ANOTHER weekend in the run-up to the May 28 local and regional elections in Spain, and another spending promise from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

After announcing last weekend subsidised Interrail and domestic train travel for young people, the Socialist Party leader on Sunday turned his attention to the over-65s. 

At a party rally in Castilla-La Mancha, Sanchez pledged that the government would put in place a scheme to encourage pensioners to go to the cinema, with a fixed €2 ticket price on Tuesdays. 

“The pandemic forced cinemas to close and caused other adverse effects,” Sanchez told a crowd of 1,600 people in Puertollano. “We need to recover those spaces, and make culture a state policy. That’s why we are going to make a new advance: subsidise the over-65s so that they can go to the cinema and pay €2 to enjoy Spanish and international cinema.”

The program will involve spending of €10 million and will be developed in conjunction with the main associations in the sector, according to Spanish daily El Pais

“I know that this is going to bother the right wing,” Sanchez added about his plan. “But when they govern, their Cabinet meetings were all about social cutbacks, whereas ours are about social advances.”

This weekend marked the official start of the election campaign ahead of the May 28 polls, but the country’s political parties have been in pre-campaign mode for several weeks now. 

A general election is also due to be held later this year, around December. A fragmented outcome is the likeliest scenario according to the polls. In order to get back into power, Pedro Sanchez will probably have to do deals with leftist parties, while on the right a coalition of the conservative Popular Party (PP) and far-right Vox is predicted by surveys.

Sanchez currently governs in coalition with leftist Unidas Podemos, but the government lacks a working majority in Congress. This means that they have had to reach deals with smaller parties to get legislation through since the government was formed in early 2020.

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