Madrid poised for regional election following acrimonious campaign

Madrid, May 3 (EFE).- Spanish political parties vying for power in the capital region of Madrid marked the traditional ‘day of reflection’ on Monday fresh off a campaign trail riddled with the kind animosity that has become commonplace in a politically divided country.

The incumbent regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the conservative Popular Party, is expected to come out of Tuesday’s election on top of the rest, although she may fall just short of a majority.

Ayuso, one of the PP’s most recognizable figures, has built her political image on libertarianism, which is typified by her perpetual pushback against Covid-19 recommendations from the national government, a left-wing coalition.

She called the elections earlier this year in a political gamble to consolidate the PP’s share of the regional chamber without having to rely on a coalition with former partners Ciudadanos, a party that is set to plummet in Tuesday’s vote.

The most recent polling suggests Ayuso may have to turn to the aid of the far-right Vox party to form a functioning government, something the three left of center parties in the campaign have warned against.

Those three parties are the Socialist Party (PSOE), led in Madrid by Ángel Gabilondo, the far-left Unidas Podemos, led by former deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias, and the left-wing Más Madrid, led by doctor and activist Mónica García.

Spanish political debate can be an acrimonious affair and during the campaign death threats and bullets were sent to several members of the national government, a PSOE-led coalition, a police chief and UP leader Iglesias. A death threat addressed to Ayuso was also intercepted.

No stranger to controversy, Vox sparked a legal case when it unveiled an anti-immigration poster in Madrid’s central metro station Sol, which specifically targeted young, unaccompanied migrants. Local prosecutors alleged it amounted to discrimination.

Elections in Madrid are often seen as a litmus test for wider political sentiment in Spain. EFE


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