The coronavirus and two very different political blocs (left / right) yesterday starred in the debate of the candidates for the Presidency of the Community of Madrid. The discussion focused strictly on the political situation in the Community, with hardly any reference to the national political situation. The recent fate of two of the candidates (Iglesias and Bal) or the possible extrapolation of the interventions as a lever by Isabel Díaz Ayuso to the national level could have incorrectly placed the debate in other coordinates. Therefore, the bar for the electoral debate was not raised to what could be the pilot project for the next general elections, constituting at this time a successful approach by all participants.
The division into the two foreseeable right and left blocs was very present throughout the interventions, generating a debate in which the left bloc focused, predictably, on the attack on Isabel Díaz Ayuso, since it is President of the Community of Madrid and the top favorite in all polls. In fact, in all the candidates of the left bloc, criticism prevailed over the presentation of proposals, on the basis that a greater electoral return could be obtained in the dialectic of confrontation against the propositional rhetoric, especially at a time when politics it develops on very emotional and even sociologically morbid margins.
Ayuso, the big winner of the night
The president in charge emerged unscathed from a debate fully aimed at questioning her management so far. In itself, in a debate of this format, if the favorite candidate comes out unscathed, it is already a guaranteed success. So it was. In addition, Ayuso avoided victimization and, on the contrary, stood up by reacting and going dialectically to the attack in each of the lots he had with the candidates.
The concentration of the attack on the figure of the favorite candidate made it easier for the VOX candidate, Rocío Monasterio, to have an open field to express her opinions and star in verbal confrontations with other political contenders, except for Ayuso. Monastery rightly understood that she could not be her direct rival in the debate. She placed special emphasis on security as a reference element in the search for the electorate, mainly from the south of Madrid. In this sense, Monasterio’s speech focused on issues that arouse the sensitivity of a good part of her electorate (menas, gender, public spending) even though she sometimes shows very simplistic ideas regarding complex problems. However, Monastery knew how to influence those issues that fix the position of the eventual electors of it.
Más Madrid shines in contrast to the PSOE
Another aspect that was confirmed in yesterday’s debate is that it is not an appropriate format for a candidate like Ángel Gabilondo, who is used to other political uses and more relaxed styles of debate. The discomfort in the debate of the socialist candidate was too visible. Even from an aesthetic point of view (older candidate with a tired appearance, only candidate with a tie), the difference caused by the generation gap and by the agility shown by other candidates in a debate that is not prepared for their political forms was noticeable. . Otherwise, Gabilondo came to represent a way of doing and expressing politics very different from how the political debate in Spain now takes place.
For its part, the left-wing bloc surprised with Mónica García’s speech. Her knowledge of Madrid’s political reality, her dynamic dialectic and shock with a direct speech, with certain impostures in any case, was a surprise, especially given the weak staging of the rest of the candidates of the left-wing bloc.
The losers of the night
The de-escalation of Iglesias and Bal from national politics to regional politics and their fit was one of the most anticipated aspects of the night. In the end, the result was not positive for either of them, showing their weaknesses as newcomers, a factor that the rest of the parties took advantage of to demonstrate their best approach and knowledge of Madrid’s regional politics.
Especially paradoxical was the position of Iglesias, since he had had political responsibilities in some of the public policies that were analyzed during the pandemic (residences, dependency, social rights). His complex position led him to have to defend himself or even to ignore the functions that he had been assigned. Singularly disappointing was his final minute closing the debate, which he wasted with an incomprehensible superficial speech.
Bal was another of the losers of the night. It became very apparent that he never found his place, even with some over-acting. Citizens’ own position of current weakness led him to speak insistently about himself and about his professional career as a state attorney, a very evident symptom of weakness as a party. His final minute was an autobiography of his life as a civil servant, a book error for a political candidate.