The Murcian socialists were still trying to assimilate a black electoral night when the president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced by surprise the call for general elections. It wasn’t even 11:30 and the foreseeable internal noise was short-circuited. The renewal in the PSRM-PSOE is inevitable, but the urgency of facing the new appointment with the polls is imposed. This was made clear at the meeting that the Regional Executive Commission held in the afternoon and that lasted more than three hours. There were no appearances at the end of the meeting, although there was a statement in which the management announced the opening of “a period of listening and reflection to decide the best path to regain the trust of the public.”
The Executive Commission defended that “the party is stronger and more united than ever, despite adversity.” “We have general elections in less than two months and the PSRM will rise to the occasion, because we Spaniards are at stake to continue advancing or submit to the policies of the right and the ultra-right,” added the management body in its statement.
The Regional Executive Commission integrates the hard core of José Vélez, a general secretary on the wing since the vote count revealed the magnitude of the debacle.
The Socialists have lost 40,000 votes and four deputies in the Regional Assembly (from 17 to 13). The bleeding in the autonomic ones spreads to the municipal ones, with the defeat in fiefdoms like Jumilla or Lorca. The loss of socialist municipal power includes Murcia, Santomera, La Unión, Cieza and, predictably, Molina de Segura and Las Torres de Cotillas by virtue of the pacts between PP and Vox.
The mayors who manage to survive this change of cycle in favor of the PP see their position in the party strengthened and could, in this sense, lead the demand for changes in the organization. But after the announcement of general elections, all the leaders consulted yesterday opted for prudence. The mayoress of Águilas, María del Carmen Moreno, showed her “loyalty” to the secretary general and pointed out that it will be Vélez who decides if and when he leaves office.
Moreno stressed the need to “analyze the mistakes” made. Mario Cervera, who obtained an overwhelming majority in Los Alcázares (69%), expressed himself along a similar line. «The result of the regional elections should make us reflect. I am convinced that the people of Murcia want a change, but we have to be more convincing. Now begins a period of internal reflection,” he told this newspaper.
“Talk about projects”
Cervera showed his support for Vélez. “You cannot hold a person responsible for an election, neither when it goes very well nor when it goes very badly,” he warned. “More than talking about figures or people, you have to reflect on projects and ideas and on the way of communicating,” he added.
The PSOE is the leading force in 14 municipalities in local elections, but in the regional elections it is only in four
«The corruption of the PP has remained in a fourth or fifth inkwell; It is something that we have not been able to communicate »
The digestion of defeat
The mayors who have survived the overturn demand an “internal reflection”, but avoid criticizing the leadership
He also avoided criticism of the leadership of Eliseo García, who achieved a notable result in Molina de Segura (11 councilors), but saw the mayoralty move away due to the sum of PP (9 councilors) and Vox (5). «Blaming Vélez for what has happened would be irresponsible, because something similar has happened in other communities. You have to do a deeper analysis before making decisions », he stressed.
The electoral results make it clear that many voters have differentiated between the regional ones, where they have voted nationally to punish the PSOE, and the municipal ones. In Águilas, María del Carmen Moreno surpassed the regional list by 1,797 ballots. In fact, the PP prevailed in this municipality in the elections to the Regional Assembly. The same thing happened in Molina de Segura. The PSOE was the first force in the autonomic ones in only 4 of the 45 municipalities of the Region: Bullas, Calasparra, Campos del Río and Los Alcázares. However, in the municipal elections, it led the count in 14 municipalities, ten of them with an absolute majority.
The results in the autonomic ones open the debate on the development of the socialist regional campaign. «The PP has gotten away with it, because it has turned the regional elections into a plebiscite against Sánchez and has hidden all the problems we have in this region. Perhaps we have not been able to counteract that discourse, we have not been able to convey the importance of the regional and, in the end, they have taken the cat into the water, ”reflects Eliseo García.
