Parties launch ‘Battle of Madrid’ ahead of snap regional poll

Madrid’s current regional leader will also face left-wing Más Madrid’s Mónica García, a doctor who worked in ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic. [EFE/ David Fernández]

Political parties vying for power in Madrid’s regional parliament have officially launched their campaigns, two weeks ahead of a snap vote set to be held amid rising coronavirus cases and deep political polarisation. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

Madrid, Spain’s richest and third most populous region, has been a stronghold of the conservative Popular Party (PP) since 1995. Incumbent regional president and PP member, Isabel Díaz Ayuso called the snap poll for 4 May.

In a bid to consolidate PP’s power in the chamber, Ayuso broke its ruling coalition with Ciudadanos after the party collaborated with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s socialist PSOE party in a bid to oust the PP in the region of Murcia earlier this year.

Ayuso will face the PSOE’s Ángel Gabilondo, who has run in every Madrid election since 2015, and the left-wing Unidas Podemos, which is relying on its leader Pablo Iglesias, who left his post as deputy prime minister to run against Ayuso.

Madrid’s current regional leader will also face left-wing Más Madrid’s Mónica García, a doctor who worked in ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ayuso, who has routinely opposed recommended COVID-19 restrictions from the central government and overseen some of Europe’s most lax measures in the face of high infection rates, has pitted the election as a choice between “freedom and communism.”

Madrid’s seven-day incidence rate now stands at 190.36 per 100,000 people, soaring above the nationwide average of 107.9, according to health ministry data. 

Recent polling suggests that the PP will emerge with the largest share of seats in the chamber, estimated between 56 and 60, meaning it would fall short of the 69 seats needed for an absolute majority and would therefore have to rely on support from the far-right Vox party to get over the line.

A recent survey conducted by national daily El Mundo, the left-wing parties will also fall short of a majority with PSOE taking an estimated 31 seats, Más Madrid 20 or 21, while UP would only obtain 11 or 12.

[Edited by Daniel Eck and Josie Le Blond]

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