Spain's regional elections: What will happen in the Valencia region?

Conor Faulkner
Conor Faulkner - [email protected]
Spain's regional elections: What will happen in the Valencia region?
Valencia's regional president Ximo Puig speaks to journalists in March 2023. Photo: JOSE JORDAN/AFP.

The campaign for Valencia's regional assembly is heating up. Here's all you need to know, from who the main candidates are to who the polls say will be the likely winner.


When is it?

In Spain there are both municipal (local) and regional elections on Sunday May 28th.

Not only are these important for local communities because the decentralised nature of Spanish politics means that regional governments have a big say in how things are run, but they can also be indicative of the wider political climate across the country.

This is especially true in 2023, with a general election sometime at the end of the year.

READ ALSO: GUIDE: Elections in Spain in 2023

There won't be regional elections in every region of Spain in May, however. Galicia and the Basque Country held their elections in August 2020, and Catalonia did so a year later, on February 14th 2021.

And as The Local reported on, both Castilla y León and Andalusia had controversial and consequential regional elections in 2022, so won't be having one this year.

There will be a regional election in the Valencia region, and the popular Mediterranean coast region is thought of as something as a political bell weather for national politics.

What is it for?

The 28M elections will elect councillors to Les Corts, Valencia's regional assembly, as well as deciding the President of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian government). They are voted for by voters in Valencia's three provinces: Valencia, Castellón, and Alicante.

In the 2019 elections, the centre-left Socialists (PSVP, PSOE's regional wing Partit Socialista del País Valencià) won 23.9 percent of the vote (27 seats), and centre-right Partido Popular (PP), won 18.9 percent (19 seats). Centrist Ciudadanos won 18 seats with 17.5 percent of the vote but have all but disappeared as a political force since then.

Coalició Compromís, a left-wing coalition of parties, won 16.4 percent (17 seats), and far-right Vox won 10 seats with 10.4 percent of the vote. 

Since then, Valencia has been run by a broad left-wing coalition led by PSVP with the support of Compromís and UP (Podemos).


Who can vote?

The only foreigners who can vote in regional elections in Spain are those with Spanish nationality registered in the electoral census.

Some non-EU foreigners (including Britons and Americans) can vote in municipal elections in Spain, as long as they have registered. They can also run in municipal elections, and there are around 40 elected British town and city councillors in Spain, mostly in the Valencia region and Andalusia, the two Spanish regions with the highest number of British residents.


Who are the main candidates?

There are a total of 19 parties running in the regional elections from across the political spectrum.

Of the frontrunners, the incumbent regional President is PSVP's Ximo Puig, who is seeking, in his words, a "sufficient majority to continue the progressive project", although he has appeared cautious about his prospects in the Valencian press in recent weeks. Puig has regularly been a vocal figure on the national political scene in recent years, lending support to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and criticising regions run by the rival PP.

The Compromís candidate is Joan Baldoví, a representative for Valencia in Spain's Congress of Deputies perhaps best known for taking off his shirt and tie in Congress to reveal an anti-banker t-shirt.

Compromís candidate for the Valencia region's presidency is Joan Baldoví. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

The Podemos candidate is Héctor Illueca, a deputy Vice President of the Generalitat and former labour inspector. 

PP's Carlos Mazón is the centre-right wing candidate, currently the President of Alicante's provincial council. Mazón, a lawyer by training, has focused his campaigning on "leading [a] political and social change" and ensuring he achieves a "sufficient majority" to govern, something that several seat forecasts predict will only be possible with a coalition with far-right Vox.

The PP's presidential candidate for Valencia is Carlos Mazón. Photo: Alicante PP Council

Vox's candidate is Carlos Flores Juberías, a Law Professor at the University of Valencia who was sentenced to a year in prison in 2002 for harassing his ex-wife, according to El País.

None of these candidates have inspired much confidence in the Valencian electorate, however. In an April poll for Sigmados, no potential regional President scored above 5/10, though the leading candidates are separated by just tenths of a percentage point.

Ximo Puig scored a 4.9 valuation; Carlos Mazón 4.8; and Joan Baldoví 4.7.


What do the polls say?

This political indifference is underscored, however, by data suggesting that 65 percent of voters in the region believing that a change of government is necessary. 43.1 percent of Valencians consider the the management of the community to be 'good or very good', compared to 35.7 percent who believe it is "bad or very bad."

In terms of the seat breakdown in Les Corts, most polling firms seem to have the right regaining the Generalitat and PP as the biggest party in the region, though whether or not they will have governable majority remains unclear. The question is whether they will need to rely on the support of Vox, as they have in Castile Y Leon. 


According to Sigmados, the two right wing parties are projected to reach between 49 and 51 seats between, more than the three main left-wing parties would collectively obtain, with 50 seats in the best of scenarios, and 47 in the worst.

In terms of vote percentage, PP are forecast 47.2 percent compared to 46.7 percent for the left wing coalition.

Polls also show a steady wearing down of the left wing vote, including among PSVP voters and particularly for Podemos and, to a lesser extent, for Compromís, compared to the results of the 2019 elections.

Crucially, Mazón's PP looks set to gain all 18 seats won by Ciudadanos in 2019, a party in such dire straights politically that most polls don't even have it reaching the 5 percent threshold to be represented in Les Corts.

Based on this, PP will be the party that improves the most compared to 2019, followed by Vox, which will gain a projected five seats, according to Sigmados. Though PP seems unlikely to win an outright majority, seat projections suggest that entering into coalition with Vox would provide it with a governable majority in Les Corts.


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