Europe

Madrid’s Popular Party celebrates sweeping victory

Pablo Iglesias’s candidacy brought a slight boost to Podemos, but his party still came in fifth

Alyssa McMurtry   | 05.05.2021
Madrid’s Popular Party celebrates sweeping victory The president of the Community of Madrid and Spanish Peoples' Party candidate for re-election, Isabel Diaz Ayuso ( L) and Pablo Casado, the leader of Spain’s Popular Party (2nd L) attend the celebrations for election results after the Madrid regional elections which started 9 am. in local time, in Madrid, Spain on May 4, 2021. Spain elected the new members of the Assembly of Madrid after regional President Isabel Diaz Ayuso called an early election. Over 5 million people vote for the regional legislature. ( Şenhan Bolelli - Anadolu Agency )

OVIEDO, Spain

Isabel Diaz Ayuso of Spain’s conservative Popular Party won elections in Madrid by a landslide Tuesday, managing to more than double her party’s seats in the regional government. 

“Freedom has triumphed in Madrid again,” she declared. “Today, from Madrid, we’re going to reclaim that freedom for the rest of Spain.”

Ayuso called the snap election out of concern that her coalition partner, the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party, was conspiring against her.

2021 Madrilenian regional election

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Supporters of Spanish Peoples' Party celebrate election results after the Madrid regional elections which started 9 am. in local time, in Madrid, Spain on May 4, 2021. Spain elected the new members of the Assembly of Madrid after regional President Isabel Diaz Ayuso called an early election. Over 5 million people vote for the regional legislature. ( Şenhan Bolelli - Anadolu Agency )

Not only did her Popular Party jump from holding 30 to 65 seats, the move wiped Citizens off Madrid’s political map entirely.

Ayuso fell just short of holding an absolute majority but has the support of the far-right Vox party to form a government.

While Madrid is traditionally a conservative stronghold, this closely watched election gives tailwinds to the Popular Party, which has struggled in Spain at a national level in recent elections.

Ayuso, an outspoken critic of lockdowns who has refused to close bars and restaurants during the pandemic, has secured her spot as a rising star of the party.

Besides Citizens, which lost all of its 26 seats, the Socialist Party also saw support plummet. Its 37 seats dropped to 24.

The progressive Mas Madrid party took some of the Socialist votes, moving from 20 to 24 seats in the regional parliament.

Unidas Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, who made the surprise move to leave his post as deputy prime minister of Spain to run in the election, shored up some support.

Iglesias’ party won just 10 seats – three fewer than Vox – up from seven in the 2019 Madrid vote.

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