeable throughout the territory,” said Juan Espadas at a rally that brought together more than a thousand militants and supporters in the castle of the Marqués de los Vélez , in Cuevas de Almanzora (Almería). All that waste of confidence in one’s own forces would not have been convincing half an hour before the start of the rally, with half the seats empty. “More separated, that you are very close together and you have to occupy the bank”, asked a party worker to the early risers. In the end, there weren’t any chairs left and about 200 people remained standing. “The PSOE is one of the old diesels, one of those who press the accelerator to the full,” summed up a senior government official who was very knowledgeable about the party.
Polls like the 40dB one. for EL PAÍS and Cadena SER have warned of the coldness of PSOE voters: only 64.5% will go to vote for sure on 19-J. At the other extreme would be the PP voters (79.3%). Swords will try to get Moreno out of his comfort zone in Monday’s debate to plug the flight of the most conservative votes of the PSOE to the PP candidate. Leakage would be 10.5% based on 40dB. Another uncomfortable fact for the general secretary of the Andalusian PSOE is that 20% of respondents who declare themselves socialists believe that the PP candidate would be the best president for Andalusia. “Voting for the right and the extreme right are interchangeable votes: in the end they will end up understanding each other,” Sánchez warned the socialists tempted by the PP. Unattainable to discouragement, Espadas sees in the debate an opportunity to confront Moreno and influence the contradictions of the PP and the weak points of his management. And also to improve his level of knowledge among voters: 32.4% do not locate him, according to the CIS —27.4% of the Socialists— compared to 3.3% who do not put a face to the current president of the Board . Moreno will insist on obtaining the necessary support to govern alone, with permission from Vox. Another indirect handicap for the PSOE is that the head of the list of Por Andalucía, Inmaculada Nieto, is only known by 26.7% of Andalusians.
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The low and de-ideologized profile of the PP candidate to attract the largest number of voters for the “central lane” left another demonstration this Sunday. After the “green revolution” that was never heard of again, Moreno committed to a “water revolution” in the next legislature that alleviates the water deficit in Andalusia. A speech, on the occasion of World Environment Day, that collides squarely with the climate denialism of Vox.
The extreme right has also opted for a campaign under the radar. The premise is to go unnoticed so as not to ignite the spark that mobilizes the left. His public events are almost always at 8:30 p.m., an untimely schedule, especially for television. Her candidate, Macarena Olona (62.1% knowledge) is maintaining a much more discreet tone than she used to in Congress. The mattress has it: Vox was already the second force ahead of the PP in the last general elections in Huelva, Cádiz, Seville and Almería. In this last province, where the Socialists have only been the first force in the Andalusian provinces in 1996 and 2004 since the 1990s, it was precisely where the change in the motto of the PSOE campaign arose. From the transversal “The Andalusia you want” went to the much more personalized and remotely directed to socialist voters “If we vote, we win” coined by Antonio Enciso, a militant from Roquetas de Mar, bastion of the PP. “Moreno Bonilla wants a flat campaign and put the extreme right in the government. But that is not going to be because we socialists are going to go out to vote en masse to vote”, reiterated Espadas. Until 19-J that will be the mantra of the PSOE.
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