"The atmosphere was electric. 25,000 jammed into Valencia's Bull Ring in a frenzy, sensing victory an hour before the start.
They had walked, driven, travelled by bus from all around the region for this night of conquest The smell of the dirt floor, the pounding pop music, the energetic encouragement of the warm-up MC. All that was missing were the would-be conquerers.
The pop gave way to a surging anthem. They were among us. First a circle of the front row, hugging ecstatic children, arms raised in triumphant gestures. I craned forward for a glimpse as the twilight gave way to floodlight.
Yes, it was them. Enter Los Candidatos.
Local Body elections get them going in Valencia. Voting is on Saturday and this was the final rally of the governing conservative Partido Popular. Unlike New Zealand, the party structure extends from central government in Madrid, to community level.
The special guest tonight was the PPs Mariano Rajoy, the opposition leader who faces the Socialist government in Madrid.
It is quite a show, opening with the PP provincial president Luis Diaz Alperi in a stirring speech. The speakers have their own chanting chorus line behind the stage, an unnecessary bit of showbiz given the crowd's enthusiastic efforts."
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