It's a long time since they have been able to celebrate anything at the Partido Popular's Calle Génova headquarters in Madrid. In fact, leader Pablo Casado was about to start the party's move to new premises. But today there has been joy at the base of the PP top brass, although probably joy at someone else's happiness: the new president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has swept almost all before her and will be able to repeat her position thanks to far-right Vox, from whom she does not shrink. She only fell four seats short of an absolute majority on her own, with 99% of votes counted. The idea of "going for a beer" and her unique concept of "liberty" have defeated the quotations of Hegel and Kant. In this way, the Popular Party will retain the jewel in its crown, where it has reigned for 26 years. But with a very personal project that overshadows the strategy of the national leadership. The campaign of the left, and a record-breaking turnout were to no avail. Toni Cantó, former actor whose political hop from Ciudadanos into the arms of Ayuso was replicated by thousands of voters, did not miss the party and at 8pm he was already at Calle Génova.
In fact, when the polls closed there was already fiesta grande at the Génova HQ. A disc-jockey mixed the latest Spotify tunes with older pop español and proclamations against Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. And the justification for the excesses was confirmed after a long vote count: with 70% of the vote, Ayuso had won 64 seats, almost twice as many as two years ago. More seats than the three parties of the left, put together. And with the far right of Vox, it was enough to break the absolute majority threshold. The extremists' abstention would be enough for Ayuso to become president. Vox leader Rocío Monasterio withstood the impact of results: the ultras rose from 12 to 13 seats. On the other hand, Ciudadanos goes from election defeat to election disaster and now to annihilation. If in Catalonia's election they lost 30 seats, in Madrid they have lost everything: from 26 to zero MPs in just two years. Tomorrow's will be a very bitter hangover.
For the left, it has also been a bleak night. In fact, as a symptom, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) stayed in the government palace following the count, without presenting himself at either the party headquarters at Calle Ferraz or the campaign base of candidate Ángel Gabilondo. Turnout increased massively, to 75%, but did not go the way they calculated. The PSOE crashed, from finishing first in the 2019 election with 37 seats, to scraping their way to far less than half the seats of Ayuso, with just 24. Left alternative Más Madrid has improved its results, and at the last overtook the Socialists, rising from 20 to 24 seats. And the presence of Pablo Iglesias also served to raise Unidas Podemos from 7 to 10 deputies. But it was way too little and the Podemos leader announced at the end of the night that he is leaving politics.
Such was the euphoria on Ayuso's election night that, with only 25% of the vote counted, the candidate's team were already thinking about forming a government. In circles close to the incumbent president "very rapid agreements" are envisaged. The only obstacle is the constitution of the Assembly of Madrid, which will not take place until June 8th, but then the idea is to form the executive "in a jiffy."
And what about Catalonia?
The first conclusions in terms of effects on Catalonia go in two directions. First of all, the temptation to do deals with Ciudadanos has disappeared from the plans of Pedro Sánchez, who will be even more doomed to the progressive majority with Unidas Podemos, the Catalan Republican Left and the other pro-independence and nationalist parties. Second, this will force him to comply with deals he has made with those partners. The first test of fire will be the pardons for the Catalan political prisoners. These are only awaiting the report from the Supreme Court, which will then pass to the consideration of the government. The Sánchez executive has pledged for months that it will not delay the procedure. It remains to be seen whether it will withstand the pressure in the ambience, which it will feel intensely, from the Community of Madrid headquarters at the Puerta del Sol - whether or not the far right obtains seats on the executive.