Seville, the palindrome of 28-M

Seville is one of the Vesuvius of the imminent eruption of 28M.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
26 May 2023 Friday 04:23
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Seville, the palindrome of 28-M

Seville is one of the Vesuvius of the imminent eruption of 28M. A disturbing crater for the socialists and the PP. It can destroy Pompeii in less than twenty minutes, ending with an entire symbol of Latin civilization –the capital of Andalusia, a New Rome for the Enlightened of the Spanish Renaissance, is considered by the PSOE as its cathedral–, or populate with a cloak of ashes –in suspension– the blue sky of the Quirinale of San Telmo.

The polls published during this campaign, the inevitable first round of the December general elections, do not shed enough light on the great unknown: which side will your Mayor's Office fall on? It is not the only thing: what happens this Sunday in the municipal elections, regardless of the obvious readings in a state key – the city of Seville is the largest city governed by the socialists – will establish a new political framework in Andalusia. And it will be durable.

In addition, the 28M could revive the conflicts within the PSOE and within the PP of the South. These comitia, like the masks of the Greek theater, are a two-faced creature. Everything is double. The contestants, who according to the polls lack their own majorities, line up in two large blocks: the PSOE and the confluences to its left; and the rights of PP and Vox.

The local government, whatever the outcome of the polls, is going to be an agreed (and probably stormy) marriage between the two political forces that can add up to 16 councilors. Although the mayor can only be a man – the female candidates run on the minority lists – it will be a coalition that rules Seville for the next four years.

Pedro Sánchez chose Seville as the starting point for the campaign after visiting the White House. Feijóo does not stop going down to the South, although he sometimes confuses Extremadura with Andalusia. Yolanda Díaz spent the last week of the campaign in the San Jerónimo neighborhood. Sumar does not compete as such, but here he rehearses a (circumstantial) pax armada between Podemos and IU.

Santiago Abascal, head of Vox, has reduced his presence to a single meeting –held yesterday– at the Muelle de la Sal, one of the public spaces located next to the Guadalquivir that presides over a huge abstract monument –in stone– by Eduardo Chillida dedicated to the tolerance.

None of the Sevillian political parties participate in these elections with enthusiasm. No one is guaranteed the mayoralty or influence in a future government. Everything is restlessness. Some polls give the Socialists and Populars a tie. Other polls speak of a 2,000 vote difference. One thing can happen and the opposite. Or both at the same time.

Both the socialists and the popular in Seville run a much greater risk than it seems because it transcends the symbolic to become, albeit in a divergent way, a crossroads that will condition their own future. For the PSOE it is a question of survival. In the case of the PP it is a fight for total hegemony in Andalusia.

Seville can be for Ferraz a wall of last defense against the advance of the adversary. Moreno Bonilla aspires to place his banner on one of the battlements of the wall of a conquered Alcázar. In both cases, not only an important political square depends on the outcome. The effect that the political combinations of 28M will have internally is also measured.

For the PSOE, which has governed the great southern capital for eight years, losing the City Council would be Armageddon, since by appointing Juan Espadas as a substitute for Susana Díaz, it precipitated his departure from the Mayor's Office and his replacement by Antonio Muñoz.

The move would prove calamitous if, after having reaped the worst results in its entire history in the last regional elections of 19J, which gave Moreno Bonilla a historic majority, the Andalusian socialists do not retain the consistory in their power.

Far from affecting only the PSOE of Seville, a defeat in the Plaza Nueva (municipal seat) would contaminate the balance within the organization, whose political survival in the South depends on maintaining the six councils and the large and medium-sized cities that they govern.

The candidacy of Espadas was decided by Pedro Sánchez but was blessed by all the provincial secretaries of the party in Andalusia. A hypothetical defeat for Antonio Muñoz, even if his list was the most voted for, would be a colossal and communal defeat.

A bad omen for Sánchez at the crossroads of the December generals. It would mean, even if the internal war does not open until the end of the year, the blatant demonstration that Sanchismo in Andalusia is in decline: not only is it no longer winning elections, but it is also losing local governments. The 'Swords era' would close without even starting.

Seville is also an electoral 'ground zero' for the president of the Board. Although Moreno Bonilla has guaranteed an absolute majority of him until 2026, the Sevillian square is vital to consolidate a political dominance that is now indisputable, but that does not have to be eternal.

What the PP is at stake in Seville is not a local power that it has not had since 2015, when Espadas seized the Mayor's Office from Juan Ignacio Zoido. It is the expectation generated by the absolute resounding of June that is submitted for evaluation. Not destroying equals stagnation.

It is not useful for him to obtain more councilors in the capital. To put it in Barcelona terms, it must win to control the two institutional headquarters in Plaza de Sant Jaume, which in the case of Seville are located at both ends of Avenida de la Constitución.

From a strictly technical point of view, not getting the Seville mayor's office would weaken the current perception of the power of the PP in Andalusia. Nor does a victory avoid political costs. Fundamentally there are two. The first is of image: governing in Seville, barring a miracle, forces an agreement with Vox almost a year after having averted -and made profitable- the risk that for San Telmo and Genoa involved depending on the ultramontanes as (forced) partners of government, as it happens in Castilla-León.

Such an alliance would inevitably condition the rest of Moreno Bonilla's legislature, which was presumed triumphant and is nothing more than discreet. The second element is internal: José Luis Sanz, PP candidate, is a head of the list assumed – not elected – by the president of the Junta.

The conservative candidate, former mayor of Tomares, the town with the highest income in Andalusia, located in the metropolitan area of ​​Seville, was elected by the late leadership of Pablo Casado. For Moreno Bonilla, his choice was a fait accompli against his will. The last of the swallows imposed on him by the old leadership of Genoa, whose hosts, now peaceful, are concentrated in Seville.

The political execution of Casado promoted by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, in which the President of the Junta always participated from the scenes, as discreetly as possible, immediately diluted this critical sector, leaving it without any internal opposition.

If Sanz is sworn in as councilor of the capital of Andalusia – with the votes of Vox – he will have sufficient autonomy, a budget at his disposal and plenty of institutional means to give shelter and protection to the former organic adversaries of Moreno Bonilla within the PP.

There is no fear of a civil war on the Andalusian right, but there is the possibility that, in the medium term, a counterposition will be articulated that, when the opportune moment comes, depending on whether Feijóo arrives at Moncloa, he can try to establish himself as a possible alternative to morenism.

José Luis Sanz already tried to dispute the organic command of the PP in 2014 with the president of the Junta. He was the man for Zoido, Cospedal and Casado to replace Moreno Bonilla, designated 'in extremis' head of the list by Rajoy at the request of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. Sanz was also going to be the cover of the manager who planned to set up in December 2018 to force the departure of the president of the PP from the leadership of the party in Andalusia.

The great carambola that took Susana Díaz out of San Telmo and helped Moreno Bonilla enter the Quirinale with the votes of Cs and Vox changed everything. Zoido, who acted as Brutus in this conspiracy, found out in Atocha about the outcome that left him, and Sanz, out of the game.

Moreno Bonilla survived the Ides of that December. But, just as it happened to himself, he knows that in politics the dispossessed can be resurrected. The only counterpower (relative) to San Telmo in the South is the Mayor's Office of the capital of Andalusia. The 28M in Seville is a palindrome. A phrase that can be read equally upside down and upside down: “There you see Seville”.