Some pilgrims line the Monastery of San Salvador, on the Camino del Norte, direction Santiago de Compostela, which crosses part of the Mari & # 241; a Lucense. . / Eliseo Trigo
Madrid, Jul 11 . .- Two historic Spanish regions, Galicia and the Basque Country, hold regional elections tomorrow, Sunday, with « extreme » security measures in the face of hundreds of coronavirus outbreaks throughout the country.
Although the vast majority of cases detected in recent weeks are minor, national and regional health authorities are working to prevent outbreaks of community contagion out of control, in one of the countries most affected by the pandemic worldwide, with more than 28,400 dead.
In both regions, precautionary measures have been increased, with masks, disinfectant gel, safety distance markings and entry and exit routes, as well as a priority for people over 65 years of age.
In the Basque town of Ordizia, epicenter of the most important outbreak in its region (70 cases), the electoral tables have been installed in open places, such as schoolyard patios or sports facilities, to avoid closed places.
It is also recommended to take the envelopes with the ballots from home, in order to use the public booths as little as possible.
The authorities of both regions have banned infected people from voting, explaining that their right to vote is not restricted but their mobility is limited to protect the rest of the population.
Basque-positive covid-19 citizens who come to vote may commit a crime against public health, regional security ministers Estefanía Beltrán de Heredia and health ministers Nekane Murga said at a press conference this Saturday.
THE DANGER OF HIGH ABSTENTION
In these circumstances, the big question is the level of participation. As an example, only 41.6 percent of voters voted in the second round of French municipal elections on June 28, the most immediate precedent for elections after the end of confinement due to the pandemic.
Voting by mail shot up in both regions compared to the previous 2016 elections: 130 percent in the Basque Country and almost 80 percent in Galicia.
In an attempt to avoid a strong abstention, the Galician president and candidate for reelection, Alberto Núñez Feijoo, affirms that the situation is « normal and calm », and that going to vote will be « safe, like going to the pharmacy ».
« Do not be afraid. Voting is safe, » said the head of the Basque Government, Íñigo Urkullu, when addressing « people who can be prevented from going to vote. »
POLITICAL MEANING OF THE COMICIOS
On the purely political side, the fact that both regions have their own characteristics, added to the foreseeable wide abstention from the pandemic, may limit the extrapolation of the results at the national level.
In other circumstances, these elections could be a first thermometer to see the health of the coalition government -the first in the recent democratic history of Spain-, made up of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the leftist formation United We Can.
One of the axes of the political discussion is the strong economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the Executive’s response, focused on trying to reduce the social repercussions and defend the most fragile population.
But Galicia is a region where the conservative Popular Party (PP, the first opposition force at the national level) traditionally wins.
Current head of the Galician regional government, Núñez Feijoo (PP), aspires to achieve his fourth term and achieve his second absolute majority, against the PSOE and various leftist and nationalist groups that aspire to form an alternative coalition.
Something similar occurs in the Basque Country, where the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) hopes to repeat the victory it has been obtaining since regional elections were held there in 1980.
All the polls indicate that the PNV will improve its results four years ago, although without achieving an absolute majority, despite some notable errors and corruption scandals.
And there is no doubt that it will maintain its parliamentary collaboration with the Socialist Party, which is also reproduced, conversely, in Madrid, where the PNV supports the Government chaired by the socialist Pedro Sánchez.
A possible national interpretation of the results could occur if Núñez Feijoo achieves a broad victory in Galicia, since at the national level he maintains a much more moderate and pactist discourse than that of the leader of his party, Pablo Casado, of an incendiary verb against the Spanish Government. .
Instead, Casado imposed a much tougher candidate in the Basque Country than initially anticipated, and a negative result in that region could also mean some form of disavowal for the conservative leader’s strategy.