Local elections in Ceuta and Melilla
Jean CotteEditor, Electoral Bulletin of the European Union
Issue 4, January 2024
Elections in Europe: 2023
On May 28, 2023, elections were held to elect the 25 members of the parliament of the autonomous city of Ceuta.
The Spanish enclave on the northern coast of Morocco is a stronghold of the PP (EPP; 34.4%, +3.3 pp), which is particularly active on migration issues. Vox (CRE; 20.6%, -1.7 pp), is also particularly successful. With 9 and 5 MPs respectively, the right-wing and far-right bloc thus holds a majority in the local legislature. However, the PP managed to form a minority executive thanks to the abstention of the PSOE (S&D) and Vox during the vote of investiture of President Juan Jesús Vivas, who has led the city since 2001.
In Ceuta, the left-wing bloc is split between the PSOE (21%, -4.6 pp) with 6 seats (-1) and the left-wing regionalists of MDyC (11.2%, +4.2 pp) and Ceuta Ya! (10%, +3.8 pp). In the investiture vote, some left-wing members abstained to allow the PP to govern without Vox. The Ciudadanos (RE; 0.7%, -2.8 pp) and Podemos (GUE/NGL; 0.5%, -1 pp) parties achieved extremely low results.
On the same day, elections were held to elect the 25 members of the parliament of the autonomous city of Melilla.
Melilla is also located on the northern coast of Africa and is bordered by Morocco. Situated to the south-east of the Strait of Gibraltar, it is further away from Spain’s European mainland. This remoteness is also reflected in the stronger presence of regional parties, including a split from the PSOE, the Coalition for Melilla, which despite being the second-largest political force in the city has not managed to lead the government in over 20 years.
The May 28 election saw Juan José Imbroda, the city’s president from 2000 to 2019, return to power. In 2019, his PP (EPP) had won just 10 seats and would have had to rely on the support of Vox (CRE, 2 seats) and Ciudadanos (RE, 1 seat) to stay in power. In the end, however, it was the sole Ciudadanos deputy who won the vote, allying himself with the PSOE (S&D) and the coalition for Melilla.
After being excluded from his party in 2021, the regional president did not stand for re-election, and the PP (52.7%, +14.9 pp) this time won an absolute majority with 14 seats (+4). Its leader Juan José Imbroda regained his position at the head of the autonomous city’s government without having to indulge in any agreements with other parties. The left collapsed, with the Coalition for Melilla (18.8%, -11.8 pp) taking just 5 seats (-3) and the PSOE (10.7%, -3.8 pp) just 3 (-1). Vox (9.9% +2.2 pp) only keeping its 2 seats despite its breakthrough.
Jean Cotte, Local elections in Ceuta and Melilla, Nov 2023,
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