Shift in Spanish Politics Deepens After Vote in Andalusia

(Bloomberg) -- Andalusia, a stronghold for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist party for 36 years, is poised to fall to parties on the political right and center as they advance an alliance to rule the region for the first time.

The conservative People’s Party and the liberals of Ciudadanos reached a deal this week calling for the PP’s Juan Manuel Moreno to become the region’s next president in January. Vox, a right-wing populist party that won its first seats ever in the Andalusian parliament in elections earlier this month, was promised representation on the key committee that directs the assembly’s procedures and chooses the candidate for president.

In a vote held Thursday, Marta Bosquet of Ciudadanos was chosen to head the committee, moving the center and right-of-center groups a step forward to wrest control from the Socialists.

The spectacle of Andalusia being ruled by a PP president would deal a chastening blow to the Socialists, who saw their support in the region slide in elections held on Dec. 2. The vote also witnessed the emergence of Vox, which won 12 seats in the 109-seat assembly to confirm a new fracture in the Spanish political establishment dominated until a few years ago by the Socialists and the PP.

The backdrop to the change underway in Andalusia is the political scenario at national level where Sanchez, at the head of a minority government, is struggling to pass legislation. He has said that if he can’t pass the budget that he will take to parliament in January, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to see out his term of office that ends in 2020 without new elections.

It’s still not a done deal because Vox hasn’t come out clearly to say how it will vote, Antonio Barroso, a political risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London, said by phone. Even so, Spanish media were taking the change in government for granted. Diario Sur newspaper, based in the Andalusian city of Malaga, published headline saying “Juan Moreno, From Malaga, the Next President.”

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