Yesterday the Popular Party won the elections in Galicia, although whether or not it will be able to form a government is still not clear. It will depend on the result of the postal votes of Galicians living abroad whether or not Manuel Fraga will serve a fifth term as President of Galicia’s regional government.
Fraga is the only surviving politician who served as a Minister during the Franco dictatorship. Both he and General Franco were born in Galicia. Fraga, who founded the Popular Party and is its honorary president, is now in his eighties and has always been quite a controversial character. He is a friend and admirer of Fidel Castro, he has visited and paid host to on several occasions despite his party’s firm anti-Castro policies.
Not known for being particularly liberal or tolerant, Fraga frequently resorts to phrases which many women find offensive. Last week when he was asked to give his opinion on the pre-election polls predicting a fall in the number of PP votes, Fraga said that he didn’t find surveys particularly credible, and he compared them to a woman who always lies about the number of men she has slept with.
Spain’s vice-president María Fernandez de la Vega was outraged and Fraga later apologised if he had caused offence to anybody.
One seat remains to be won, and as the results stand now the Popular Party has 37 seats, the Socialists 25 seats and the Galician Nationalists, 13. This means that if Fraga wins the seat on the strength of the votes cast by Galicians living abroad, then he will have won an extraordinary fifth victory. If the Socialists or Nationalists win it, then they will be able to govern as a coalition.
Because of the close result of these elections, last night all parties claimed victory! The PP leaders said they were confident that the last seat would be theirs once the postal votes are counted next week – many Galicians emigrated to Latin America during the last century and traditionally their vote has favoured the Popular Party.
The Socialists (who gained 8 seats) claimed that Galicia had voted for change and the leader of the Galician PSOE said he was ready to form government. And the leader of the BNG Nationalists said that his party was ready to enjoy a much more prominent role in the next regional government.