Almost four years after his unexpected electoral success in Andalusia -12 regional deputies and 10.1% of the vote- that catapulted him to the forefront of Spanish politics, Vox is playing it again on the same stage. In this time it has entered the institutions -Congress and Senate, local entities and regional parliaments- and has established itself as the third national political force. Last April, for the first time, it became part of a regional government, that of Castilla y León.
On 19-J Vox faces, however, the appointment with the polls without the fuel that fueled its meteoric rise: the pro-independence órdago. Although its embers are sometimes rekindled, the Catalan fire is currently perimeter and controlled, and no longer polarizes society.
But the biggest change in the political scenario is the turnaround in the situation of the PP. Vox broke into 2018 at a time when Rajoy had just been removed from La Moncloa and the right was disoriented. Pablo Casado never managed to consolidate himself as an alternative government, and the arrival of Alberto Núñez Feijóo to the presidency of the PP, with his temperate spirit, seemed to leave more room for the ultra party. However, the expectations of victory that the new popular leader has raised act like a magnet in the Vox electorate, which to a large extent continues to function as a communicating vessel with that of the PP.
To meet this challenge, Abascal has turned to one of his best-known figures, Macarena Olona, instead of trusting everything to the match brand as he did in Castilla y León. With no relation to the community he aspires to preside over, Olona has surrounded himself with the folkloric imagery associated with Andalusia north of Despeñaperros: he has dressed as a gypsy and his face on electoral posters evokes the brunette of Julio Romero de Torres , that of the old 100-peseta bills and the song by Manolo Escobar. He has not managed to silence the controversy over his irregular registration in Salobreña (Granada) and his resignation deferred (postponed until the Andalusian Parliament is constituted) to the seat in Congress.
Despite this, José Pablo Ferrándiz, director of Public Opinion at IPSOS, believes that Vox is consolidating its positions against a PP candidate, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, who has opted for a “low tone” and is trying to “tiptoe over” for the campaign. He considers that Olona took advantage of the first electoral debate and, as a novelty, underlines the large number of people under 25 who express their intention to vote for Vox.
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The sector that continues to resist is the female sector. All demographic studies confirm that the electorate of the ultra party is the most masculinized, in a ratio of 60-40. Olona has made the flag of an anti-feminist speech, attacking the quotas, which she claims degrade women (although she has been designated by Abascal’s finger and has not given any rally without him), and against the laws that try to combat sexist violence , which according to Vox discriminate against men.
The other axis of his campaign has been the rejection of immigration. The vice-president of the party, Jorge Buxadé, has accused the residents of a shanty town in Campohermoso (Almería) of being “drones and stowaways”, people who, Buxadé affirmed, “live by stories, hooked on electricity”, even if they do , he acknowledged, “without water, in deplorable conditions.” Vox has included for the first time in its program the “national preference” in social aid (that is, the priority of Spaniards when it comes to receiving rental aid or dining room scholarships compared to regular immigrants or community citizens), which violates EU treaties. Except in certain areas, such as western Almeria, immigration is not part of the concerns of Andalusians, but it is of the majority of Vox voters, according to a 40dB study.
Although the axes of his campaign seem marginal (Olona barely talks about health or education), Vox’s objective is not so much to attract new voters as to retain those who have already voted for him. Not in the previous regional elections, but in the general elections of November 2019, when he received the support of almost 900,000 Andalusians, 20.61% of the total. Vox managed in Castilla y León to transfer to the regional elections the more than 200,000 votes that it had obtained in that community in the legislative elections. If it repeats the operation in Andalusia, it will have resisted the feijoo effect. Another thing will be if the accounts come out to demand Juan Manuel Moreno, if he turns out to be the winner, to put him in his government.
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