Ex-Communist Poised to Become Madrid Mayor as Spain Moves Left

No114-2With the count almost completed, the ruling con-servative People’s Party (PP) has lost 2.5 million votes compared with the 2011 local elections.
Spain’s left-wing and anti-austerity political move-ments made important gains in local and regional elections Sunday, challenging the country’s two traditional parties ahead of general elections later this year.

With the count almost completed, the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP) has won the most votes, with 27 percent, but it lost 2.5 million votes compa-red with 2011’s local elections.

Retired judge and former communist party member Manuela Carmena, from the Podemos-backed coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), took 31.8 percent of the vote in the mayoral race in Madrid.

Carmena is poised to become the next mayor of the country’s capital if she reaches an alliance with the candidates from the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).

On Monday, Carmena said she already talked with Madrid PSOE leader An-tonio Miguel Carmona, but said “We have not talked about a deal, we only greeted each other with joy and happiness.”

The conservative PP also lost many of its other traditional urban strongholds, and now the alliances between the new parties and the PSOE are expected to govern in Valencia, Zaragoza and Valladolid.

Meanwhile, Ada Colau, an anti-eviction activist from the Barcelona En Comú leftist grassroots movement, was elected Barcelona mayor in a historic victory that she described “as a victory for David over Goliath.”

Speaking before Sunday’s election, activist for Podemos and Political Advisor to the Alianza Pais party in Ecuador, Jacobo Garcia, told teleSUR that the unity among the left in the local elections was proving important, but it is not clear whether this strategy would replicate itself in the general elections.

The traditional two parties PP and PSOE have suffered due to high-profile corruption allegations, economic stagnation and record-high unemployment of almost 25 percent over the last two administrations. These problems have led to a strong swing toward the new left-leaning parties and movements.

The country’s economic crisis, sparked by the international crash in 2008, has become a major concern for its citizens and politicians across the political spectrum. Anti-austerity movements have put a strong focus on social secu-rity, improved access to education and public health care; issues that have become increasingly important as Spain officially comes out of recession.

Source: Telesur