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On elections

02 May 2024 - 16:17
Zarata mediatikoz beteriko garai nahasiotan, merkatu logiketatik urrun eta irakurleengandik gertu dagoen kazetaritza beharrezkoa dela uste baduzu, ARGIA bultzatzera animatu nahi zaitugu. Geroz eta gehiago gara, jarrai dezagun txikitik eragiten.

On 21 April we held the Basque elections. Prior to the arrival of the elections, several media surveys were published, many times EH Bildu was considered winner, sometimes in votes and seats, others only in seats. This was a major change for the Basque Parliament elections, which, as we know, has always won the PNV in the votes and only once it has lost in the seats. Many of these surveys found participation of around 60% or, in some cases, above, but also the number of doubtful voters was high (between 20 and 30%). In my opinion, this last point marked the end result.

The election campaign came late to society, especially in Bizkaia, where the victories of Athletic in the final of the Cup and the subsequent celebration left no room for the rest of the issues. It can be said that the campaign was on the Monday before the elections (15 April). The reason? Statements by Pello Otxandiano on ETA.

Until then, EH Bildu felt very comfortable and it seemed that the campaign was on the right track: on the one hand, the polls said that the party that was putting on the table important issues for society was EH Bildu; on the other hand, in the debates, Nerea Kortajarena first in RTVE and then Pello Otxandiano showed the highest level of ETBcandidates 1. Problem? These debates were seen by few people and the elections were still “far away.”

Although we have given some of the first clues, in the following lines we will try to explain why 21 April did not meet what the surveys said in the previous weeks.

Firstly, Pello Otxandiano’s statements on ETA. Although ETA is missing, the attitude demonstrated with ETA is important in society, especially when it is showing a process of attracting people who are not “your” voters. Doubt and lack of clarity in the response influenced.

The surveys may include two options: one, that the surveys published those results with the desire to mobilize a particular voter; or, the second, that most doubts in the surveys have chosen the PNV.

Secondly, Pello Otxandiano failed to maintain the high level left in ETB1 on a ETB2 call. The reasons may be several: knowing that, in the wake of the statements, there would be many foci in it, that the elections were closer, that the surveys placed it in the first position… I think it came out not to lose what had been achieved so far, and I have the feeling that this made them lose. In Deia and later, Otxandiano said that “the debates were more than to present the program, to carry out the political dialectic” and I totally agree. However, that day he did not do what he said and he mixed up in interventions that were too long. Furthermore, the candidates from the confederal left, especially Alba García, debated very well and we know that these parties share voters.

Thirdly, EH Bildu has the lack of government at the CAV level of a major institution. Almost a year ago, EH Bildu won the elections in Vitoria and Gipuzkoa, as in other places. The PNV, according to the PSE and PP, made a movement of rejection of HD Bildu, which I think has harmed the PNV, but also in part EH Bildu. Why? Because this movement has allowed EH Bildu to rule a major institution in the CAV and limit the presence. The government of an institution of this kind can provide two (positive) contributions to EH Bildu: on the one hand, the government has obtained very good results in some municipalities of its hand (such as Errenteria, Hernani or Lekeitio); on the other hand, the fact that EH Bildu reaches that sector of society that can generate fear or concern would be easier if they had close and important examples.

Fourthly, surveys are surveys, but we know that they play their role regardless of the subject they deal with. Therefore, the surveys may include two options: one, that the surveys published those results with the desire to mobilize a particular voter; or, the second, that most of the doubts raised by the surveys were chosen by the PNV (where most of the uncertainties were located), for all the reasons mentioned above and also, of course, by having activated the “vote of fear”, as a result of the results.

Regarding the last point, it is necessary to have an impact on another important factor. Bizkaia was the territory that most mobilized on election day (63.41% participation, +13.01% compared to 2020), while Gipuzkoa (61.71%, +9.53% vs 2020) and Álava (61.11%, +12.11% vs 2020) had a participation two points lower. Surely these data indicate that this last-minute mobilization was in favor of the PNV, because Bizkaia is the strength of the PNV.

It seems that from now on the coalition government we have had in previous years will continue. Both the PNV and the PSE have changed their faces and have given a change of speech in the campaign, for example, around Osakidetza or housing. For Pello Otxandiano, said at the campaign closing rally, this speech change is already a change and, in some way, a small victory. However, it is to see whether the change goes from words to deeds, because I have the feeling that a number of votes received by the PNV has been a vote of confidence as a result of its historical trajectory, but if policies do not change that confidence it may disappear.

Egoitz Izagirre, Political Science Graduate

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