PSOE courts LGBT vote with 26-J campaign launch

Pedro Sánchez (left) at 14th May inauguration of Pedro Zerolo plaza in Madrid. Photo: Emilio Naranjo / EFE
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• PSOE campaign kickoff set for Pedro Zerolo plaza in Madrid’s Chueca barrio
• Socialists seek to retain LGBT loyalty in crucial Madrid election battleground

The Socialist party (PSOE) has chosen a symbolic venue to kick-off the party’s campaign for the upcoming 26th June (26-J) general elections, with party leader Pedro Sánchez set to launch the Socialists’ election bid on Thursday from a plaza in Madrid’s Chueca neighborhood that was recently renamed in honor of Pedro Zerolo, the late-LGBT activist, PSOE member of Madrid’s city council and friend of the Socialist party leader.

Sánchez was on hand for the recent naming ceremony of the Plaza de Pedro Zerolo in the formerly working-class Chueca neighbourhood that is today a haven for the LGBT community in Madrid and in addition to the Socialist leader’s choice of the plaza for the campaign launch, the timing is significant as Thursday marks not only the official start of the general election campaign but also the first anniversary of Zerolo’s death.

LGBT voters in the capital, said to be largely PSOE loyalists because of progressive legislation that included the 2007 law enabling same-sex marriage passed by the Socialist government of former-Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, are believed to comprise as much as 10 percent of all eligible voters in Madrid. Seen as a crucial battleground for the PSOE, Sánchez will participate in six campaign events in Madrid and the Socialists will both open and close their general election campaign in the city, where the party seeks to regain ground by winning over centrist voters while staving off a challenge on the left posed by the rival Unidos Podemos alliance of new-left anti-austerity party Podemos and the legacy old-left Izquierda Unida (IU) coalition, led by the Spanish Communist Party.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, El Mundo and Actuall …

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