I haven't found much time for blogging recently, but at least I can maintain this blog's tradition of posting election results from Spain via the handy widget from El País. Both Asturias and Andalucia are voting today for their regional governments, although the early indications on participation suggest that many people in both regions are not that enthusiastic about casting their vote. The participation figures released earlier today showed Andalucia 10 points down on the previous elections, and Asturias 8. The received wisdom is that low participation favours the right, as their voters are usually less likely to abstain.
Most of the attention will focus on the Andalucian vote, where the governing PSOE face a serious possibility of losing power after 30 years of uninterrupted control. Affected by the reaction against Zapatero's government, by weariness after so long in power, and by a serious corruption scandal, the PSOE will regard just a failure by the Partido Popular to obtain an overall majority as a major success. The Andalucian vote would have coincided with the national elections if Zapatero hadn't decided to go for an earlier election.
The PP will obtain a huge boost if they win Andalucia, their candidate Javier Arenas has been a serial loser of elections in this region. It will give them unprecedented power in the country, as they already control a clear majority of the other regions and form part of a governing alliance in others. Apart from anything else the Andalucian election has been the primary reason why we still don't know what cuts the national government intends to implement in order to attempt to meet the crazy deficit reduction target for this year. With the elections out of the way then reality will come rushing up fast behind.
Asturias is holding elections just 10 months after the previous ones. This is a result of the failure by the former PP secretary general, Francisco Álvarez Cascos, to form a stable government there following his victory in May last year with his breakaway party. Cascos represents everything that is bad about Spanish politics, although it's very unlikely that he will do as well today as he did last year. The region could still be left without a stable government as it is not likely that any single party will win a majority. No further elections are allowed for at least a year if deadlock is the result, and as Asturias is one of those regions that doesn't set its own election date any government that results will have no more than three years in power.