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Regional campaign debate to take place in Madrid

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Regional campaign debate to take place in Madrid

Madrid regional govt
Photo: Samuel Sanchez/ El Pais

Candidates running in Madrid’s regional elections will debate tonight ahead of May 4 elections in the nation’s capital.

Particular attention will be paid to the interactions between Isabel Diaz Ayuso of the centre-right Popular Party (PP) and Angel Gabilondo, whose Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) governs nationally. The two parties, the most popular in Spain, have clashed publicly over the last year over COVID-19 lockdown policies, culminating in this snap election called by Ayuso. Recent polls predict Ayuso and PP taking a commanding victory next month, gaining 25 seats in the regional parliament.

This election has deepened political divisions, despite attempts by the PSOE to foster greater political unity. Further polarisation is likely to occur over the medium-term as support shifts to more hardline parties, such as the far-right Vox party, at the expense of the centrist Ciudadanos party. Vox, a staunchly anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic party, has capitalised on growing support among Spaniards for more centralised governance and nationalist policies following Catalonia’s failed succession in 2017. A governing coalition with PP in Madrid would further strengthen Vox ahead of the 2023 general election and represent a dramatic shift right in Spanish politics.

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