On Dec 2, Andalusia will hold an important parliamentary election which test prime minister Pedro Sanchez leadership and question whether the conservative trend sweeping over Europe will also affect this long-time socialist bastion in Spain.
In the near past, Sanchez has visited socialist enclaves, such as Dos Hermanas [Two Sisters], in Andalusia to secure support for his Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE). This city is also where Sanchez launched his platform to claim the party’s leadership.
“The fact that none of the other parties have offered a credible alternative over the years,” is a factor which, according to Francisco Toscano, from the Socialist party, and mayor of the city of Dos Hermana’s (1983 to the present) is a reason to be optimistic about Sanchez’ PSOE win in Andalusia.
Sanchez not only seeks to hold power in traditional strong areas for socialism, he also can’t afford to lose any seats to the opposition conservatives as he has experienced a very difficult time trying to pass a fiscal budget with his minority government.
Some polls indicate that PSOE could likely lose a few seats during December’s elections, something which has not occurred in Andalusia since the 1970s, according to Reuters.
The opposition is attacking Sanchez on grounds that he has allegedly been lenient on issues such as secessionism, the budget deadlock, and immigration.
“The homeland must come before political parties which have become end in and of themselves,” according to Vox leader Santiago Abscal.
Of particular concern is the rise of the far-right party Vox, as in many other parts of Europe — Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AFD) is an example — based on a nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. Vox is predicted to win as much as five seats, according to Reuters.
Andalusia is one of the most dense populated areas in Spain, has some of the highest rates of unemployment, and is also the number one point of entry for migrants coming from the Mediterranean.