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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The voting roller coaster of Galicia Spain

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A woman votes in a constituency this Sunday in Galicia.
A woman votes in a constituency this Sunday in Galicia.Carlos Castro / Europa Press / Europa Press

There is a definition of Galicia contained in the title of a book by the psychiatrist Santiago Lamas: blurred Galicia. It refers to a community immersed in fog and which seems not to want to know much about what is outside, reluctant to change. Even if the victory of Alberto Núñez Feijóo for the fourth consecutive time seems to demonstrate that nothing has moved, the truth is that the fog of results hides an electorate that from one call to another brings a real transfer of votes. It is quite planned. Vigo, the first city in Galicia, is the paradigm.

It turned out that the undecided in these elections were potential GNG voters who plunged into the polls until they changed the map of political representation in Galicia. The 19 deputies that Ana Pontón will lead in the Galician parliament have been formed square by square in countless municipalities where the GNG has recovered a large number of votes that fled on their day to En Marea, the Podemos alliance, Esquerda Unida, confluences of local groups and nationalists. The capture of the LNG was of such caliber that moved the PSdeG to third position in numerous municipalities to get on the podium after the PP. Something unthinkable just a few months ago.

Because, although the triumph of Feijóo has left everything behind, the truth is that in the general elections of April 2019 the PSOE won for the first time in Galicia. And in the municipal elections the following month, he hired the mayors of six of the seven major cities. In the second generals of November, the NGO managed to return to the Congress of Deputies after winning 8.38% of the vote. Eight months later, that percentage nearly tripled.

In Vigo, on the same day of 26 May 2019 when the municipal and European elections coincided, the voters scrupulously changed their votes to the point of giving the PSOE (in reality, its mayor, Abel Caballero) an exorbitant majority with the 67 , 6% support. In the other ballot box, that of the European elections, support for socialists remained at 44.7%. In those municipalities, the impact in the PP in Vigo was monumental: 13.69%. On Sunday, Feijóo reached 32.51% in the city. In the same period between local and regional elections, the Gng went from 5.6% to 23.39%.

“We have to distinguish between floating vote and double vote,” says political scientist Arturo González, director of the Quadernas Consultoría. The changes in the block on the left, with the Gng recovering what the tides had drawn from it, are a consequence, says González, of a floating vote. “The left-wing electorate is not psychologically influenced by the change of vote between parties of the same spectrum,” he claims to explain the naturalness of the move that left Galicia in the sewer, the new brand of Podemos and its allies, The BNG, believes the expert took that voter with “an impeccable campaign” focused on an empathetic and determined candidate.

The vote for Feijóo, however, is more twofold. As also happens to the mayor of Vigo, the leader of the Galician PP manages to fish a lot in other fishing areas. The polls have already announced that it is in this changing suffrage where the president of the Xunta is better managed: the preferred party of the voters was the PSOE, but they gave the victory in PP. Feijóo based his campaign on the merger with Galicia, hiding the initials of the PP and putting himself in a moderate position. “The center’s voters look favorably on Feijóo, and if they voted for PSOE or Pedro Sánchez and not for the PP in the general election, it was to scare the far right,” explains González. Now it was the leader of the Galician PP who juggled “gathering the votes of PSOE and Vox”.

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