The left closes ranks against a PP-Vox government in Madrid

Gabilondo changes his strategy and reaches out to Podemos: "Pablo, we have 12 days to win the elections"

3 min
The candidates for the Madrid elections

MadridEverything pointed to it being a debate of all against Isabel Díaz Ayuso, or Ayuso against all. But nothing could have been further from the truth. The only appointment between the six candidates for the Madrid elections became last night a fight between blocks - right against left -, but also a struggle between Vox and Ciudadanos to try to have the key to the next government of the PP, as most polls suggest. In short: it became an attempt by PSOE, Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos to try to warn of the risk that the PP forming a government with the extreme right could pose, not only for the Spanish capital - but also for the State.

After a weak campaing start, the socialist candidate, Ángel Gabilondo, tried to change his strategy. While he had initially made a clean slate for the leader of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, branding him an extremist and putting him in the same bag as Vox, yesterday he reached out to him. "Pablo, we have twelve days to win the elections", Gabilondo said after betting on a government that includes Más Madrid but also Cs.

Iglesias capitalised much of the left-wing discourse during the debate on Telemadrid and starred in the toughest confrontation with the Madrid president. With a rather flat Gabilondo - the moderator had to keep reminding him that it was his turn to intervene - the Unidas Podemos candidate took advantage of the debate to have his moment in the campaign. The polls do not reflect the momentum in which he trusted and continue to place him as the fourth force, behind the party created by Iigo Errejon and that has Monica Garcia as a candidate.

Covid-19 deaths

Madrid's president did not go off script for a moment: she avoided attacking Vox, which may be her future coalition partner, while the candidate of the ultra party, Rocío Monasterio, took every opportunity to repeat the racist proclamations of the poster against unaccompanied minors. The left, in turn, also put into practice its non-aggression pact, which only faltered when taxes were discussed and Gabilondo boasted about his promise not to raise taxes while Unidas Podemos called for higher taxes on assets of more than one million euros. In the midst of this scenario Garcia was released, who tried to confront her experience as a doctor with Ayuso's bad data on the pandemic.

The first part of the debate was monopolised by the coronavirus, with the candidates accusing each other of the thousands of deaths caused by covid. The president of Madrid tried to remove the criticism by denying the data that put the Community of Madrid in the worst situation and assuring that "the deaths are everyone's". On the orders not to refer elderly people from nursing homes to hospitals during the first wave, which both Iglesias and Gabilondo recalled, he said that "these deaths could not have been avoided".

Ayuso has a combative profile. She is never silent, she is always ready with a grandiloquent phrase with which to respond. To any question or criticism from the left she responded with disqualification or with a new question, questioning the data and disengaging the opponent. Iglesias called her a "pantomime" and said that if it were up to her, Gabilondo would never be Ombudsman.

The PSOE candidate grew up attacking the PP candidate for calling the people in the hunger queues "subsidised", but Monasterio rescued the Madrid president by responding to the issue. Ayuso avoided intervening when Vox and Cs entered into a heated debate about her role in the government, but did not hesitate to attack the oranges to present her management in Madrid as good. "If the Cs councillors were so good, why are none of them on your list", she asked the orange candidate, Edmundo Bal. If the orange candidates don't make it, the PP only has Vox left.