WITH the regional election campaign now in full swing ahead of polling day on Sunday, June 19, The Olive Press takes a look at the candidates vying to become President of Andalucia.
Polls indicate President Juanma Moreno and his Popular Party (PP) are likely to stay in power, and do even better than the last regional election.
The conservative PP currently presides over a minority government supported by far-right Vox and the liberal Ciudadanos party.
The PP´s taking of the Andalucian presidency in 2019 ended decades of political dominance by the Spanish Socialist Workers´ Party (PSOE) in the region.
The largest poll carried out in the elections so far, by the Centre of Sociological Investigations (CIS) which interviewed 7539 Andalucians, put the PP very close to achieving an absolute majority of 55 seats, as well as being the most popular party in all eight provinces.
The poll sees the PP winning 47-49 seats, well ahead of nearest rivals PSOE with 32-36 seats.
After the two largest parties, the CIS poll predicts Vox to achieve 17-21 seats, Por Andalucia with 9-10 and Ciudadanos with 1-3.
The Olive Press looks more closely at the leaders of each of the main parties and what they propose for Andalucia:
Juanma Moreno – Popular Party
Moreno is asking voters for another term in office as head of the Junta de Andalucia for himself and his party, which he has led through its rise to success in the region since being elected leader in 2014. Aside from his positions in Andalucian politics, Moreno was also previously Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality in the national government.
In his campaign message Moreno wants to emphasise that given the progress made in this term while facing the challenge of the pandemic, his PP could achieve so much more if given another term in what will hopefully be easier times.
Juan Espadas – Spanish Socialist Workers´ Party (PSOE)
Former Mayor of Seville Juan Espadas is hoping to win back Andalucia´s support for his party. After being elected PSOE leader last year, he left his position as Mayor of Seville at the beginning of 2022 to concentrate on the upcoming Andalucian elections.
If elected President of Andalucia, Espadas has promised to create 100,000 jobs for young people over four years, as well as launch a programme to help young people access the world of work. Alongside this the PSOE will defend universal healthcare, the welfare state, and, amongst other things, the Andalucian accent.
Macarena Olona – Vox
Currently General Secretary of Vox in the Congress of Deputies, Macarena Olona is also leading the far-right party in the Andalucian elections. From Alicante, she has previously been state attorney for the Basque Country. As a lawyer, she was involved in an investigation which found public officials from the PP and PSOE to have participated in corruption involving foreign contracts.
Olana is known for her extreme criticisms of the Spanish government, calling President Pedro Sanchez´s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic “genocidal”, as well as downplaying the severity of the problem of gender based violence.
Juan Marin – Ciudadanos
Serving as the Vice President of the current government and Minister for Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration, Juan Marin is leading his liberal Citizens party in this month’s Andalucian election. Born in Cadiz, Marin was a businessman before entering politics, and also a keen volleyball coach and referee.
If elected, Marin has promised that “for every euro of taxes Pedro Sanchez raises for Andalucians”, he will lower it. Campaigning on an agenda of low taxes, Marin is aiming to keep his party represented in the Junta, which some polls have estimated may be difficult.
Inma Nieto – Por Andalucia
Inma Nieto, born in Algeciras, has been a regional deputy in Andalucia since 2012. During the TV debate, her calmness was noted by commentators, essential when trying to keep such a wide coalition happy after the fallout of left wing parties in the region.
For Andalucia is a coalition of left wing parties who have come together for the 2022 Andalucian elections, including Podemos, the left wing populist party founded by former second Vicepresident Pablo Iglesias. The coalition was born after the breakup of the other left wing coalition, Adelante Andalucia, who they ran with in the last regional elections, after a row with its leader Teresa Rodriguez.
Teresa Rodriguez – Adelante Andalucia
The other left wing coalition, Forward Andalucia, is led by Teresa Rodriguez. This is the third time Rodriguez will lead a party in an Andalucian regional election, under Podemos in 2015 and the Adelante Andalucia coalition in 2018. Active in left wing politics since her student days at the University of Seville, Rodriguez started her own party, Anticapitalistas, which broke away from the rest of Podemos, now part of the Por Andalucia coalition, ahead of this years election. One policy on Adelante Andalucia´s agenda is to make the Sierra Bermeja, where the recent fire in Benahavis on the Costa del Sol broke out, a national park.