Madrid chief sacking pushes Socialists to top of regional polls

Anti-austerity party Podemos falls to third place in flash voting intention survey

Vicente G. Olaya
Tomás Gómez at the helm of a Parla tram during the line’s inauguration in May 2007.
Tomás Gómez at the helm of a Parla tram during the line’s inauguration in May 2007.COMUNIDAD DE MADRID

The Socialist Party’s sudden decision to sack the head of its Madrid branch over his involvement in a corruption investigation has been well received by voters, a flash opinion survey shows.

Madrileños rewarded the show of force by Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez by placing the Madrid Socialist Party (PSM) in first place in terms of voting intention for the upcoming regional elections, according to the Metroscopia poll.

If the vote were held tomorrow, the Socialists would win 19.2 percent support, putting it ahead of the Popular Party (PP) with 15.4 percent, and leaving Podemos in third place with 13.6 percent.

By comparison, a January survey showed the anti-austerity Podemos in first place with 17.8 percent of the vote.

The results demonstrate “a new correlation of forces,” according to the Metroscopia poll, which was conducted on Wednesday among 800 Madrid residents age 18 and over.

Following news of his dismissal, Tomás Gómez announced that he would take his fight to court if necessary in order to defend his honor.

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But the former mayor of the Madrid satellite town of Parla will find it hard to garner popular support for his cause in view of the poll results.

Gómez is being investigated in connection with a tram project he oversaw in Parla during his tenure as the town’s mayor between 1999 and 2008. The project overran its budget by €41 million, and investigators are looking into possible ties between local politicians, technicians and the companies that operate the service.

His deputy José María Fraile, who later took over as mayor, is also under scrutiny in the bribes-for-contracts Púnica scandal.

With local, regional and general elections all coming up this year, the Socialists and the PP are keen to show voters that they are tough on corruption, in order to counter claims by new anti-austerity party Podemos that both political forces are equally corrupt and self-serving.

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