Socialist party wins Valencia for first time since 1991

PSPV-PSOE leader Ximo Puig with supporters after election results announced. Photo: Fernando Bustamante / Levante-EMV
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President Ximo Puig of the regional Socialist party affiliate PSPV-PSOE was the only leader of Spain’s 13 autonomous communities with elections scheduled for 26th May to gamble and move regional balloting forward to coincide with Sunday’s nationwide general elections.

Late Sunday night, Puig saw his bet pay off as election results rolled in and his party won the most votes in regional Valencia elections for the first time since 1991, when party leader Juan Lerma won 43.42 percent of the vote for a solid 45 seats in the 99-member Corts Valencians regional parliament.

In Sunday’s balloting in Valencia, Puig’s PSPV came back from a quarter century of disappointing regional returns, polling 637,673 votes for 23.87 percent of the total vote share and earning it four additional seats for a total of 27 in the next session of the parliament. Importantly, the positive result also returns the Socialist-led Pacto de Botanic governing coalition to power for another four years.

Four years ago, the PSPV banded together with the regional Compromís party and the Unides Podem regional affiliate of the national Podemos party, signing an accord in Valencia’s Botanic gardens that served to oust the conservative Partido Popular (PP) from the Valencia regional government in Valencia, despite the Socialists having won fewer votes at the ballot box than the PP in 2015.

The PP had held power uninterrupted in Valencia since 1995, but at the regional and municipal levels in Valencia the conservative party had been weakened by a series of corruption allegations and political scandals.

The PSPV’s Botanic partner Compromis won 439,459 votes for 16.45 percent of the vote share Sunday, giving it 17 seats in the regional legislature, a loss of 2 seats over the number it had held since 2015. Unides Podem won 213,007 votes for 7.97 percent of the total ballots cast, losing 5 of the 13 seats it held in the last legislature and giving it 8 seats in the next session of the Corts.

The PP won 504,403 votes for 18.88 percent of the total vote, losing 12 of the 31 seats it held in the previous legislature to end up with just 19 seats in the next session. As in the national elections Sunday, competition from centre-right Ciudadanos and ultra-right VOX parties appeared to cannibalize the PP voter base, with Ciudadanos increasing the number of seats it holds from 3 to 18 and VOX winning 10.44 percent of the total vote and 10 seats in the Corts in its first outing at the polls in Valencia.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, Las Provincias and Levante-EMV …

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