in the polling stations, voters on both the right and the left are mobilizing

It is 10:30 a.m. in Valdemorillo, this Sunday, July 23, and the thermometer is already above 30 degrees in front of the sports pavilion where the inhabitants of this municipality of 12,000 inhabitants, located 40 kilometers from Madrid, vote. “It’s too hot and I should be at the beach”, complains Mari-Luz, a 51-year-old hairdresser, who has just voted for the People’s Party (PP, conservatives). Nearly 37.5 million voters are called to the polls this Sunday to elect their deputies and senators. And the PP, led by the Galician Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, is the favorite in the ballot, ahead of the Socialist Party (PSOE), led by the president of the outgoing government, Pedro Sanchez. At 2 p.m., turnout had reached 40.45%, two and a half points more than in 2019. And 2.6 million voters voted by mail (+ 160%).

Like many voters, on both the right and the left, Mari-Luz sees these elections as “crucial”.I am not comfortable with the current government, it does not represent me. Socialist agreements with separatists [catalans et basques] and Podemos [la gauche radicale] don’t like meshe says. And then he may have increased the minimum wage, but the prices have gone up so much that I have less and less purchasing power. » “He couldn’t do worseinsists Francisco, 54, a telecommunications technician. He divided the Spaniards and provoked a confrontation like never before, whitewashing terrorists and secessionists. “I want to fire Sanchez, he should never have governed with those who don’t like Spain”, adds Juan Miguel, a 65-year-old retiree. He voted for the far-right Vox party, which could play kingmaker.

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Because the next Spanish government will probably be played more according to the allies that each of these two candidates will be able to find, than on their own result. If the PSOE aspires to renew a coalition with the radical left, which would not fail to need the support of Basque and Catalan separatists again, the PP does not rule out governing with the far-right party Vox, with anti-feminist, anti-immigration and ultranationalist discourse. It is already doing so in many cities and regions, such as Valdemorillo, where a coalition between the People’s Party and Vox took over the city in June.

Fear of a setback in rights

Barely begun, their mandate was tainted by a lively controversy: the suppression of the cultural program of the autumn of a theatrical adaptation of the novel Orlando, by Virginia Woolf, a feminist work that questions gender and identity. The theater company Teatro Defondo denounced the “censorship” imposed by the town hall, which alleged budgetary issues. But for the left, the affair has become the symbol of the setback in terms of rights that the advent of a government would suppose. “rights”.

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