The countryside and 23 towns decide Spanish politics today

  • 13-F All information on the elections in Castilla y León
  • See you at the polls The PP foresees a sufficient majority in a very volatile electoral scenario

The people of Castile and Leon decide today the government of their autonomy in the most abnormal elections held in the region for 40 years. 2,099,490 citizens are being called to the polls in elections being held early after President Alfonso Fernandez Maueco broke the government pact the PP had maintained with Ciudadanos in December. All games are played a lot today, regionally and nationally.

The leader of the popular in Castile and León, he intends to consolidate his presidency and preserve the power of a party that has governed the community for 35 years without interruption. The polls – with the exception of the CEI, which gives the victory to the PSOE ofLuis Tudanca- have guaranteed victory so far, but far from the crushing results of yesteryear. All agree that he will be the most voted, but also that he will need the support of the other parties to govern, in all likelihood Vox.

It is the first time that Castile and León has stood alone in regional elections and has monopolized media attention as it did last month. National leaders marched through its cities and provinces, including Pablo Casado and Santiago Abascal. Pedro Sánchez kept his distance at the start, but in the home stretch he turned around and Yolanda Díaz was the only national leader to remain on the sidelines of the campaign, competing in just one event.

Country settings with farms in the background were frequent in some events, as well as visits to farms and agri-food industries, which have become the leitmotif of a campaign centered on the rural world. Castilla y León has a particularity: it has many very small municipalities. Of the 2,248 that exist, 2,007 have less than 1,000 inhabitants. Although this does not necessarily mean that the elections will be decided today by them alone.

One thing is where people are registered and another is where they live and have their business, explains Eduardo G. Vegaconsultant for the International Center for Governmental and Political Marketing (Cigmap) of Camilo Jose Cela University. He argues that parties have detected that the rural vote can be important and can condition the outcome in their favor, but it is necessary to delve into the needs of citizens because people vote out of necessity.

The paradox of Castilla y León is that, if the rural world is very important, the truth is that the majority of the population is concentrated in the cities. Those of Castilla y León are not large – the largest is Valladolidwith 297,775 inhabitants; Soria, which is the capital of the province, does not reach 40,000 inhabitants, but they concentrate the majority of the population. 56% of the inhabitants are concentrated in municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants (the nine provincial capitals and 14 other localities). It is therefore here that most of the electorate resides which today decides the direction of the elections.

emergence of new formations

Although it failed to govern, the PSOE won the elections in 2019 – and it was precisely in most of these municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants that it managed to be the most voted force. . Socialists prevailed in 14 of the 15 most populous cities and in all but one provincial capital, Salamanca, which is Maueco’s hometown and of which he served as mayor.

The PP, on the other hand, managed to win in the small towns, where it won 54.15% of the vote. It is no coincidence that Casado presented the PP as the campaign party at a time when the main polls are promoting Vox, which has been gaining strength among rural voters.

Also the irruption of new formations, as is the case of Espaa Vaciada, can condition the result of Maueco, whose challenge is twofold: to maintain the hegemony popular in the countryside and is advancing in the urban vote that resisted him in the elections three years ago.

A major problem facing the major parties, and which prevented the PP from achieving the large absolute majorities of the 1990s and 2000s, is the fragmentation of the vote. Today, eight formations aspire to obtain representation in the Cortes of Castilla y León, one more than there is currently in the Chamber. With the eruption of Empty Spain, the bipartisanship that ruled Spanish and Castilian-Leonese politics for three decades has not only returned, but has also become increasingly distant.

They all share the fight against depopulation, one of the main problems of Castilla y León. It is the largest territory in Spain, but only 2,383,139 people live there. In percentage: the community has 18% of the area of ​​the country, but 5% of the population. The aging of the inhabitants, a negative vegetative balance and the rural exodus have caused a continuous loss of population, which since 1971 – the first year for which registers are available, according to data from the INE– was reduced by 10.55% (281,628 inhabitants), while in the same period Spain increased its population by 13 million people.

correct Extremadura, Asturias and Castilla y León suffered a loss of inhabitants during this period. In the case of the autonomous community in question, 86.5% of its municipalities lost almost 300,000 inhabitants and provinces like vila saw their population reduced by half. The result is that of a region where the dispersion of the population is very pronounced and of a society where the average age is between 47 and 87 years, since it is the community with more young people living abroad of their places of birth.

economic sectors

Castilla y León is currently the region from which most young people migrate and, unlike in the past, when young people left the cities for the city, they now do so to other provinces, says Miguel Gonzalez-Leonardodemographer at the Center for Demographic Studies of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and study author Emigration and flight of talent from Castilla y León. Castilla y Len is not mainly characterized by very high unemployment rates, as is the case in other regions such as Andalusian Where the Canary Islands, but I know that it is a region that is distinguished by a labor market that does not require skilled jobs. It is a region in which the agricultural sector, the automotive industry and the service sector are the main pillars of its economy, but which do not require specific qualifications to perform their jobs.

Castilla y León leads in this respect for the percentage of young people aged 16 to 34 who live outside their place of origin; in fact, there are more residents of Avila and Soria living in other parts of Spain than are left in their respective provinces.

Madrid It is the favorite destination of Castilians and Leonese, with a total of 369,416 registered voters, a very significant fact, given that they will not be able to vote in these elections. Yet the 51,755 young people called to the polls will do so, and they will do so for the first time, having reached the age of majority since the last elections held in 2019. The future of the region.

Castile and León 2022 electionsFALSE