People cast their ballot in Spain's local elections in Valencia, Spain, 28 May 2023.EFE/ Biel Aliño

Conservatives prevails in Spain’s municipal and regional elections

(Update: Rewrites with race results, analysis)

Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez casts his vote in regional elections in Madrid, Spain, 28 May 2023. EFE/ J.J. Guillén

Madrid, May 28 (EFE).- Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP) garnered the most votes in seven of the country’s 10 big cities on Sunday, obtaining pluralities or majorities in Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Malaga, Murcia and Palma.

The PP recovered electoral ground in Castilla y Leon, and will be able to govern in four or five provincial capitals, in Salamanca with an absolute majority, while in Valladolid and Burgos it will have to form a coalition with the rightist Vox party and in Segovia it will be able to form a minority government.

According to figures provided by the Interior Ministry, the Socialist Party (PSOE) maintained its control only in the city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and lost its preeminent position in Sevilla, Zaragoza and Palma.

In the regions, the PSOE may well have lost its predominant position in Valencia, and in Extremadura.

Nationwide, with 95 percent of the ballots counted, the PP appears to have garnered 687,000 more votes than the PSOE, ensuring itself that 22,739 local officials will serve in various capacities to the Socialists’ 20,160.

The PP won 2,375 more councilor seats than during the 2019 elections, while the PSOE lost almost the same number – 2,181.

At latest count, the PP had obtained 6,691,731 votes to the PSOE’s 6,004,291.

Voter turnout was 63.83 percent – or some 22 million – down a bit from the 65.19 percent who turned out in the 2019 regional balloting.

The PP obtained the most votes in 28 of Spain’s 50 provincial capital, 17 more than in 2019. It achieved an absolute majority in half of those races.

The Ciudadanos party was the big loser on the day, obtaining only 378 councilor seats and losing 2,409, dropping in terms of vote percentage from 8.73 percent in 2019 to 1.35 percent on Sunday.

On the other hand, Vox doubled its electoral support in the municipal votes, rising from 3.5 percent to 7.1 percent, and more than tripling the number of councilor positions it controls – from 530 to 1,663.

Meanwhile, Compromis obtained 2.56 percent of the votes and 2,674 councilor positions in Valencia, followed by ERC with 2.43 percent ov the votes but 2,879 seats.

EH-Bildu received 1.70 percent of the votes and 1,391 councilor seats, up 129 seats from 2019, followed by the PNV with 1.5 percent of the votes and 984 seats, down 71 seats from four years ago.

In the Catalan capital of Barcelona, Junts prevailed in the municipal elections, and in Bilbao the PNV – just as in 2019 – was the top vote-getting party.

In Madrid, the PP won an absolute majority in the City Council races, where it obtained 29 seats.

Mas Madrid came in second with 12 councilors, with the PSOE failing to gain the most votes on the left and with Ciudadanos and Podemos being left out of the mix.

In Barcelona, Junts obtained 11 coucilors, one more than the PS, while Junts mayoral candidate Xavier Trias defeated the PSC’s Jaume Collboni with more than 7,000 votes, with Mayor Ada Colau’s BComu coming in third with nine councilors.

In Valencia, meanwhile, the left lost control in Spain’s third-largest city, where the rightist bloc garnered 17 councilors, an absolute majority but just one more seat than the left.

The PP won 13 council races, up from the eight it had won in 2019, while Vox won four, two more than in the prior election, and Compromis garnered nine and the PSOE seven.

In Sevilla, the PSOE lost its big urban bastion, with the PP obtaining 14 councilor seats, six more than in 2019, to the Socialists’ 12, down from 13 the last time around.

The PP won an absolute majority in Zaragoza with 15 councilors, to the PSOE’s 10; in Malaga, the PP also obtained an absolute majority, garnering 17 of the 31 councilor seats, up from 14 in 2019, while the PSOE bagged 10 – down two from four years ago.

The PP obtained 15 councilor seats in Murcia, recovering the absolute majority they lost in 2019, while the PSOE won eight, down one, and Vox doubled its representation to six.

The PP won 10 councilor races in Palma, up four from 2019, dethroning the PSOE as the top votegetting party, with the Socialists winning eight, down one.

The PSOE, however, retained its hold on Las Palmas, garnering 12 seats to the PP’s nine and four for Vox, while in Bilbao, the PNV won 12 seats, followed by EH Bildu which moved into second place with six seats, two more than in 2019.

The PP gains, if replicated later this year, could unseat the current left-wing coalition of the PSOE and Podemos that governs Spain, although if the conservative party wants to take control of the regions – known as autonomous communities – it will presumably have to form a coalition with the far-right Vox.

With the decline in popularity of the left-wing Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos, with the PP evidently taking the latter’s seats on the councils, Spain appears to have largely returned to a two-party system where the PSOE and PP hold sway over other groups on the left and right.

EFE –/bp