Without weapons against the 'good' Juanma
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno, during his visit to the hermitage of El Rocío, in Almonte (Huelva).
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno, during his visit to the hermitage of El Rocío, in Almonte (Huelva).Alejandro Ruesga (THE COUNTRY)

Not long ago, third-year Political Science and Sociology students at the University of Granada were asked in a seminar to write five positive and five negative things about the Andalusian coalition government presided over by the popular Juan Manuel Moreno on a piece of paper. “Nobody wrote anything. It is a perfect strategy, it has no ups and downs”, says Professor Ángel Cazorla. Now all the parties are looking for a way to erode the PP candidate – whose motto pivots between Juanma, president Y Andalusia advances― and they have realized, with 13 days left in the campaign, that they are late. Very late.

Before, in the almighty Andalusian PSOE those responsible for the campaigns transferred papers and a piece of advice, which they followed to the letter: the elections begin to prepare the day after the last ones. But at this moment, in which all the polls predict that the political change produced on the night of December 2, 2018 —when the right wing added more than the left—, will be consolidated on June 19, in the PSOE there have been face to face with a reality: they do not know how to combat Moreno’s “ghost of goodness”, in the words of one leader.

Moreno, according to data from the CIS and the Center for Andalusian Studies, gets an average score of 6.1, which means that the voters of the PSOE, Vox, Ciudadanos and, to a lesser extent, the left-wing coalitions give him a high score. In the PSOE and in Vox they know it; also in the PP. “Attacking Moreno turns against them,” they say from the Andalusian president’s campaign team. “It is difficult to fight, it likes it well, it has no flanks,” they recognize from the PSOE, where he believes that “reversing this situation is now impossible” and that the best thing at this point is to dedicate himself to mobilizing his own.

In Por Andalucía, the coalition of Izquierda Unida, Podemos, Más País and three other formations, also have difficulties to hit the key. “He disguises himself with his little jacket, his cap, as a social worker, as a firefighter to deceive people!” IU coordinator Toni Valero cried out this Saturday in an act with the candidate Inma Nieto in San Pedro de Alcántara ( Malaga) which was attended by some 50 people. Teresa Rodríguez, from Adelante Andalucía, coined the term “suavón” to describe Moreno, an Andalusian expression that has been copied by socialists such as the candidate for the Junta, Juan Espadas, or the Navarrese Santos Cerdán and that more or less defines a person good people and harmless, but then you can play it. Moreno, as well as the vice president of the Board and candidate for Ciudadanos, Juan Marín, and Juan Espadas, went to El Rocío this Saturday, where experts say there are a million pilgrims. They said that they were not on campaign, but visiting the White Dove.

If Moreno has reached that degree of acceptance, it has not been only on his own merits, despite governing with the external support of Vox, but because in the three and a half years of the legislature, dominated by the pandemic, the PSOE “has not not a single feather removed, it is immaculate”, admit many socialist leaders. On the contrary, the PP, whether it was with Mariano Rajoy, Pablo Casado or now with Alberto Núñez Feijóo —who shakes up the campaign in favor of Moreno, but without changing things around— from the very minute that Pedro Sánchez arrived at the Presidency of the Government four years ago have not stopped trying to demonize it. Moreno is also in those: “A severe defeat of the PSOE will put the Government of Sánchez in a difficult situation.”

Giselle García Hípola, a political scientist at the University of Granada, maintains: “The PP has not changed anything and in the end what is generated is a feeling of conformity.” His colleague Fernando Fernández-Llebrez highlights Moreno: “The PP has managed to break down barriers such as being identified with the Andalusian gentleman, as happened to Javier Arenas, but Moreno has a flatter, more popular perception and the institutionalization of the Board, and the weakness of the PSOE has allowed it to position itself in the political center”. He points to another piece of information to explain the rise of the right-wing vote in Andalusia and the stagnation of the PSOE: “Pedro Sánchez’s identification with the independence movement. That does tremendous damage. In eastern Andalusia there is a very important link with the charnego world and the Catalan theme has an influence”.

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Vox does not ignore it and its leader Santiago Abascal repeats that “the sanchista party is subject to the coup plotters”, as he stated on Friday night in the middle of Asunción street in Seville, where in 2015 he gathered just 10 people and now numbered more than a thousand. His candidate, Macarena Olona, ​​avoids talking about Moreno, avoids questions from journalists and claims “the great deeds of Spain and not those of Blas Infante.” Vox reported this Saturday that Olona has not left her seat in Congress, as her applicant promised, to “maintain her current status” as a State attorney in special services. In the registered document, she notifies the Chamber of her resignation, “which will take effect as soon as she acquires the status of regional deputy”, something to which she is obliged by law because they are incompatible positions.

Does that mean you fear a discreet outcome? Abascal has put into circulation the theory that the PP and PSOE will rehearse the “grand coalition” in Andalusia and that the left can abstain to let Moreno govern and close the door to Vox, as the candidate of Por Andalucía pointed out to EL PAÍS. In the Andalusian PSOE that debate flies over; and in the unions, too. Now it does not play, but it will open depending on the results on the night of June 19. “It will be necessary to see if the PSOE takes it as a matter of State because the entry of Vox in the Board is a democratic problem, or as an electoral matter because it believes that it will give it feedback,” says Professor Fernández-Llebrez. In this case, the Political Science students of the University of Granada would not return the blank pages when they are asked to write down positive and negative facts about the PP Government. And in the PSOE they know it.

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