Spain: Madrid region votes in local elections

Ayuso of PP favoured. Femen protest against Vox, arrested

04 May, 14:10

    (ANSA) - MADRID, 04 MAG - Polls opened at 9 am on Tuesday for a total of 5.1 million eligible voters in the region of Madrid, in local elections that analysts say could have significant implications for national politics.

    The elections are taking place amidst the ongoing Covid emergency, although recent figures on the pandemic were slightly better and the country's vaccination campaign is moving ahead at full speed.

    Outgoing Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the Partido Popular party, considered a rising political star with the centre right, is favoured to win.

    Long queues formed at polling stations in the initial hours of voting.

    Voters must respect social distancing rules and are being provided with disinfectant hand gel and face masks.

    Organisers asked the elderly to come to polling stations between 10 am and 12 pm, while the last hour of voting, from 7 pm to 8 pm, is reserved for people who have Covid or Covid-like symptoms.

    Many voters at the polling station at Ermita del Santo elementary school, in the heart of the capital, said the queue was moving quickly and organisation was "good".

    Regional justice councillor Enrique López said in a press conference that the initial hours of voting were "completely normal".

    Meanwhile, Spanish police on Tuesday morning took five activists from the feminist collective Femen into custody after they showed up unannounced at the polling station of far-right Vox party candidate Rocío Monasterio, Spanish media said.

    The five women were topless and held signs with protest messages against "political and institutional fascism".

    Police arrested the women on charges of "resistance" and "serious disobedience", said EFE news agency.

    Monasterio was in the queue with her husband Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, a national MP with Vox.

    The two gathered up flyers thrown by the Femen activists and threw them in a rubbish bin.

    "Streets have to be kept clean," Espinosa said.

    After voting, Monasterio said these elections "will change Spanish politics". (ANSA).

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