The spur that has infected our lives has also infiltrated politics. One month in the 21st century is much more than a year of the twentieth century, and a year equals a decade. While the no-confidence motion that sprung Pedro Sánchez into power from the hands of a heterogeneous group of collaborators still seems to fit within the story, the picture that came out on May 26 renders old, in a very short time, the snapshot of the election results from last April.
Less than a month ago, the PSOE achieved a broad but weak parliamentary majority, Vox entered with unprecedent strength in the Spanish political scene and Ciudadanos claimed a place at the table of the elders, and many rushed to proclaim Rivera the leader of the opposition. Little remains of all that, as the election results of yesterday redrew a political map that few dared to predict less than a month ago.
The most striking change is related to the People’s Party (PP), which many rushed to bury in April. In a single month the PP improved between 4 and 6 percentage points of the vote (between 400,000 and one million more votes in European and municipal elections), surpassing in both elections the symbolic barrier of 20%. Despite obtaining worse results than in 2015, with more than 20,000 councilors throughout Spain the PP is now able to win governments in more provincial capitals (23) and in more major cities (45 of more than 50,000 inhabitants), including the Community of Madrid and the capital of Spain. In addition, the government has leverage forms part of the ruling coalition in four autonomous communities (which would include Galicia and Andalusia), almost half of the Spanish population, also having the Government of Navarre within its reach to subdue the socialists, thanks to its alliance with Ciudadanos and the UPN.
The elections of this past Sunday show that the only alternative to the PSOE in all of Spain is the PP. Its difference with Ciudadanos reaches between 2 and 3 million votes (depending on which national election you choose). Vox has lost between a half and two thirds of its votes and the PP is the alternative to the PSOE government in all provinces and in all provincial capitals of Spain.
Beyond maintaining territorial power, these results have an essential strategic consequence, by putting Ciudadanos at a strategic crossroads that can determine its political future: to become a fringe party which installs and removes governments, or despite the results, continue working to lead the opposition even within these next four years.
Hold no doubts, however, for in the next few months everything can change again.