Ms Ayuso’s Popular Party has more than doubled its number of seats in the Madrid Regional Assembly, overtaking other parties, including Mr Sánchez’s Socialists. His party has not achieved an absolute majority but will retain power with the support of the far-right Vox party.
She is currently the most talked about politician in Spain. But with national elections not due for another two years, analysts are divided on whether she could make the leap into national politics, or even want to.
Even so, Ms Ayuso’s victory could indicate a shift to the right is underway more broadly as the country struggles to emerge from the ravages of the pandemic.
Ms Ayuso, 42, attached herself to a simple and clear message relating to voters who endured more than a year of the pandemic, said Lluís Orriols, professor of politics at Carlos III University in Madrid.
“Keeping Madrid open and economically active was something everyone saw, while demonstrating that the lockdown measures really help keep people healthy is something more difficult to do,” Mr. Orriols said.