Monday, May 28, 2007

Here comes the morning-after elections report: In the municipals, the PP barely edged out the Socialists, 7,906,000 to 7,747,000 total votes. The Communists, who are basically a satellite of the PSOE, got 1,476,000; CiU, running only in Catalonia, got 723,000; Esquerra, which basically runs only in Catalonia, got 348,000; the Galician National Bloc, running only in Galicia, got 315,000; the PNV, running only in the Basque Country (but a member of the Nafarroa Bai coalition, which got 73,000 only in Navarra), got 310,000. Everyone else got fewer than 300,000.

Turnout was low. It was 63.8% in Spain as a whole, 53.8% in Catalonia, and 49.6% in Barcelona.

All the parties are, of course, claiming victory. I won't bore you with each side's self-puffery.

Right now it looks like the only major governmental change will be a Nafarroa Bai-PSOE takeover in Navarra, though the PP was the single most-voted party. We'll have to wait a few days for all the municipal coalition pacts to play out, but it looks like the PP is going to lose a few cities to a Socialist-Communist coalition despite getting the most votes.

By the way, the PP generally tends to do very well in cities, especially provincial capitals, where it gets the middle-class vote. This is true even in Andalusian cities, which are more conservative than the countryside.

Here in Barcelona, the final results are PSC 14 seats, down from 15 in the 2003 municipals; CiU 12, up from 9; PP 7, no change; ICV 4, down from 5; and ERC 4, down from 5. So CiU gained three seats and the Tripartite lost three, but the Tripartite stays in control.

Comments from La Vanguardia, who brought out all their pretty good writers for this one:

Montserrat Domínguez stresses the PP's success in Madrid, its "breadbasket of votes." She contrasts the traditional conservative Esperanza Aguirre, premier of the Madrid region, with the moderate Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, mayor of Madrid, and hints at a possible leadership struggle between the two at some point.

Fernando Ónega says that the PP is doing well at bringing out its loyalists but is not able to draw new voters. He adds that Miguel Sebastián was a poor choice as the Socialist mayoral candidate in Madrid.

Francesc-Marc Álvaro says that in Catalonia, the Tripartite has held on despite losing voters, and that Esquerra and the Communists were the biggest losers. He adds that the CUP, a loosely-associated group of extreme Catalan nationalists, has cut into Esquerra's youth vote, and that the Plataforma per Catalunya's results show that the mainstream parties are not dealing well with immigration.

Antoni Puigverd says that Catalan politics are gridlocked and that explains the high abstention, since the number of people who think their votes might change something is declining. He compares the Catalan Tripartite to the Italian Pentapartite, and says, "One day, as happened in Italy, the system will come crashing down, and that will be the moment for the hyenas. The disquieting Anglada (PxC leader) is slinking up, waiting for his chance."

Salvador Cardús says that 1) the parties should hold primary elections so that the citizens can choose the candidates 2) the PSC's power in Catalonia has increased 3) Esquerra are the losers, bleeding votes on the right to CiU and on the left to the CUP, the rad national socialists.

Francesc de Carreras says that the high abstention in Catalonia and especially Barcelona is surprising, that it shows that many Catalans are fed up with the status quo, and that Gallardón looks like a good horse to bet on for the long run.

Florencio Domínguez says that the PNV and Socialists will have to cut a deal to govern the Basque Country, that the split-up of the Basque Nationalist coalition of the conservative PNV and social democratic EA was not a good move, and that the Socialists in general did pretty well there.

Ángel Expósito does more than hint at a possible future conflict between Gallardón and Aguirre over the succession to Rajoy.

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