• Live Elections 2023, last minute, live
  • 28-M The Government ensures "total transparency and maximum guarantee" in the 28-M after the controversy over vote buying

Feijóo will have to celebrate tonight, even if it is to the points, by total number of votes in the municipal, if he intends to celebrate also at the end of the year in the generals. In this line point the precedents, the history of 45 years of democracy already, with its always juicy exceptions. But the usual, with nine of the 11 precedents as an endorsement, is that whoever wins in the fight for the councilors replicates the triumph months later with the deputies at stake.

In 1983, 1987 and 1991, the PSOE anticipated in the municipal elections its absolute majorities of 1986 and 1989 and the sufficient victory of 1993, in a very tight correlation of its percentages in local and national appointments. Also in symmetry, the first government of José María Aznar, in 1996, was preceded by the success of the PP in the municipal elections of May 1995.

Feijóo knows that the PSOE will not collapse tonight, because it has a well-consolidated structure throughout Spain, including territories such as Catalonia or the Basque Country, where the popular today suffer. The Socialists, even in the worst circumstances, in 1999, remained 0.2% of the PP that a few months later would have an absolute majority.

Precedents like that relieve some pressure on Genoa in this 28-M. If Sánchez resists, like that PSOE of 99 or like that of 2015, which, already in a sanchista key, was only two points behind the PP, it is not ruled out that months later it happens to him like Almunia with Aznar in 2000 or Sánchez himself before Rajoy in December 2015 and June 2016. The Galician leader added 6.7 and 10.4 points, respectively, apart from the municipal elections of 2015.

The PSOE relies on its territorial implantation to avoid the fall

The rule that whoever wins in the municipal elections anticipates his success in the general elections only fits three buts, which have all the exceptionality.

1. The UCD that won in 1979 was a rotten party that when the 1982 elections came was collapsing, to the glory of Felipe González.

2. The PP that prevailed in the local elections of 2007, still stretching the political and organizational golden age of Aznar to Camps, passing through Aguirre, was actually desnortado, with doubts about its national project to the point that it allowed Zapatero a last triumph.

AND 3. After the municipal elections of 2015, which the PP won by two points, such an uncertain time opened that there were three generals until the next municipal elections. Even so, in the first two Mariano Rajoy prevailed, to assert the historical transcendence and reliability of the local vote, but in the third he bowed to Pedro Sánchez. Of course, the current president faced the generals of April 2019 already from Moncloa, after a motion of censure and with his rival in full drift with the arrival to power of Pablo Casado, who was close to being surpassed by Citizens and a month later, in May, confirmed the downward trend of a PP that lost the municipal elections by more than seven points and a million and a half total votes.

This 2023, the PSOE sells municipal strength to a PP that wants the wave of its acronyms, with Ciudadanos already out, to reach all of Spain to win this 28-M by at least one million votes and put Pedro Sánchez on the way to the exit door of Moncloa. But parallel to these strategies, an old debate always arises. Do you vote in the villages thinking about Madrid?

The municipal failed as an advance with Zapatero in 2007

The election of mayors usually has a more personalistic than ideological tinge than when it comes to a regional or government president, and this is confirmed by experts and data. Toni Aira, professor of Political Communication at Pompeu Fabra University, underlines the power of the local candidate as "a determining point in the municipal elections". Factors such as "the personal brand, strength, charisma or power of the candidate" also influence, although, he adds, "they cannot be isolated from the global brand or state leadership." In this sense, the latest Sigma Dos survey for EL MUNDO confirms this fact: 36% of Spaniards argue that 28-M will give more importance to the candidate for mayor, compared to 20.9% who will take more into account the political formation.

According to the analysis of EL MUNDO, until 2011, inclusive, it was a pattern that was overwhelmingly fulfilled that the three most voted parties at the local level were also at the national level in the following elections. However, this trend is shattered in 2015 and is not fulfilled anywhere in 2019, except in Guipúzcoa and Lleida, Gallic villages conditioned by the nationalist vote.

The candidates of Barcelona Colau (En Comú), Parera (Valents), Trias (JxCAT), Collboni (PSC) and Sirera (PP). EFE

The 15-M of 2011 did not arrive on time, but the consolidation of its parties explains this change in trend. The emergence of Podemos and Ciudadanos caused a political tsunami. "They managed to remove traditional politics, bipartisanship," says Isaac Hernández, a political consultant and expert in communication and marketing. And, although it had an effect on the entire Spanish map, it did not have the same impact in all the autonomous communities. In Madrid, where everything was forged, the consequences have been perpetuated until today. Until 2015, the voting pattern was the same: a PP with vote percentages above 50%, and a very comfortable PSOE as a second force, have historically shared the podium with Izquierda Unida.

