With the attacks on anti-pandemic restrictions, conservative Isabel Díaz Ayuso, 42, is expected to guarantee her return on Tuesday (4) to the government of Madrid, the richest region in Spain, with considerable weight in national politics .
Since early March, when he resigned after breaking up with his coalition partner, Ciudadanos, Ayuso has dropped from 35% to 41% of voting intentions. If confirmed, the figures should leave it close to the 69 seats that guarantee the majority in the Regional Assembly.
The political communication specialist also saw the advantage of her Popular Party (PP) of more than doubling the main rival, the socialist PSOE, of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, whose candidate, Ángel Gabilondo, fell from 26% to 22%.
On a battlefield dominated by the pandemic, Ayuso banked on people’s fatigue with restrictions and quarantines, attacked the central government for harming Madrid, and adopted the word “Freedom” as its slogan.
Defining herself as a libertarian, she set less strict limits on bars and restaurants, arguing that it would be impossible to close them before 11 p.m. in a town known for its late-night habits.
“Probably in other provinces everything ends at 8 pm,” he said – in some areas the curfew starts at 6 pm. “In the Madrid lifestyle, people work responsibly and are treated like adults,” he said, defending his strategy.
As a result, he won election cables in the entertainment industry – bars and restaurants exhibited photos and banners thanking the candidate – and attracted part of voters from other parties.
The softer measures have been pointed out by the opposition as being responsible for the increase in the Covid-19 contagion rate in Madrid, one of the highest in Spain. Ayuso, however, says the numbers are lower than in neighboring countries, like France, and are justified by population density.
The confrontation with the Sánchez administration gave rise to heated exchanges of statements. The governor accused the central government of “a pathetic and disgusting attempt to spread fear for electoral purposes” and attributed to the prime minister “a radical style like that of Venezuela”. Sánchez criticized him for resorting to “insults, provocations and polarization”.
During the campaign, Ayuso made it clear that on its opposite pole is the left. “Communism or Freedom,” she wrote on her social network when leftist Pabro Iglesias, from Vamos, left the central government to run in Madrid.
Left-wing protesters fought back with the slogan “Democracy or fascism”, to which it tripled: “When they call you a fascist, you know you’re on the right side of history.” an interview a support of the acronym “is not the end of the world”.
Conservative politicians have said they want to rule alone: ”Coalitions are not good, especially at times when far-reaching reforms need to be implemented to restore normal life in Madrid.”
But, if he doesn’t achieve a majority of the 69 seats, he’ll still need Vox for a confidence deal in a minority government. With around 4% of voting intentions, Ciudadanos risks being out of the Assembly for not having reached the 5% mark.
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, the novelty of recent weeks is the growth of the acronym Más Madrid, which heralds a feminist, social-democratic and eco-socialist platform.
Led by candidate Mónica Garcia, 47, the Green Party carried the voices of the left and came in third place on the eve of the elections, with 16% of voting intentions.