48.7 F
Washington D.C.
Friday, May 14, 2021

Far right making gains in Spain due to COVID-19

Spanish regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso called for an early election and opened up to an alliance with the far right, after criticizing the national left-wing government for its handling of the pandemic. An opinion poll shows she will win a solid victory. The Associated Press has the story:

Spanish regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso welcomes far right into her coalition due to COVID-19

MADRID (AP) — Madrid residents voted in droves Tuesday for a new regional assembly in an election that tested the depths of resistance to virus lockdown measures and the divide between left-wing and right-wing parties.

far right making gains
People queue to cast their votes during the regional election at the bullring in Moralzarzal, Spain, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Over 5 million Madrid residents are voting for a new regional assembly in an election that tests the depths of resistance to lockdown measures and the divide between left and right-wing parties. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who called the early election by dissolving her center-right coalition, had set off to broaden her power base and open up to an alliance with the far-right. She has criticized the national left-wing government’s handling of the pandemic and resisted strict infection-control measures.

An opinion survey conducted before the vote and published as voting stations closed predicted that Díaz Ayuso would earn a solid victory with 43% of the votes. That level of support would more than double the number of seats for her conservative Popular Party in the Madrid assembly, according to the GAD3 survey of 8,500 voters.

The poll was conducted by phone between April 17-May 3 and has a 1% margin of error.

Long queues of socially distanced voters formed outside polling stations Tuesday in schools, sports centers and even a bullring, despite concerns due to the high rate of new infections.

People queue for cast their vote during the regional election for a new regional assembly in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Over 5 million Madrid residents are voting Tuesday for a new regional assembly in an election that tests the depths of resistance to lockdown measures and the divide between left and right-wing parties.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

More than 69% of the 5 million eligible voters had voted by 7 p.m., an hour before voting ended, up from 64% in the previous regional election in 2019.

Authorities imposed strict voting requirements to prevent the spread of infections: double masks, separate entrance and exit paths for voters and plastic screens for election workers.

Older adults were encouraged to cast their ballots during a 2-hour period mid-morning and the hour before polls close was reserved for people quarantining because of COVID-19.

Far right upstart party Vox could be kingmaker in the election

Díaz Ayuso has gained increasing popularity among voters who in recent elections were attracted to the populism of Vox, an upstart far-right party that could become kingmaker in Tuesday’s election.

The Madrid region is Spain’s main economic engine and the country’s busiest transportation hub. It’s home to 14% of Spain’s 47 million people but has recorded nearly one-fifth of the country’s 3.5 million confirmed virus cases and of the national pandemic death toll of over 78,000.

Spanish far-right Vox party candidate for Madrid regional presidency Rocio Monasterio, centre left, arrives to cast her vote during the regional election in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Madrid residents are voting for a new regional assembly in an election that tests the depths of resistance to lockdown measures and the divide between left and right-wing parties. Polling stations opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday with strict requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The only incident reported was a brief semi-naked protest by the activist group Femen who held signs reading “It’s not patriotism, it’s fascism” outside where Vox’s main candidate voted.

Official results are expected later Tuesday night.

By ARITZ PARRA

Read more international news

More articles

Latest article

McDonald's

McDonald’s-owned stores increase workers’ pay

0
Various large companies have announces raises for their workers recently, including McDonald's, Chipotle, Oliver Garden, Amazon and Costco. The McDonald's wage increases will apply...
Amazon hiring

Amazon hiring 75,000, those vaccinated get $100

0
Amazon continues to grow even bigger, ramping up hiring with 75,000 new employees in preparation for Prime Day next month. It's become one of...
Alibaba

Big operating loss for Alibaba after fine

0
The Chinese technology firm Alibaba suffered an operating loss for the first time after going public in 2014. It may be due to a...
Fox News

Fox News giving shows to Bongino, Gowdy

0
Two very popular conservatives are getting their own shows on Fox News. Commentator Dan Bongino, who is already a frequent guest, will host a...
New social justice award

New social justice award named after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

0
The NBA has created a new award named after one of its stars, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award. It will be given...