It was all over but the crying for Spain’s radical leftists as conservatives mopped the floor with them in a regional election. Socialist party leader and extremist Pablo Iglesias was literally in tears as he announced his retirement.
Spain’s conservative People’s party scored a spectacular victory in a pivotal regional election in Madrid on Tuesday — doubling its vote, inflicting a humiliating defeat on the country’s governing Socialists and prompting the resignation of the leader of the radical leftwing Podemos party.
The result is a personal triumph for Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the PP head of the Madrid region who called the election, although she will have to rely on the support of the hard-right Vox party.
It is a huge boost for the PP, Spain’s main opposition party, after a string of recent setbacks including the worst results in its history in general elections in 2019 and gaining only 4 per cent of the vote in regional polls in Catalonia in February.
By contrast, the night was a disaster for prime minister Pedro Sánchez and his Socialists, whose vote slid 10 percentage points, slipping behind an upstart leftwing group called More Madrid.
Díaz Ayuso, who campaigned on the slogan “Freedom”, has clashed repeatedly with the Socialist-led national government over coronavirus policy, imposing fewer restrictions than the rest of the country and keeping the region’s hospitality industry open for months.
In her victory speech on Tuesday night she said that the days of Sánchez’s hold on power “are numbered”.
“Today freedom has won in Madrid; tomorrow, it will win in all of Spain,” added Pablo Casado, the PP’s national leader.
The conservative People’s Party and the Vox Party scored huge wins, sending a clear message to Spain’s extremist leftists and the Podemos Party that the country has had enough of their corruption, mismanagement, and attacks on basic freedoms. It is a glimmer of hope for Spain, who has been descending into a socialist nightmare under the leadership of socialists Pedro Sanchez and Pablo Iglesias.