Spanish rural party gains seats; PP beats PSOE

The new rural party Espana Vaciada ('Empty Spain') won seats in several villages and regional councils in local and regional elections in Spain on Sunday, and even emerged as the largest in the ballot box in one village (with four of the five council seats). .

The newcomer is now represented with one or two seats in two major provincial capitals and in a single regional council. Espana Vaciada is a bundling of various regional political groups that has been in the Spanish Parliament since 2019 with one Member of Parliament (Tomas Guitarte, from the Teruel district).

This year he and his provincial party have been absorbed into the national rural umbrella organization, with the main spearhead being more government investments to maintain the quality of life in the countryside.

In recent decades, more and more Spaniards have moved to the big cities or even abroad because of unemployment and poverty. This time, the local parties were registered in 234 municipalities, 50 regional councils and 13 provinces.

After the ruling social democratic PSOE party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez suffered a major defeat throughout Spain, he has decided to call early parliamentary elections. They should be held at the latest at the end of this year, but the PSOE leader has now brought that forward to July 28. The conservative PP party (Partido Popular) emerged as the largest party not only in the capital Madrid, but also in many other populous cities. 

The parliamentary elections in two months will mainly be between those two political opponents as two left and centre-right wing parties were all but wiped out. Spain is returning to a two-party system, according to commentators. Only the far-right Vox is still reasonably standing; it can already help the PP to a majority in some provinces.

Espana Vaciada has not yet commented on the early national elections, but said earlier this year that "the whole of Spain is suffering from the depopulation of rural areas," and that they intended to register all over Spain. In that case, the national elections could be a finger exercise for the European elections in Spain in June 2024.