It is rare for an Andalusian government presidential candidate to voluntarily withdraw from a public campaign for three consecutive days, with no meetings, no replacement, and no explanation. This is what the Vox candidate, Macarena Olona, has done, who will not interfere in any public action and will not propose any rallies asking Andalusians to vote until next Friday.
Sources from Santiago Abascal’s party confirm that Olona’s public agenda is clear on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Over the weekend, they will again coincide in three acts: Friday in Jaén, Saturday in Huelva and Sunday in Marbella (Malaga), as well as with the leader of the Italian far right, Giorgia Meloni, president of the Fratelli d’Italia.
Vox’s decision to withdraw its candidate from the public stage – “it has an agenda and private meetings” – took by surprise public radio and television stations, which must comply with a campaign coverage plan approved by the Andalusian Electoral Commission. This coverage allocates space between the major parties, depending on their representation in parliament from the smallest to the largest. The time that corresponds to Vox cannot be replaced by any other formation or space, because the far right party itself can condemn it.
When Olona left and the party did not replace his gap with another Vox member, both Andalusia and Canal Sur offices of RTVE had to consult with their respective legal services on how to cover the space that corresponds to the Abascal party, sources from both state organizations confirm. It’s a difficult decision, given that Vox has made the constant denunciation of the media, especially the public, a hallmark, accusing them of manipulating, making their candidate invisible and demonizing them.
Due to the absence of a few days before the start of the electoral campaign, Vox filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission of Andalusia against the indication of Canal Sur for the alleged “non-compliance”, in the news of the said public institution between May 15 and 22 of this month and in favor of PP-A, article 66 of the Organic Law on the general electoral regime (Loreg), which speaks of “respect for political and social pluralism, as well as equality, proportionality and informativeness”. neutrality in state media programs during the election period”. The complaint was signed by Olona’s campaign manager Álvaro Zancajo, who was Canal Sur’s first head of news appointed under the government of Juan Manuel Moreno (later fired by the public institution’s CEO Juan de Dios Mellado).
The Electoral Commission dismissed Vox’s complaint because it “does not meet the requirements of the story load” it believes is required and is “limited in substance to reporting, with very little specific clarification of its content, the time when Canal Sur’s television news programs were devoted to to various politically significant people or political groups, taking into account the period or time block, which was also chosen freely, without explaining the reasons for their choice and with reference, also without more specificity, to information emphasizing the positive or praising aspects of the “management exercised by the PR in the government Andalusia,” thus not properly distinguishing between the government and one of the political formations that support it.”
This Monday, Macarena Olona began the RTVE pre-election debate by aptly congratulating herself on being able to “reach out directly to the Andalusians without being manipulated.” Vox’s criticism of the media, public and private, is also a constant feature of the candidate’s rallies. Vox is present in this election without the usual electoral program, unlike the rest of the formations, but has published a pamphlet with ten measures, among which is the closure of Canal Sur. Andalusian public radio and television are protected by the Statute of Autonomy and no regional government can ban them without a reform of the Organic Law, which has been ratified by the Congress of Deputies and Andalusians who voted for it in a referendum.
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