Monday, May 23, 2011

Spain Makes A Sharp Right Turn: Socialist's suffer biggest defeat ever at the hands of the Popular Party

Yesterday's local and regional elections resulted in a landslide victory for the right-wing Popular Party (Partido Popular, aka PP), and the biggest defeat in 30 years for the Socialist Party.

Elections for regional governments were held in 13 of Spain's 17 Autonomous Regions, and in none of them did the Socialist Party receive a majority vote. The PP will now govern in several Autonomous Regions, including Castilla-La Mancha where the Socialists have held power since Spain's return to Democracy in the late 1970s. Although they lost in Extremadura, too, the Socialists will probably be able to hold onto power there by forming a minority government with a minor party, United Left.

In the many provincial and municipal provincial government elections which were also held yesterday, the news was just as bad for the Socialist Party. This included losing control of Barcelona's and Seville's city halls, two other long time Socialist bastions.

In Guipúzcoa province and the city of San Sebastián, which are both located in the Autonomous Region known as the Basque Country, the recently formed separatist party Bildu obtained more votes than the Socialists to come in second to the more moderate Basque Nationalist Party (BNP). Before the election the courts had considered banning Bildu due to allegations of connections to the armed terrorist group ETA.

In Spain, voters can cast what is called a 'blank vote' - meaning none of the above. This year there were some 500,000 blank votes, or 2.54 per cent of all votes cast. This was the highest number of bank votes in Spain's history.

Despite the overwhelming loss, Spain's Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader announced he would not step down and has refused calls to move up national parliamentary elections, which are planned for spring 2012.

Of course these elections took place against the backdrop of large protests being held in city centers across the country. The elections may be over, but the protests are not.

Today's El País in English has a closer look at all of this: PP inflicts massive electoral defeat on Socialists.

And EuroNews has the following video report:

Hasta luego amig@s,

Carloz

Related posts:

Zapatero’s Socialists Head for Vote Defeat in Spain as Protesters March

Inspired by Arab Protests, Spain's Unemployed Rally for Change

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