Submits the weight of political corruption scandals in the Andalusian vote
The former director of the extinct Andalusian Foundation Training and Employment Fund (Faffe), Fernando Villén, in the courts of Seville in 2018.
The former director of the extinct Andalusian Foundation Training and Employment Fund (Faffe), Fernando Villén, in the courts of Seville in 2018.PACO PUENTES (THE COUNTRY)

To what extent do the corruption scandals that the Andalusian PSOE carried out during its 36 years of uninterrupted management still condition the vote? Have the Socialists gotten rid of that heavy slab four years later, or do they still have ballots left?

Expert sociologists and political scientists reduce their influence, but note that the shadow of corruption still grips part of the socialist voters, who see how the main case of corruption, the fraudulent ERE, is not resolved and will continue to fester for many years. For many traditional PSOE voters, the shadow of suspicion remains over two former Andalusian presidents who were everything in the region, Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán, both convicted by the Seville Court and pending the Supreme Court ruling.

With Ciudadanos in free fall, the pre-election panorama favors the PP, which has spent these three and a half years in power without starring in major political corruption scandals. Only the progress of the judicial investigation into the case that revealed a B box in the PP of Almería, with payments to a construction company in exchange for illegal commissions for the party, can take its toll. However, its media coverage has been limited and it does not seem that corrupt practices that undermine the popularity of the party in a province that has been a traditional stronghold of the PP have penetrated among the citizens.

If in October 2018 —just before the last elections— corruption was the second problem for Andalusians (40.8% cited it in the CIS pre-election survey, a very high figure for experts); Now, the poll from the beginning of June for these elections places corruption in eighth place, with only 7.4% of the population citing it among the three main problems.

“It is not that there is more or less corruption, but it does denote the perception. People have a nebula of open cases in Andalusia with a limited effect on the vote. The slowness of the processes, some of them eternal, makes people ignore the culprits, lose perspective and its effect is minimized, ”says Gloria Martínez, sociologist and doctor in Political Administration Sciences from the University of Seville.

One of the reasons that brought down the Government of Susana Díaz in 2018 was corruption, added to wear and tear and other management reasons. Today that corruption grabs fewer headlines because the slowness of justice, its guarantee and a convoluted language do not engage the attention of the citizen: the fraudulent ERE, turned into a dinosaur with 35 pieces still without a trial date and another 100 in investigation, will have their most relevant sentence that concerns the political piece after the elections by decision of the justice, which traditionally tries not to interfere in the electoral processes.

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Former presidents Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán, during the trial of the political piece of the ERE case, in 2018.
Former presidents Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán, during the trial of the political piece of the ERE case, in 2018.Julio Munoz

The other macro-cause of active corruption in the Sevillian courts is Invercaria —which analyzes the investments of a venture capital company of the Board— and has thirty pieces, only six of them tried and most of them under investigation. Its impact is relative because the sentences —none ratified yet by the Supreme Court— are minor, there are no relevant political charges and the facts are linked to financial engineering and do not have a simple explanation for citizens. The faffe case He sent the former director of the Board Fernando Villén to the bench for allegedly spending 32,000 euros in brothels, but his public notoriety is less as a socialist position so that his prosecution manages to subtract ballots from the PSOE next June 19.

Jean-Baptiste Harguindéguy, professor of Political Science and Administration at the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, underlines another advantage of the PP over the PSOE in these upcoming regional elections: “The left-wing electorate forgives less than the right-wing, it is quite an important difference. Older voters are more benevolent towards corrupt politicians, and this overlaps with a socialist candidate who seems to be passing through and has yet to be consolidated”.

The link between politicians and electoral behavior has been analyzed in many scientific publications, and when asked why voters continue to vote for corrupt representatives, the answers vary depending on certain conditions. Among them, the existing electoral offer, the competition of politicians —a corrupt one can keep his seat due to his solvency— and how close the ideological link is between voter and representative, which makes an alternative ballot difficult.

“Today corruption is a problem that takes a certain second place among the concerns of citizens, the structural ones are inflation, the economy and unemployment, apart from others such as health management. The sentence of the ERE remains in the collective unconscious, but I already consider it amortized, although it is difficult for the PSOE to get rid of all that in a short time, ”considers Francisco Camas, director of public opinion research at the Ipsos firm.

in your article The electoral price of corruption: why do voters punish it so little? the professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Jordi Muñoz reflects: “The voter who finds himself in the position of having to decide whether or not to punish a representative involved in a corruption scandal, tends to look around him and needs to find an alternative that satisfies at least two conditions: that it is not too far away on the ideological spectrum and that it is perceived as clean or, at least, less corrupt than the one to be punished. Often they fail both requirements, or at least one of the two.

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