Municipal Elections 2023 – Ayuso wins again, Colau is out

June 1, 2023

Hey y’all!

We had some elections over the weekend here in Spain.

I’m not really the “party politics” type, so I don’t have a ton to say about it.

But in case anyone’s following me for their Spanish news, let’s talk about the municipal and regional elections that just happened on 28 May 2023.

catalonia declares independence
Spanish flags at the parade for the 12th of October in Madrid.

Starting with two of our most media-friendly politicians…

Ayuso crushes it, Colau is out

Once again, Isabel Díaz Ayuso won the Madrid Community, with a bit more than 47% of the votes, which gives her an absolute majority of seats in the Asamblea de Madrid.

(With so many parties, there’s a certain disproportionate advantage for the most-voted, and you can get a majority of seats without a majority of votes. The way they assign the seats is called the d’Hondt method – roughly pronounced as “daunt”. That’s after the Belgian lawyer and jurist who came up with it.)

Anyway, José Luís Martínez-Almeida also won another term as mayor of Madrid. He’s from the Partido Popular like Ayuso, and it looks like Madrid is happy with the center-right leadeship.

(The Comunidad de Madrid is one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, and it contains the city of Madrid, as well as many smaller cities and towns. Ayuso runs the government of the Comunidad, Almeida runs Madrid’s City Hall. Things like the autonomous communities, provinces, etc tend to come up on the Spanish citizenship test, if you’re ever planning on taking that.)

Anyway, I’m gonna be honest here: I like Ayuso.

She’s the only Spanish politician I’ve seen who has a high level of charisma, ever.

Most people I know don’t like her much. Then again, I’ve never heard any of them make an actual argument. They just get angry any time someone mentions her name. I’m still waiting to hear exactly what she’s done that’s so terrible. I’m sure there’s a long list of things… but nobody seems to know what they are.

Up here in Barcelona, on the other hand, our much-beloved mayor Ada Colau got third place, behind Xavier Trias, who was mayor previously (from 2011 to 2015) and Jaume Collboni of the Partido de los Socialistas de Cataluña – which is apparently associated with but not the same thing as the PSOE. Spain has a lot of regional parties, it complicates things a bit.

Trias tends to be popular among the very rich – and, apparently, others… you can’t get elected, obviously, with the votes of the rich alone. And Collboni has spent some time as deputy mayor under Colau.

Anyway, nobody got anything close to a majority here, so the parties have to negotiate to see if they can make a coalition of some kind. Either way, it looks like Colau won’t be mayor again.

reasons why i hate spain
Parc Guell, also known as the 2nd touristiest place on earth. (The first is Sagrada Familia.)

The Partido Popular seems to have done pretty well in other parts of Spain. Vox over on the far right is growing too. And Ciudadanos seems to have mostly disappeared. They’ve just announced they won’t even be presenting a list of candidates for the next election. Which brings us to the big news…

National Elections will be on 23 July!

The day after the election, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced he was moving up the national elections to July 23. (They were originally scheduled for late this year.)

Like him or not – I don’t, personally – he seems to be pretty good at staying in office, and getting the different leftist parties to cooperate, sort of. Maybe early elections are part of his master plan.

Anyway, I guess we’ll see if people still want him or not, in just a couple of months. The candidate for the Populares is called Alberto Núñez Feijóo – it’s a name from Galicia, I’m not sure how to pronounce it – and he hasn’t made any real impression on me as of yet. He’s gangly, and a bit goofy looking, but that doesn’t say much about how he’d run the country.

Also, there are negotiations to see just how many parties will be running on the “left of PSOE” end of things – I barely keep track, but all the former Podemos parties need to see if they can get together this time, or if they’ll be running separately.

An Okupa update: the eviction of La Ruïna

An update on my last article about the okupa “movement” around Spain: a judge has ordered the eviction of the people living in La Ruïna, one of the squatted buildings in Barcelona’s Bonanova neighborhood. It looks like the judicial order needs to be ratified by someone else… they’re waiting for a “sentencia firme”, whatever that means. So it could still be a while before anything is done. But in theory, the okupas are going to be evicted.

The protest and counter-protest I decided not to go to the other night ended without major incident. Police identified some anarchists throwing eggs at people, which as far as I can tell isn’t actually a crime. The residential okupas living in the old bakery on my street are still there, and apparently doing fine.

In other news, I have no idea how Spanish people choose a political party to vote for.

I’ve been here for almost half my life (soon enough it’ll be 20 years) and I still don’t have any clear preference for one party or another. I like Ayuso, but then again, I liked Zapatero back in the day – he seemed friendly, at least.

Then I spent several years during the Great Recession not liking Rajoy, but I suddenly decided I liked Rajoy a lot when he took a hard line with all the unconstitutional Catalan referendum nonsense. Pablo Iglesias always seemed like a creep. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as him.

Currently, I don’t like Pedro Sanchez for the moronic Covid lockdowns he forced on all of us, and for being soft on the Catalan independence types – I think people who do unconstitutional things should get what’s coming to them.

Mostly, though, I guess I just don’t like politicians.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today.

Have a good week, y’all.


Daniel AKA Mr Chorizo.

P.S. Does anyone really know how politics works? I consider myself wildly uninformed, and so I try to limit my number of strong political opinions. However I’ve talked to plenty of people who are obviously wrong about even the basics of what party thinks what, but then they have plenty of strong opinions. Personally, I think that defining an election between career bureaucrats who’ve never had a real job as some epic struggle of “good vs evil” is a scam. But that’s me. What do you think?

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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