REGIONAL ELECTIONS

Leftist AGE becomes third Galician force

Leading Socialist demands that PSdeG leader throw in the towel

A day after the Galician Popular Party (PPdeG) pulled off a sweeping re-election victory in Sunday’s regional elections, the opposition parties — especially the Socialists — began a period of reflection to determine the reasons behind the lack of support they got at the polls.

The PPdeG won 41 seats in the 75-member parliament, giving regional premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo another term, and adding three more deputies to its party bloc.

Galicia’s Socialists (PSdeG) lost seven seats, only claiming 18 this time around while the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) — the traditional third force in the region — won just seven seats compared to the 12 it held during the last term.

But one of the biggest surprises was the strong showing by the new Galician Alternative Left (AGE) formation, which is now the third-biggest party in the region. The coalition grouping, formed barely a month ago by veteran nationalist politician Xosé Manuel Beiras Torrado, took nine seats in the local parliament.

Galician society voted for the same political class as usual"

“It was like a tsunami,” said Yolanda Díaz, coordinator of the coalition’s partner EU-IU on Sunday night after examining the election results.

Beiras, 76, was a leader of the BNG bloc from its founding in 1982. When he left the organization, he took many of his supporters with him. Until 2005, he had served as national spokesman for the BNG and held a parliamentary seat throughout that time.

The AEG won 13.99 percent of the vote, as opposed to the 10.16 percent garnered by the BNG.

One person who had been confident that his new formation was going to win at least one seat in the Galician parliament was Mario Conde, the controversial former banker who set up his own formation in early October Civil Society and Democracy (SCD).

Conde, who was released from prison in 2007 after serving a sentence for his role in a five-billion-euro embezzlement scandal at Banesto, which dated from his time as the bank’s president, had pledged to push for sweeping political reforms, including de-politicizing the judiciary and an end to public funding for parties.

“Statistics showed that the rupture between the political class as a whole and civil society has been profound,” Conde told his supporters on Monday. “But the evidence says otherwise. Society, at least Galician society, voted for the same political class as usual and formed a Galician parliament once again with the same parties of yesterday, because even the new version of a movement led by Beiras is from yesteryear.”

The Socialists in Galicia, meanwhile, are divided over whether their leader, Pachi Vásquez, should step down from his post. Ismael Rego, a veteran Socialist in the region, was one of the leading voices calling for Vázquez’ resignation on Monday.

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