Otegi takes a historic leap in the shadow of Sánchez

The PNV was risking its historical position of hegemony in the elections in the Basque Country this Sunday. Yesterday it was the party with the most votes, but it tied in seats with EH Bildu, in 27 deputies, which the latter obtained with a very high vote fidelity and collecting votes from the other left-wing alternatives and even from previous PNV voters. The historic “sorpasso” that would turn Otegi's party into the main force in number of seats did not occur, although they did make a historic leap with regional and national consequences.

The PNV obtained 31 seats in the previous Basque elections, with Íñigo Urkullu as a candidate, three more than in 2016. And EH Bildu obtained 21 seats in 2020.

Eneko Andueza's PSE is the arbiter for the formation of the government, with an improvement of two seats. Throughout the campaign he insisted that in no case would he support Bildu, despite the fact that the Navarra precedent went against his word. In 2020 they had 10 seats.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will use these results as endorsement of his policy in Madrid and advances on the path towards a change of cycle in which in upcoming electoral exams a majority of PSE and Bildu can be formed. Sumar wins one seat, while Podemos disappears. At the moment, PNV and PSE add one more seat to the absolute majority, which is at 38, although it must be taken into account that in the Basque Country the investiture is different from the rest of the communities and it is enough to have a simple majority, because vote yes or abstain, there are no votes against the candidates in the Basque Parliament.

Of all the elections of this electoral cycle, these are the ones that have the least significance for the stability of the Government, and in addition to the continuity of the PNV-PSE coalition, the PSOE will also maintain its alliance with EH BIldu in Madrid.

The PNV faced these elections as a historical exam, in which whether or not to be before EH Bildu was at stake. To understand the importance of the fight that the nationalists have maintained, we must take into account that they arrived at the polls with polls that proclaimed that EH Bildu was in a position to beat the PNV in seats and votes this Sunday. Imanol Pradales' party has never lost in votes, and only in seats in the 1986 regional elections.

The PSOE policy makes it easier to clear the way towards a change of cycle in the next elections through the PSE-Bildu pact

The Peneuvistas have paid at the polls for the wear and tear of more than forty years of government, except for the brief hiatus of Patxi López, which they have alleviated with a process of change – a younger and practically unknown candidate – to get closer to the younger electorate and the women.

The PNV has used the vote of fear in this campaign, but without departing from its traditions and formats. ETA is not a citizen concern, but the second week of the official campaign focused on the problems of the EH Bildu candidate, Pello Otxandiano, when it came to condemning terrorist violence, which showed that he really was the candidate of Sortu and Arnaldo Otegi, and his ethical deficit to be elected as the highest institutional representative of the Lendakaritza.

Even so, the most veterans of the PNV already warned that these debates, which in Madrid acquire a lot of force, are, however, seen with different eyes in the Basque Country, and there was a risk that instead of damaging the expectations of EH Bildu encouraged them by turning them into victims, as already happened with the discussion in the municipal elections about the lists with ETA prisoners.

In any case, Bildu has been able to make profitable in this campaign its process of organic change and adjustment to the institutions, as well as the work that with the help of the PSOE it has done in Congress, within a whitewashing process that has allowed to absorb the vote of the entire Podemos galaxy, being the most transversal party on the Basque board.

The elections confirm its social normalization, and leave a more nationalist Basque Chamber with an open process of statutory reform with the objective, as stated in the program agreed for the investiture of Pedro Sánchez, of moving towards greater national recognition of Euskadi and in the forality. In 2020, PNV and EH Bildu added 52 seats. Today, 54.

This more nationalist majority leaves the question of where they will direct their search for consensus, after a campaign in which day-to-day problems and social issues have been more present than sovereign proposals, in coherence with social studies. which point out that the independence of the Basque Country has less support than ever. However, and although they have played more in the left field, EH Bildu's objective is to gain the hegemony of sovereignty over the PNV, just as ERC has done with CiU. Their strategy has served them to make their campaign profitable in a double space, that of the younger electorate, who did not live through the times of ETA, and that of the voter who still identifies most with the political objectives and with the terrorist group.

The PP achieves an irrelevant improvement. In the previous elections it fell to six seats (4 from the PP and 2 from Ciudadanos). Now it goes up to seven. These ballot boxes have helped him measure his ability to absorb Ciudadanos, but not Vox. Santiago Abascal's party managed to enter the Basque Parliament in 2020 with one seat, which it maintains.