Vélez planned his campaign based on a strategy similar to the one deployed by Pedro Sánchez. If the President of the Government focused on launching announcements on social and health matters at his rallies, the PSRM-PSOE candidate raised daily proposals in various fields, from education to health or housing. But clearly, there was no drive for change. Everything went wrong, moreover, in the last week, after the arrest of the socialist candidate in Albudeite for alleged vote buying. On Sunday night, Vélez denied having reacted too lukewarm. «We were forceful from day one, but you have to wait for information to be able to act. We were very clear: this party is not going to allow any situation that could cloud the honesty of the PSOE”, defended the general secretary of the PSRM.
The truth, in any case, is that the arrests in Albudeite, a town of 1,390 inhabitants, ended up leading the last days of the campaign and weighing down the PSOE, while the PP emerged immune from a legislature during which this region has seen a former president convicted of prevarication (Pedro Antonio Sánchez) and another (Ramón Luis Valcárcel) on his way to the bench. “This is what we have not been able to communicate precisely, the corruption of the PP has remained in a fourth or fifth inkwell,” laments the mayor of Los Alcázares, Mario Cervera. For Eliseo García, however, the accent was placed sufficiently in these cases, but no echo was obtained.
But, above all, Vélez has been weighed down by ‘anti-Sanchism’, which has mobilized the right throughout Spain. The former mayor of Calasparra is precisely one of the barons close to Sánchez. He bet on the president in the convulsive primaries that pitted him against the leadership that had laminated him, and he won. From there, he became the strong man in the PSRM.
Most of Garcia Page
The results of Vélez contrast with those of García Page in Castilla-La Mancha. The baron most critical of Sánchez has achieved the only absolute majority for the PSOE. And he is, in fact, one of the only three presidents who have survived the overturn: Adrián Barbón, in Asturias, and María Chivite, in Navarra, it is also foreseeable that they will revalidate his government.
The Regional Executive Commission announced the opening of “a period of reflection” after meeting for three hours
This reopens the eternal debate on whether the Murcian socialists should mark more distance with Madrid. For the mayor of Los Alcázares, Mario Cervera, Vélez has already done it. “He has been able to confront some issues as fundamental as water and he has done so openly,” he defends in reference to the increase in the ecological flows of the Tagus.
The PSRM has many pending debates, although the July elections have gotten in the way. The Socialists will have to come out of the ‘shock’ and fight to stop the electoral bleeding.
Some mayors have been saved from the electoral ‘tsunami’ that this Sunday swept away a good part of the municipal power of the PSOE in the Region, leaving them reinforced as clear referents in the party. This is the case of María del Carmen Moreno, who revalidates a solid absolute majority in Águilas despite the fact that the PP won the regional elections in the town.
– What reading do you make of the results obtained in the municipal ones?
-We are satisfied; We have removed two councilors but we have achieved an absolute majority, which has not been easy in this context. We will continue working.
– What analysis do you make of the fall of the PSOE in the autonomic ones?
-We did not expect such a bad result; It has been bad without palliatives. Now, the Executive and the party bodies will have to read what happened and see what needs to be improved and changed.
«I have absolute loyalty to the general secretary; he will make the decision
– What factors do you think are behind these poor results?
-The national factor. The PP has carried out a regional and local campaign in a national key: everything has been ‘sanchismo’.
– Has the PSRM-PSOE response to this PP strategy been wrong?
– The PSRM strategy has not been carried out by me, and I respect what the party has done at the regional level. It will be necessary to analyze the errors and mistakes so as not to make them again. The PSOE is a government party, and when we govern we show that we can make policies that improve the lives of citizens. This region needs a strong PSOE, and the party will have to assess where we have gone wrong in order to improve and for the citizens to see that we are an alternative.
– Should Vélez take a step back, or should he continue at least until the general elections are over?
– I am not going to pronounce myself, I have absolute loyalty to the Secretary General: he has done everything he could, he has worked very hard. He deserves all my respect and loyalty. He will make the decision and whatever he makes, I will respect it.
– Has integration been lacking in the regional candidacy?
-It is very difficult to make a candidacy. When you put together a group of people on the lists, some like it and some don’t. I am of the opinion that the candidate should surround himself with those who he believes are the best.
– And in the governing bodies? Was there a lack of integration after the primaries?
-The general secretary chooses his team. Can not it be a different way.
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