In March and April 1909, Galdós distanced himself from leading moderate republican intellectuals of the Bloque de Izquierdas -Azárate and Melquíades Álvarez refused to back non-constitutional means to overthrow Maura's government- to ally himself closely with the Radical Republican, Juan Sol y Ortega, in his campaign against the scandals connected with the administration of the Canal de Isabel II. Galdós joined Sol y Ortega to head the mass demonstration in Madrid of March 28 1909. In this campaign Galdós was supported by the Progresistas and Federal Republicans; the socialist Pablo Iglesias refused to participate in «actos burgueses»97.
Galdós played a prominent role in the municipal elections of May 2 1909, visiting with Joaquín Dicenta the electoral colleges of Madrid to stimulate support for republican candidates. The results showed the increasing strength of left-wing opinion, with the election to the Ayuntamiento of Madrid of 31 monarchists, 17 republicans and 2 socialists.
The events of the summer and fall of 1909 are too well-known to merit more than summary here: the Melilla campaign, the «Semana Trágica», the demand by Galdós and the republican minority in the Cortes for the restoration of constitutional guarantees (September 23), the execution of Ferrer (October 13), the governmental crisis of October 21, with the downfall of Maura and the formation of the Moret government. The agitation provoked by the execution of Ferrer had repercussions in the Madrid municipality: Pablo Iglesias's socialists withdrew to protest «la conducta cruel, sanguinaria y criminal del Gobierno». On the same day (October 15), Joaquín Dicenta announced a republican boycott of the Ayuntamiento to protest the shooting of Ferrer. On October 24, Galdós, Sol y Ortega, and Pablo Iglesias participated in the demonstration to celebrate the fall of Maura; this was the first occasion that the socialist Iglesias shared a platform with republicans. On November 7, Galdós chaired the meeting held in the Frontón Jaí-Alay of Madrid to seal the alliance of the republicans and socialists (the Conjunción Republicano-Socialista). The meeting was addressed by Galdós (his speech read by Joaquín Dicenta), Rodrigo Soriano, Sol y Ortega, and Pablo Iglesias. The moderate intellectual Paladins, Azcárate and Melquíades Álvarez, excused themselves from attending the meeting. The strength of the new Republican-Socialist Coalition was revealed in the municipal elections of December 12. Out of 20 republican-socialist candidates for the Madrid Ayuntamiento, 11 republicans and 2 socialists won election. (In accordance with the Law of 8 August 1907, councillors served for four years; elections for one half of the members of Ayuntamientos of cities with over 6000 inhabitants were held every two years.) The vote was as follows: Republican-Socialist Coalition: 32153; Liberals: 31633; Conservatives: 8040; Defensa Social (Carlists): 1870; Independents: 1599. 12000 more voters participated than in the May election. El Liberal noted the importance of worker participation:—148→
|(El Liberal, 13-XII-1909)|
Municipal election results were equally favorable to left-wing candidates in other parts of Spain. Moret announced the election of councillors in cities of over 6000 inhabitants: Liberals: 1116; Conservatives: 502; Carlists: 103; Republicans: 409; Socialists: 47; Independents: 111; «indeterminados»: 41; regionalists: 53; Catholics: 39; Izquierda Solidaria: 7. The Valencia municipality had a republican majority; the Barcelona municipality was controlled by Alejandro Lerroux's Radical Republicans and by Izquierda Solidaria.
In the following interview, Galdós expressed his satisfaction with the triumph of the Republican-Socialist Coalition, his confidence that the republican mission was to change Spaniards' attitudes by political means rather than by violent revolution, and his support for lay education:
|[El Liberal (Murcia), 27-XII- 1909].|