The Popular Party (PP), which has been in power in Madrid City Hall for the last 24 years, saw its support plummet at Sunday’s municipal elections. While it is still the most-voted party in the Spanish capital, its candidate, Esperanza Aguirre, is not likely to be mayor if Ahora Madrid and the Socialist Party (PSOE) forge an alliance.
With 99.7% of the vote counted late last night, Aguirre had won 21 seats in the municipal assembly, compared to the 20 seats that Manuela Carmena, of Ahora Madrid, had managed. Aguirre won 34.5% of the vote, compared to 31.9% for Carmena, but the former judge – whose party is backed by emerging anti-austerity, anti-corruption platform group Podemos – will become mayor if she secures the support of Socialist candidate Antonio Miguel Carmona. The PSOE won nine seats with 15.3% of the vote. For an absolute majority, 29 seats are necessary.
Esperanza Aguirre is already describing a potential Ahora Madrid-PSOE alliance as a “coalition of losers”
Emerging party Ciudadanos took 11.4% of the vote in Madrid, and seven seats, while United Left (IU) and Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) were left without a single seat, having failed to win the minimum 5% of the vote needed for representation in the assembly.
If Ahora Madrid is unable to reach a pact to reach an absolute majority, the most-voted party will secure power in the Spanish capital. That would mean that Esperanza Aguirre – who described a potential Ahora Madrid-PSOE alliance as a “coalition of losers” – would automatically become mayor in a second vote.
The PP was just 10,000 votes short of taking one more seat from Ahora Madrid, which would have ruled out the possibility of a leftist alliance.
Speaking as the leader of the regional chapter of the Popular Party, Aguirre addressed the press at around midnight Sunday night to stress that her party had been the most voted “both in the region and in the council,” and that it had also won 119 of the 179 municipalities in the Madrid region. Speaking as mayoral candidate, she said: “We have won: according to the law, as the most-voted party, we will hold City Hall provided that there is no agreement between other parties.”
If a leftist coalition does take City Hall from the PP, it will be the first time that has happened in 25 years. “We have got the message from Madrileños, and we are conscious that we have passed from 48% to 34% of the vote,” Aguirre stated on Sunday night. “Whether I am the mayor or if there is a pact that sends me to the opposition, I will continue to represent and defend the principles and values of the party, liberal and conservative [values], from the place I have been sent.”
Aguirre was asked by the press about the “message” she had received. “The message is this incredibly long crisis, which may have been turned around but continues to be so long, and with so many people still unemployed; corruption, which without a doubt has affected us; and a certain disaffection for politicians, which is the consequence of electoral laws.”