“Monday morning, or we wake up in 2023 or 1973 (1)”, declared at the conclusion of the final televised debate on Wednesday July 19, Pedro Sanchez, the President of the Spanish government, warning of the risk of “regression” social, economic and political that would imply the coming to power of the far right on Sunday in a coalition with the conservative right.
Can the leader of the Socialist Party still mobilize leftist voters to prevent it? The latest polls all show the leader of the conservative right, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, as the winner, but by a narrow majority. If so, he will have to make a deal with the far right, Vox, to govern.
Use electroshock to wake up the electorate on the left
By calling early legislative elections this Sunday, July 23, Pedro Sanchez, true to himself, used electric shock to wake up the electorate on the left. But that was without counting on those disappointed by his policy. In the aisles of the central market of Castellón de la Plana (73 kilometers north of Valencia), which, like the region, has veered to the right after eight years of socialist power, the baker Loles is angry: “Everyone is complaining about inflation (from 10 to 12% for food products, editor’s note)! The only thing that has gone down is the 4% VAT on bread, only 3 or 4 cents. It should have been lowered on meat and fish. »
The economic record of his government, on which Pedro Sanchez based his campaign, was not necessarily an asset. He failed to convince the Spaniards of the good performance of Spanish growth, twice as high as the European average, and of the success of the labor market reform.
Raymond Torres, director of the economic situation and international economy at the Funcas Institute, is not surprised: “Spain has barely caught up to the level before the pandemic, and even if employment is doing well, the Spaniards are seeing a very significant loss in their purchasing power. It hasn’t progressed for the past fifteen years and that weighs heavily on people’s perception. »
Misunderstood balancing act alliances
Moreover, political disagreements within the left-wing coalition did not help, discouraging socialist voters. Just like the balancing act of Pedro Sanchez with the Catalan separatists. Admittedly, he succeeded in bringing calm to Barcelona, but at the cost of concessions such as the abolition of the offense of sedition or the pardons granted to former separatist leaders in prison.
The agreement concluded with the Basque separatist party Bildu also remains misunderstood. “Clearly, part of the socialist electorate rejects this agreement. And the government has not taken the time to explain it, ”says Bélen Barreiro, sociologist and director of the 40dB polling institute.
During the campaign, Pedro Sanchez abandoned the classic meetings, increasing his presence on television, in prime time, including in entertainment programs, in the hope of catching up with the 8 to 10% of socialist voters tempted by the People’s Party (right). Remains a pool of 10 to 20% undecided, mostly on the left, which could make the difference.