Spain’s key regional and local elections at a glance

Spain on Sunday May 28th will hold local and regional polls, which are seen as a crucial barometer ahead of a year-end general election.

Spain's key regional and local elections at a glance
The candidate of 'Barcelona en comu' for her re-election as mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

What is at stake?

Some 35.5 million people are eligible to vote in 8,131 municipalities across the country to elect over 67,000 councillors. In addition, elections will be held in 12 of Spain’s 17 regions.

Ten are governed by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists either alone or as part of a coalition. The main right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) controls the other two.

READ ALSO: Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez faces key test in regional elections    

Why the elections matter

Spain is due to hold a general election by the end of the year and Sunday’s polls will give a sense of the electoral mood.

Polls suggest the PP will win the general election but fall short of an absolute majority in parliament.

Sánchez currently governs in a minority coalition with smaller hard-left Podemos.

The election also matters because under Spain’s decentralised form of government, regional authorities enjoy wide powers, especially over education and healthcare.

READ ALSO: Spain’s regional elections: Who will win in each autonomous community?

What do the polls say?

The last poll by the Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS) suggested the Socialists will take 30.2 percent of the vote in the municipal elections, compared to 27.9 percent for the PP – a gap that has been shrinking.

But it is the results of the regional elections which will be watched more closely.

The PP is confident it will win power in up to six regions currently run by the Socialists, a result that would boost the party’s leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

Wrestling control of just four regions would still be considered a success for Feijóo, who took the party’s helm last year.

The performance of far-right Vox will also be closely scrutinised, with the party expected to make gains in several regions. The PP may need the support of Vox to form a working majority in several
regions after Sunday’s election.

Vox currently governs together with the PP in just one region – Castilla y León – which is not voting on Sunday. If Vox enters more regional governments, Sánchez could try to rally support for the year-end election by stepping up warnings that the PP is beholden to the far right.

The battles to follow

In Madrid, there is no doubt that the PP’s ambitious Isabel Díaz Ayuso will be re-elected head of the regional government, but it is unclear whether she will get her desired absolute majority.

In the eastern Valencia region, home to important tourist resorts such as Benidorm, the PP could oust the Socialists both at a regional level and from the city hall in the port city of Valencia – which would be a double blow for Sánchez.

In Barcelona, the race is very tight although some polls suggest the Socialists could win a majority, displacing the left-wing Barcelona en Comu platform which has ruled Spain’s second city in various coalitions since 2015.

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Spain sees no risk to EU presidency from July snap election

There is "no risk" that Spain's upcoming European Union presidency will be affected by an early general election in July, Spanish Prime minister Pedro Sánchez said Monday.

Spain sees no risk to EU presidency from July snap election

Sánchez last week dissolved parliament and called a snap election on July 23rd following heavy losses for his Socialist party in local and regional elections on May 28th.

Spain is slated to take over the rotating presidency of the bloc from Sweden on July 1st.

READ ALSO: Who won where in Spain’s regional elections?

Asked if the general election would affect its turn at the helm of the bloc, Sánchez said the goals for this presidency were shared with the other EU member states and the European Commission.

“There is no risk that all the goals which we set before the elections were called will not be met during this presidency,” he said during a joint news conference with his visiting Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson.

“Other nations have held elections as well during their presidency and absolutely nothing went wrong,” he added.

Kristersson said he “fully shared” Sánchez’s assessment that there is “no problem at all”.

READ ALSO: Collapse of Spain’s far-left complicates vote for Sánchez

He recalled that Sweden held elections just before its presidency of the bloc while France held presidential elections in April 2022 during its EU presidency.

“Every country is very well suited to handle all the activities at the same time,” Kristersson said.

Sánchez had been scheduled to address the European Parliament’s plenary session on July 13th to outline Madrid’s main policies during the six-month presidency, but he requested it be delayed to September due to the early elections.

That would allow the speech to be delivered by a new Spanish premier in the event that Sánchez is defeated in the election.