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WHAT’S NEW(S) – 07/05/2021

Écrit par sur 7 mai 2021

Madrid elections

A focus on Madrid this week, where a tense election campaign came to an end and the Madrileños casted their vote for a new government. As predicted by the press “Covid lockdown rebel” Isabel Diaz Ayuso celebrated a landslide victory, taking 65 seats, just 4 short of an absolute majority.

Madrid was not the only European region where elections were held. In the UK, the support for the national government was tested on Super Thursday, with the main question being: Is the UK falling apart ? 

You’ll find the script below :

A focus on Madrid this week, where a tense election campaign came to an end and the Madrileños casted their vote for a new government. Can you tell us what made these elections so important ?

Madrid and its president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, had shown their opposition to each of the measures proposed by the government throughout the pandemic, which made these elections “A vote in a national context”, according to La Razón. They had a similar thought in El País, “Madrid chooses between two models of society after 15 days of tension”, reported Quino Petit and Elsa de Blas.  Others, such as 20 Minutos, warned of what could happen on election night: the election results could redefine the national political chessboard. 

And what did the Spanish media write about the outcomes ?

Most of the media focus on Ayuso’s overwhelming victory and the possible consequences it might have at the national level. “The Partido Popular is reborn in Madrid”, Ayuso’s landslide victory changes the Spanish political dynamics, reports Enric Juliana in La Vanguardia.”The government’s all-out war against Ayuso has ended up giving an image of consistency and solidity to a person that seemed fragile and unsettled” points out Javier Olivares, El Mundo. Carmen Morodo, for La Razón, argued that “the ballot boxes overwhelmingly endorsed her alternative position in the management of the pandemic, in opposition to the national government and other regions”… in other words, Madrid against everyone. Ayuso’s victory also provoked a turnaround on the left, as defined by El Mundo, with the resignation of Pablo Iglesias and the defeat of the PSOE by Más Madrid in the race to become the leaders of the left-wing opposition.

And taking a look across the border, how did other European media report on the elections ?

Indeed, these regional elections also received quite some attention in other European countries… Mainly because of the increased polarisation that they lay bare. “Shades of Spanish Civil War darken Madrid elections” headlined Ana Romero in Politico, referring to the violence at rallies, mailed bullets, and campaigns packed with bellicose references to the 1930s Civil War. Der Spiegel described the election campaign as “extremely polarising”. About the outcomes, the Guardian already predicted a landslide victory for Isabel Diaz Ayuso in its article “We Are All Ayuso” which turned out to be true for almost half of Madrid’s voters. Foreign media described Ayuso as “the Covid lockdown rebel” (Reuters), “the embodiment of a hard and outspoken right” (Le Monde), and “a stubborn conservative” (Dutch newspaper NRC). German newspaper Der Spiegel wrote that Ayuso’s support was mainly due to her liberal, or ‘reluctant’ Covid policies, and stated slightly surprised that during the campaign, there was hardly any attention for Spain’s major economic and social problems.

Then moving on to other elections in the United Kingdom, where a massive election in many municipalities and regional parliaments took place this Thursday ?

Yes, the so-called Super Thursday. France 24 defines these elections as ‘a thermometer’ for the British government because they were the first consultations to judge the acceptance of the government after Brexit, and its handling of the pandemic. Jose Francisco Alonso, London correspondent of La Voz de Galicia states that the elections “threaten to shake the UK state model to its foundations because of the good results predicted for the pro-independence parties”. In “7 questions the Sottish Parliament Vote will answer”, Scottish newspaper the Scotsman predicts that, if the results show the Scottish National Party indeed wins again – it has to be noted that at the time of this recording outcomes are not clear yet-, it will likely go ahead with its proposal to hold a new referendum for independence in the next 5 years.

And then ending with a hopeful question that made the news in almost all EU countries, where will we be able to go on holidays this summer ?

Yes indeed. While the EU is rushing to establish an EU-wide Coronavirus pass by June, member states are moving ahead with setting their own measures. In a press conference this Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Draghi announced that Italy is “ready to welcome back the world”. The country is planning to introduce its own national pass to lure back travellers, announced Politico, promising quarantine free holidays already mid-May. The same time Greece will open its borders to foreign travellers: the country announced to lift measures May 15. “Coordination is proving to be a key problem” concludes Politico.

Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

Pphoto: Populares de Madrid, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

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