Isabel Diaz resigns and calls snap elections

Madrid, March 10 (AFP/APP): The rightwing leader of Madrid’s regional government, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, resigned Wednesday and called a snap election on May 4 in Spain’s wealthiest region.

In a surprise move, Diaz Ayuso said she had decided to end the coalition between her Popular Party (PP) and the smaller centre-right Ciudadanos that has governed the region since May 2019. A rising star of the PP, Diaz Ayuso said the snap polls were needed to prevent Ciudadanos and the Socialists, who serve in opposition in the Madrid government, from tabling a no-confidence motion.

Her announcement came just hours after Ciudadanos broke its coalition agreement with the PP in the southeastern Murcia region, chosing instead to back a no-confidence motion filed by the Socialists, who dominate Spain’s central government. “I was forced to take this decision for the good of Madrid and Spain and against my repeated desire to complete my term in office,” she said in a televised address.

“Madrid needs a stable government, clear ideas, ambitious solutions, stability… and this is not possible in the current circumstances.” Diaz Ayuso has made headlines for her vociferous opposition to Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government, especially her refusal to impose strict virus restrictions to protect the local economy.

Aside from Madrid and Murcia, the PP and Ciudadanos have coalition agreements in two more of Spain’s 17 regions and in several municipalities, raising questions as to whether these alliances will survive.

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