It is probable that the Catalan parties have never before been so conscious of an election as minor and far away as that of the Community of Madrid, whose campaign began on Sunday and whose ballots will be counted on Tuesday, May 4th. There are several reasons that set these elections apart and make them a double plebiscite: on Pedro Sánchez and on Isabel Díaz Ayuso. The Socialist prime minister has thrown himself into the fray to stop the PP autonomous community leader and prevent her from remaining in government with the support of far-right Vox in a risky move which, if it does not go well, will affect the Spanish legislature, the deals, agreements and commitments. Among them, the pardons to the Catalan political prisoners spread around the prisons of Lledoners, Wad-Ras and Puig de les Basses.
Sánchez knows that he will have to make a move because this was the commitment he made to win ERC's approval for the last government budget and he has been delaying taking action, first because of the Catalan elections on February 14th and now with those of May 4th. If the Socialists were to stumble in Madrid it would be a personal defeat for Sánchez, and would open him up on a number of political fronts, strengthen the discourse of the political right, give the most conservative part of the judiciary wings to fly, but, on the other hand, it would place the 13 deputies of ERC and, if the pro-independence agreement is total, the 23 parliamentarians who make up the joint sum of Junts, PDeCAT and the CUP, in the centre of the Spanish political chessboard. Initiatives such as the amnesty law presented and rejected in Congress would have a different course if the independence movement went all out and did not just carry out mere posturing to satisfy its party base.
Obviously, it would also have an impact on the failed dialogue table in which the Spanish government has never believed but which has allowed it to give a false image to public opinion of a party engaged in dialogue when, in practice, there has been no substantial difference in terms of the repression of the independence movement from the actions of Mariano Rajoy's PP government. I understand that this view in Catalonia might bother the PSOE and Podemos government; I would like to say the opposite but I do not find evidence to support it.
All this is at stake in Madrid on May 4th in the middle of a campaign in which, strangely enough, the right will focus the spotlight on the concessions that have been made to the independence movement. Concessions that have never existed but have already been proving useful for Sánchez in the political game of the capital, to postpone his agreements and pardons time and time again. And continue playing games with the liberty of political prisoners.