Vox demands top role in new right-wing regional government after PP wins short of majority in Castilla

Analysis: Ciudadanos and Podemos almost disappear in ballot that leaves regional parliament more divided than ever. Provincial parties do well.
By Matthew Bennett
Feb 13, 2022, 11:19 am
Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:10 pm

The Popular Party has managed to improve its result by two seats in the regional parliament in Castilla y León but has lost 60,000 votes and o.04 percentage points of support. Instead of having Ciudadanos in its regional government, like before Christmas, with their 12 seats, now Alfonso Fernández Mañueco will have to reach an agreement with Juan García Gallardo, of Vox, who has improved from one to 13 seats thanks to the early elections called by the PP. “This guy Juan Garcia-Gallardo looks like a Deputy First Minister to me!”, shouted Santiago Abascal during his appearance. They have already demanded a good seat at the top table but Mañueco didn't mention them in his own appearance. He wants to govern "of all and for all". He doesn't have that many options.

Only seven or eight years after starting to grow in Spanish politics, Podemos and Ciudadanos have almost disappeared. Both parties that not very long ago were "revolutionary", each in its own way, are left with just one seat each in the regional parliament, following along in the wake of their national parties. Voters want less far-left and less liberal centre. The national leaders of both parties should accept their part of the responsibility for the regional results. Unión del Pueblo Leonés, Soria Ya and For Ávila have all had a good night, with seven seats in total for the three provincial parties, all focused on more local issues.

This is the most divided regional parliament in Castilla y León since Spain's Transition to democracy in the 1970s, with eight parties represented.

And only time will tell if Vox consolidates its position as an alternative further to the right of the Popular Party or if, as is now happening to Podemos and Ciudadanos, they promise a lot in election campaigns and deliver little in government. If Mañueco's talking "to all" just ends up with a right-wing government subject to Vox's ideology, it will be the first time Abascal's party joins a regoinal or national government in Spain. Although technically the PP won in terms of seats tonight, this cannot be considered a strategic victory for Pablo Casado nationally. Vox is starting to look like a winning horse on the right. The energy of this election campaign in Castilla y León suggested that was the case and the results have confirmed it. Abascal is moving forward. Casado and Mañueco are standing still. Vox overtaking the PP on the right in some future election cannot be ruled out. The next immediate challenge will be Andalusia. What must PP First Minister Juanma Moreno be thinking in Seville tonight?


1. Election day has arrived in Castilla y León. Who will win? The first irregularity to make a note of is a strange turnout announcement they have scheduled for 11:30 a.m. In Spain, these announcements are always made at 2:30 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 11:19 am | On Twitter

2. GAD3's Michavila said in a radio interview on Thursday that “if 2 p.m. turnout falls below 33%, the left will govern in Castilla y León”. Mañueco (PP) grabbed that on Friday and called for “an unprecedented mobilisation”, “massive support” for the PP. Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 11:23 am | On Twitter

3. So instead of having to wait until lunchtime for the first turnout announcement, we'll get it in about five minutes. Have all the parties agreed to alter the election day diary like this? Who made that decision? When?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 11:27 am | On Twitter

4. Will there be a Vox surprise tonight? Will it be a disaster for Mañueco, Casado and the PP? Might there be a left-wing coalition? Will turnout be low? What role will provincial parties play? Listen to the podcast with @electo_mania (in Spanish): Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 11:43 am | On Twitter

5. Will the parties say anything about the unexpected change in the electoral day diary in Castilla y León? It is a change in election procedure, known and expected by all, on the very day of the ballot. It's like suddenly changing parliamentary procedure.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 11:56 am | On Twitter

6. There you have it, the first turnout number of the day, the abnormal one, the “novelty”, the 11:30 a.m. figure in Castilla y León: 11.31% of voters have voted. They published the figure at 12:00 p.m. What is the point of that information so early on election day?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 12:04 pm | On Twitter

7. By provinces, thanks to the novelty of this strange morning announcement in Castilla y León, we know they get up earlier, or are more eager, or tend to finish coffee earlier in Segovia and Soria vs. Zamora and León. Or does this already favor local León party UPL? No idea.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 12:12 pm | On Twitter

8. The government in Castilla y León also announced a free public transport service to go and vote. Amount depends on the province. In Ávila, there is only one page of buses. In Burgos, the list is 22 pages long with different towns and times. Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 12:36 pm | On Twitter

9. If Michavila's scenario were to occur, would it be possible, hypothetically, because of turnout and the way everything is divided up, for Mañueco (PP) to maybe even lose a seat, for Vox to get more than expected and at the same time a left-wing coaltion ends up in government?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 12:56 pm | On Twitter

10. España Vaciada, citing “citizens”, says on Twitter that there are polling stations that do not have ballots with the option of voting for their party and that polling station staff are directing the vote to other parties if voters ask about them. Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 1:53 pm | On Twitter

11. Lunchtime turnout in Castilla y León: 34.74%. A little higher than Michavila's level (33%) for a possible left-wing coalition, but OK Diario already headlining with the danger of “socialists and communists taking power”.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 2:45 pm | On Twitter

12. Looking at the provinces, turnout down more than five points in Ávila and Zamora, four in Segovia and three in León.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 2:49 pm | On Twitter

13. Regional government in Castilla y León announces that 6 p.m. turnout is 51.62%, more than two points lower than in 2019 (53.70%).

