Spain’s Opposition Leader Feijóo Foresees The End Of The Socialist Era: “We’ve Gone Far Enough”

People’s Party leader Feijóo rallies for end to ‘sanchismo’ and a new political era in Spain amid upcoming snap general elections.

<p>MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 13: (L-R) The president of the People's Party, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo; the president of the Community and PP candidate for reelection, Isabel Diaz Ayuso; and the candidate for mayor of Getafe, Jose Antonio Mesas, participate in a political event at the central station of Getafe, on 13 May, 2023 in Getafe, Madrid, Spain. (Photo By Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)</p>

Morale is in great shape. That’s the outlook of Spain’s opposition People’s Party (PP) in response to this Monday’s surprise call of a snap general election in the country for July 23rd, as leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo has explained. 

After the unmitigated victory in the municipal and regional elections on Sunday, the PP head was bullish about “bringing the political cycle to an end” on July 23rd, taking into account “the very forceful message about the direction of the country” which, in his opinion, Spanish voters gave “with a clear victory for the PP.” 

The People’s Party (PP) party’s leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo gives a press conference at the party headquarters in Madrid on May 29, 2023 one day after local and regional elections. Spanish Prime Minister called a snap election on July 23 on May 29, 2023, a day after his Socialists suffered a drubbing in local and regional polls that saw the main opposition People’s Party (PP) chalk up the largest number of local votes. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

“Spaniards have said basta, we have come far enough,” he said on Monday from the PP headquarters in Madrid after the meeting of the party management. Feijóo, who admitted that he has spoken with Vox leader Santiago Abascal, called for respect for “the competencies” of PP leadership in each autonomous community when deciding on the coalition agreements and pacts with the conservative party after the elections, which will be required in many cases for the PP to reach power.

Despite the early election call, the PP wanted to highlight the electoral success of May 28th in which Spain’s main conservative party wrested almost all territorial power from the Socialists (PSOE) and expanded its municipal power. 

“Spain took the first step yesterday to opening a new political cycle and that is why I call on everyone to complete the political cycle that will end on July 23rd,” Feijóo said, referring to the end of what he calls “sanchismo.” 

He called for “a clear, incontestable and forceful majority to start a new political era” because, he added, “sanchismo has not yet been repealed and Spain is called to do that in 54 days.” 

“Five years of the government of the PSOE, Podemos, Bildu and the Catalan pro-independence parties have been enough. The harmful consequences for the nation are visible to the whole world and they are part of an exhausted model that has to end forever.” 

“Neither the policies nor the social climate generated are what Spain wants,” he said.

MADRID, SPAIN – 2023/05/11: The president of the Community of Madrid and PP candidate for reelection Isabel Diaz Ayuso participates in the opening ceremony of the Madrid PP campaign, in the Plaza Felipe II of the capital, in the neighborhood of Goya in Madrid. (Photo by Atilano Garcia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Deals with Vox: “It’s up to the regional parties”

The confirmation of the victory of the PP at the polls this Sunday is linked to a policy of pacts with Vox, which has in its hands the power to make or break regional and municipal governments. 

At this point, Feijóo opted to pass on the responsibility, leaving these decisions on deals with conservatives “up to the detailed analysis that will be made in town halls and in autonomous communities.” 

“That has to be left to the parties at regional level and their directors,” said Feijóo, acknowledging that he had shared mutual congratulations with the conservative party, including a conversation with Vox leader Santiago Abascal this morning. 

“He congratulated me on the results; I thanked him and told him that their support had grown in the municipal elections,” he explained.

Sunday night on the balcony at Calle Génova

In line with the rituals of the great PP victories, Feijóo went out onto the balcony at the party’s Calle Génova headquarters on Sunday night, accompanied by the two other winners in the Spanish capital, both with absolute majorities, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, in the Community of Madrid, and Jose Luis Martínez Almeida as mayor of the Spanish capital. Beside them, Feijóo proclaimed that “Spain has begun a new political cycle.”

Sunday’s results saw many PSOE strongholds turn PP blue: through the absorption of the votes of the collapsed Ciudadanos party, and thanks to the emergence of Vox on its right, the PP will be able to take power in the Valencian Country, the Balearic Islands, Aragon, Extremadura, Cantabria and La Rioja; it has also achieved the desired absolute majority in the Community of Madrid thanks to the unstoppable rise of Isabel Díaz Ayuso and has shielded its majority in the Region of Murcia. 

People’s Party (PP) supporters wave flags as they gather to celebrate the polls result outside the party headquarters in Madrid on May 28, 2023 after the local and regional elections held in Spain. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Socialists can only celebrate having maintained the absolute majority in Castilla la Mancha and preserving the Asturias executive, among the autonomous communities that voted on Sunday. 

As for the municipal councils, as well as the absolute majority in the city of Madrid, the Spanish conservatives will hold Zaragoza if conservatives are willing to make a deal. Similarly, the PP has managed to wrest Seville from the PSOE, in addition to conquering the city of Valencia. And, to add insult to injury, the People’s Party have obtained more votes than the Socialists in the sum of all the municipalities of the Spanish state: 31% of all the votes cast in Spanish ballot boxes this Sunday have gone to the main party of the right, while the PSOE took 28%.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Sterling Creighton Beard and Alberto Arellano