Vox aspires to a greater share of power if it has the key to governments

A situation that is repeated in most Spanish communities where 15-M played a very important role. "The Spanish electoral scenario is fragmented and there is no third force so consolidated," says Eduardo G. Vega, a political consultant and university professor. He warns, however, that in subsequent elections, "the importance of the role remains, but not its actors."

The changes in the Madrid pattern after the 2019 elections are very similar to those that occurred in Valencia. The left-wing political space proved how the hegemony achieved four years ago, and starring the entry of Podemos into the political landscape with different formulas -Unidos Podemos or Ahora Madrid-, disappears. In fact, the PSOE is the only formation on the podium with this ideology, placing itself as the first force, followed by the PP and Cs in the first, and Vox replacing the oranges in the second.

Galicia and Navarra stand out as regions that show differences in electoral behavior with respect to the rest and maintain a stable pattern even after 15-M. In the case of the Autonomous Community, the Union of the Navarrese People (UPN) always repeats as the first political force from 2003 to 2019, governing alone or in coalition. In Galicia, on the other hand, the majority of votes go to the PP, which is followed by the Socialists, and after them the Galician Nationalist Bloc, which only in the electoral cycle of 2015 and 2016 sees how the En Marea alliance complicates their permanence. In Catalonia and the Basque Country, the nationalist factor distorts, and the regionalist one in other places such as Cantabria with the PRC or, recently, with Teruel Hay in Aragon or the threat of incursion of other forces of the movement of Emptied Spain in the rest of the political and electoral map.

This 28-M will also be a relevant test for Vox, with all the margin to grow after achieving only 2.9% and 660,000 votes in 2019. With a "national brand", as analyzed by political scientist Pablo Simón, Santiago Abascal's party has sought an absolutely centralized campaign, which allows it to use its strength in Congress and the figure of its leaders to enter parliaments where they did not do so in 2019, managing to increase its implementation.

The results of Colau or Más Madrid will affect Yolanda Díaz

Political scientist Lluís Orriols stresses that the local and regional elections will also clarify the idea that Vox is not a radical far-right anti-system party. Rather that it is "a radical right-wing party that wants to condition the conservative governments of the Popular Party", unlike the first cycle where the party tried to stay out of governability. He points out that this fact has already been digested by a large part of public opinion, which would confirm that the bloc policy is a reality and would not give rise to surprises. Above all, taking into account that Orriols describes Vox as a "docile ally for the Popular Party", despite the messages of the campaign in which Vox has insisted that it will not be the "broom car" of Genoa nor will it settle, where it has to enter governments, with second-tier political or economic portfolios. The party of Santiago Abascal came to regret having been too "generous" in the last four years with the governments of the PP.

He will also look closely at the results of 28-M Sumar, the platform of the second vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz. She does not run, nor does the name of the coalition appear anywhere at the moment, but her brand will inevitably be linked to the performance of Más Madrid, Compromís or Ada Colau in Barcelona. Good results can take a lot of space away from Podemos, which will alter the negotiating capacity of each party. The purple, on the other hand, practically trust their survival to overcome 5% in the Community of Madrid and in the Valencian Community so as not to disappear completely from the most powerful Assemblies that are formed this Sunday.

It will be his penultimate bullet, and perhaps the last of Ciudadanos, with a campaign in which he has not managed to get his head out or challenge polls that predict his disappearance, with the only hope that Begoña Villacís can maintain representation in Madrid capital.

The numbers

7.03%: THE 2019 ADVANTAGE. The PSOE achieved a very clear victory in the municipal elections four years ago, with more than a million and a half advantage over the PP, which could now turn around.

36%: WHY VOTE. More than a third of Spaniards value the candidate of their locality as the most important thing when voting in a municipal election, according to the latest Sigma Dos survey for EL MUNDO.

660,000: VOX WILL GROW. Even with little territorial structure, the party of Santiago Abascal won 660,000 votes and less than 3% in the last municipal elections. It is, without a doubt, the party with the most options to grow in this Sunday's elections and alter the political map.

  • Municipal Elections
  • Pedro Sanchez
  • Alberto Núñez Feijóo
  • Ada Colau
  • Yolanda Diaz
  • PSOE

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Learn more