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 6:36 pm | On Twitter

14. Evening turnout down almost seven points in Ávila and Zamora, almost five in Segovia, compared to 2019.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 6:47 pm | On Twitter

15. One hour and ten minutes until the polls close and the final poll numbers from the last few days are published. What effect will a two-point overall drop in turnout in Castilla y León, or almost seven in Ávila and Zamora have? What will the real results say later tonight?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 6:53 pm | On Twitter

16. This is how the distribution of seats in Castilla y León has evolved since 1987. How much fragmentation will there be today? How much will Vox eat up on the right, from almost zero? What will happen to Ciudadanos? What will this chart look like tonight after dinner?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 7:48 pm | On Twitter

17. BALLOT CLOSES. First poll, from last few days, from Sociométrica: PP (30-33), Vox (11-13) Ciudadanos (0-1) PSOE (26-28), Podemos (3) UPL (2-3), Soria Ya (0), Por Ávila (1) Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:02 pm | On Twitter

18. GAD3 poll: - PP (31-33), Vox (11-13) Ciudadanos (1) - PSOE (26-28), Podemos (1-3) - UPL (3), Soria Ya (3), Por Ávila (1) Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:05 pm | On Twitter

19. Sigma Dos poll: - PP (30-32), Vox (10-12) Ciudadanos (1) - PSOE (28-30), Podemos (2-3) - UPL (3), Soria Ya (3), Por Ávila (1) Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:07 pm | On Twitter

20. Metroscopia poll: - PP (29-32), Vox (13-16) Ciudadanos (0-1) - PSOE (27-29), Podemos (2-3) - UPL (3), Soria Ya (2-3), Por Ávila (0-1) Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:11 pm | On Twitter

21. The count has already begun. This is the page to refresh. They have counted just 0.47% of the votes...but Mañueco would surely sign right away for these 42 seats for the PP. Link

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:24 pm | On Twitter

22. Looking at the four polls, only the lower values in the Sigma Dos poll, 30 seats for the PP and 10 for Vox, suggest there might not be a right-wing majority in Castilla y León tonight.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 8:28 pm | On Twitter

23. They're up to about 15% of the count. Still need the numbers from the cities. But roughly speaking, Mañueco (PP) has swapped Ciudadanos for Vox. Igea (Cs) will be lucky if he keeps his seat. Podemos not doing much better. The provincial parties will have a good night.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 9:02 pm | On Twitter

24. Like we talk about Casado or Sánchez for PP or PSOE results, what will Arrimadas say, and what consequences will it have for her national leadership, if Ciudadanos loses everything in Castilla y León tonight or if Igea is left all alone tonight? Will she take responsibility?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 9:19 pm | On Twitter

25. With 90% of votes counted, this is what the new parliament in Castilla y León looks like in its historical context since the 1980s. Huge fragmentation. Eight parties. The PP has swapped Ciudadanos for Vox. Ciudadanos and Podemos almost disappear. Provincial parties booming.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:11 pm | On Twitter

26. “This guy Juan Garcia-Gallardo looks like a Deputy First Minister to me!”, Abascal shouts to cheering crowd at his appearance: “He is going to fight for Castilla and León”. Vox leader happy with his party's result. From one seat to 13. From 75,000 votes to 200,000.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:16 pm | On Twitter

27. “Vox has the right and duty to form a government in Castilla y León”, Abasal announces: “Our program will be on the table”. Vox wants to go in to regional government with PP. He mentions reindustrialisation, the countryside, young people and the problems of provincial Spain.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:20 pm | On Twitter

28. So Vox very clear with its result on demand to Casado and Mañueco (PP) to i) join regional government in Castilla y León, ii) make Vox candidate García-Gallado Deputy First Minister of that right-wing regional government and iii) impose electoral/ideological manfiesto.

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:24 pm | On Twitter

29. Mañueco (PP) also claims victory: “We won the elections!”. The PP lost 65,000 votes, won two seats and advanced just 0.04 percentage points. He says he is going to talk “to everyone to form a government of all and for all”. So he doesn't want to govern with Vox?

Published: Feb 13, 2022, 10:29 pm | On Twitter

Guarantee independent journalism

100% readers. No ads, no spam, no political parties, no corporate sponsors. You guarantee this free journalism with your contributions.

euros Min: €10/month, €10/one-time or €120/year

Do this:

  1. Enter the guarantee you wish to make
  2. Choose the right tax country
  3. Enter your email and credit card
  4. Click "Guarantee journalism now"
  5. The machine will check your card and do some sums…
  6. Click "confirm"
  7. That's it, finished, welcome aboard. You will get a confirmation email
  8. Changes, receipts, invoices: log in and go to "My Account"
  9. Problems: matthew@thespainreport.es


- Bitcoin: 3HfKnLAb1nWfh6e8BCjst6cwyWX6fTciz9
- Ethereum: 0xf02eefc88336c142dee946b14b6fc24539357871 (etherscan)
- ENS: thespainreport.eth (bitcoin, ethereum, ERC-20)

What is The Spain Report?

Independent reporting and analysis of the most important stories changing Spain, written by Matthew Bennett, a British journalist who has been living here for more than 20 years.

  • Email: matthew@thespainreport.com
  • Phone/Signal: (0034) 647 81 81 43

Social: Twitter | Discord | Facebook | Reddit | LinkedIn
Newsletter: Substack | Revue | Medium | Mirror
Video & Photos: YouTube | Instagram | TikTok
Podcast: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | iVoox | Stitcher | TuneIn

©2022 Matthew Bennett
The Spain Report | The Spain Report en español