How Spain’s Left Lost Its Heartlands and Put the Hard Right on Brink of Power


London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Spain’s snap election campaign has reached a fever pitch, captivating the nation. However, in the scorching heat wave-stricken region of Andalusia, the socialists have been enduring a prolonged period of anxiety. On Sunday, Spaniards will exercise their democratic right as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for this unexpected vote, prompted by a significant defeat in the local elections held in May.

Unfortunately for Sanchez, the leader of the PSOE, the Partido Popular (PP), his center-right adversaries, are projected to emerge victorious. It is anticipated that they will form a coalition with the hard-right Vox party, further complicating the political landscape.

Heated Election Campaign

Speaking in Madrid on the final day of campaigning on Friday, Mr. Sanchez urged Spaniards to “place all their bets on red” in a last-ditch effort to rally his supporters. However, in Seville, the traditional stronghold of the Left, the country’s shift to the Right was already evident following last year’s regional elections.

Spain’s “red wall” crumbled in 2022 when Juan Manuel Moreno of the PP was re-elected as the president of Andalusia with an overwhelming majority. At the age of 53, Moreno became the first conservative president of Andalusia in Spain’s four-decade-old democracy in 2018, despite finishing behind the PSOE.

He formed a coalition with Vox and Ciudadanos, the now-defunct centrist party, before announcing a snap election last year, similar to Mr. Sanchez. This strategic move proved successful, resulting in a resounding victory that allowed him to break away from his coalition partners and govern independently. This triumph for the Right seems poised to be replicated throughout Spain.

Prof Jose-Antonio Parejo Fernandez, a history expert at the University of Seville reveals the following: “Andalusia is the largest, most populated region and the third largest economy in Spain’’. He further emphasized that the Socialist Party maintains a substantial electoral support base.

Tracing the Left Lost Heartlands and the Resurgence of the Hard Right

Antonio Repullo serves as Mr. Moreno’s trusted aide and holds the position of Secretary General of the People’s Party (PP) in Andalusia. In a conversation with The Telegraph, held within the historic walls of the parliament building in Seville, a former hospital dating back to 1546, he expressed his aspiration to extend the success of the Andalusian model to the entire nation.

Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of the PP, has referred to the “Andalusian effect” and harbors ambitions of securing an absolute majority to avoid a potentially suboptimal coalition with Vox. However, he acknowledged that achieving this feat would be a difficult task.

Mr. Repullo attributes the region’s shift away from left-wing politics to a series of bold and decisive measures, including tax reductions aimed at stimulating economic growth.

However, as a reflection of the deep-rooted cultural divide that has divided Spain, he holds nothing but disdain for the charismatic Mr. Sanchez, whom he alleges has failed to set foot in Andalusia even once throughout this electoral campaign.

Mr. Repullo says: “His main characteristic is that he lies. Sanchismo is the product of a political leader who has abandoned his party, his party, which was the Socialist Party, to be the sole protagonist of his film.”

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 Spain’s Left Grapples with the Loss of its Heartlands and the Surge of Hard Right Ideology

Mr. Sanchez, an attractive individual, is a highly divisive character. He gained global recognition for his groundbreaking social initiatives, including facilitating the process for transgender individuals to change their gender on official records and implementing stricter regulations against domestic violence.

While Spain’s inflation rate dropped to 1.6 percent in June, in contrast to Germany, the largest economy in the European Union, which experienced a rate of 6.8 percent, this achievement has not resonated with the electorate.

According to some experts, Mr. Sanchez’s progressive policies, influenced by his coalition with the radical Left, which marks Spain’s first such alliance since the restoration of democracy, have advanced too rapidly and extensively for many voters.

Mr. Sanchez has also encountered intense criticism for granting pardons to the leaders of Catalonia’s independence movement and for establishing a parliamentary alliance with Basque and Catalan separatists. During the earlier stages of his campaign, he acknowledged that his government’s most significant error was the implementation of the “only yes means yes” law.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.