Spain swings right in local and regional elections – Metro US

Spain swings right in local and regional elections

Spain Elections
People wait in line to cast their ballots during local elections in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Spain goes to the polls on Sunday for local and regional elections seen as a bellwether for a national vote in December, with the conservative Popular Party (PP) steadily gaining ground on the ruling Socialists in key regions. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s conservative opposition Popular Party made significant gains in Sunday’s local and regional elections, offering a dire assessment of public feeling towards the ruling left-wing coalition ahead of general elections in December.

In the local vote, the Popular Party, or PP, won 31.5% of votes compared with 28.2% for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, or PSOE, which leads the central government, with more than 97% of votes counted, according to results published by the Interior Ministry. This was a 1.2 percentage point decrease for PSOE on 2019, but almost a 9 point increase for the PP, which benefited from the collapse of the centrist Citizens party.

The PP also dominated several regions previously won by PSOE including Valencia, Aragon and La Rioja. Spain’s regional governments have enormous power and budgetary discretion over education, health, housing and policing.

The party also swung important cities including Valencia and Seville from the Socialists, and achieved an absolute majority for the mayor of the capital, Madrid.

The far-right Vox movement more than doubled their share of local councilors to 7.2%, meaning they will have significant influence on policy in cities where the PP will need their votes.

More than 35 million people were eligible to vote in the local elections. Turnout was 63.9%, slightly down on 2019 on a day of torrential rains for some parts of the country.