18/04/2021

Madrid 4-M: a battle that will end up affecting Catalonia

2 min

It is clear that the elections in the Community of Madrid on 4 May are not just another regional election, but will have a strong impact on Spanish politics and, incidentally, also on Catalan politics. Broadly speaking, the Madrid elections could mean from the definitive shift of the PP towards the extreme right (with a government with Vox) to the beginning of the end of Ciudadanos and its leader, Inés Arrimadas, and, if there is a surprise, the arrival of the left to power 27 years later. Whatever the result, then, there will be direct consequences on the Spanish political map.

The most foreseeable outcome, however, is a big victory for Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who would swallow all of Cs, and a PP-Vox coalition government. Only if the extreme right does not reach the threshold of 5% of the votes would the conservative hegemony be endangered, but this is an unlikely scenario. The populism of open bars and few restrictions compared to the rest of the State has managed to hide the disastrous data of contagions and deaths in the Community. This, coupled with an uncomplicated and aggressive personality and promises of tax cuts, has made Ayuso the heroine of the right.

A victory for the PP and Vox would put an end to Pablo Casado's moderate turn and force him to abandon any possibility of a pact with Sánchez. This, however, does not necessarily have to be negative for independence, since without the possibility of reaching state pacts with the PP, Sánchez could only look to his investiture partners. Even so, the political climate would become more polarised and the media noise against the PSOE-UP government would multiply.

However, a victory for the left would mean an even bigger earthquake, since it would deprive the PP of a historic fiefdom that is now Sánchez's main counter-power. With Ayuso and the more radical PP out of the game, Sánchez would find it easier to take risky decisions regarding Catalonia, such as pardoning prisoners or reforming the Penal Code. And he would also be able to start more comfortably on the road to the dialogue table.

Be that as it may, it is alarming that there is no in-depth debate in Madrid on what it could mean for Vox to enter an autonomous government. It is true that Ayuso's discourse is not very different from that of Rocío Monasterio, but in the PP there are still moderate sectors that can act as a counterweight. With Vox in government, however, the political climate in Madrid will be unbreathable, and the image of Spain in general, and of the PP in particular, in the European Union will be tarnished. Because it will be a classist, ultra-nationalist, reactionary and xenophobic government like those of Poland or Hungary that Brussels has often denounced.

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