In 2015 there was a wave of changes in the Spanish city councils and a series of candidates to the left of the PSOE (many of them in brands linked to the orbit of Podemos) took power in cities as important as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza , Cadiz, A Coruña or Santiago de Compostela. They were the so-called 'mayors of change' of those who, two legislatures later, only two are up for re-election: Ada Colau (Barcelona) and Joan Ribó (Valencia) and they will not have it easy at all.
In the Catalan capital, the PP is not in the battle for the Mayor's Office, on the other hand, the Valencian cap i casal is key to the resurgence of the Valencian right and to achieve the overturning of the territorial balance of power in Spain. The popular ones are clear about it and they know that without the Valencia City Council they will not have the Generalitat and the left will maintain a primordial square to counteract the influence of Madrid, Andalusia and Galicia.
Although it seems that the right has easier access to the Mayor's Office than to the Palau de la Generalitat, nothing is won or lost in a city where one in four voters decides the direction of their vote in the last week. The PP has been optimistic for months, Ribó (Compromís) acknowledges that everything is very close (as in 2015 and 2019, where the left won for a single councilor) and the Socialists trust that they have grown during the campaign despite the latest shock that has occurred. forced to give up number 20 on his list.
Regardless of the options of some and others, the 28-M will be an examination of these eight years of progressive governments that have opted for a different model of city to the one that Rita Barberá's PP developed for 24 years. Mobility and pedestrianization with the idea of betting on the concept of the 15-minute city have been strong commitments of this government that have not always received the applause of the citizenry.
And it is that it is difficult for some to share that commitment when public transport still does not seem to be ready for the change from private to public vehicle or when parking spaces have been reduced to leave the car and walk around the city. As they admit in Compromís, Valencia has gained a position in the international press as a city where you can live well, but this has caused an excessive increase in rental prices, without the authorities being able to stop it.
Certain contradictions that are reflected in the CIS pre-election survey where it is observed that the figure of Joan Ribó generates a lot of sympathy, but also a lot of animosity. The mayor is the candidate who receives the most “very bad” ratings, but also the one who receives the most “very good” when the applicants are asked to score.
As this newspaper explained a few months ago, Ribó managed in 2019 to recover the class vote in the city (before all neighborhoods voted, regardless of their income, for Rita Barberá) and also seduce voters from the wealthiest neighborhoods, placing as the preferred choice of progressive voters. On 28-M we will have to see if that spell is maintained or given a new opportunity to the right. A PP that vindicates the figure of Rita Barberá, although it renounces star projects of the previous stage such as the extension of the Cabanyal neighborhood and assumes the benefits (with some tweaks, yes), of bike lanes and pedestrianizations.
In the last phase of this evaluation, the mayor of Valencia has received an important boost. The second vice president of the Government and leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, has not bitten her tongue and, in the presence of the candidate of Unides Podem (the same coalition for which she is minister) asked on Thursday for the vote for the mayor of Compromís . Díaz called for a great mobilization so that the Valencians "do everything possible so that the Mayor's Office of Valencia continues in the hands of Joan Ribó". Of course, with the support of "all progressive forces."
The Díaz effect can be key when it comes to concentrating the vote in the force with the most possibilities on the left in a count that is expected to be heart-stopping. In 2015, the sum of Podem and EU reached 60,000 votes, which were reduced to 19,000 in 2019, when the voter to the left of the PSOE opted mainly for Compromís.
We will have to see how many of these can return to the purple despite the appeal of Díaz. And it is that the effect of the vice president is opposed to the last bullet that Unides Podem played yesterday during the closing of the campaign at the hands of Pablo Iglesias to try a last mobilization of the first voter of Podemos.