Isabel Franco, vice president of Murcia, only needed this Friday to resort to a phrase from the historical archive of Spanish parliamentarism attributed to a deputy who assured that he would never support the Government and then clarified: “When I say I never mean this moment.” Franco signed at dawn from Tuesday to Wednesday, like the other five deputies of Citizens in Murcia, a joint motion of censure with the PSOE against President Fernando López Miras, of the PP. At the time of signing, the vice president did not express any reservations. “I thought about it as the hours went by, that it was not a good idea,” he said this Friday to explain his change of opinion and that of two other deputies who agreed, behind the back of his party, the continuity of the PP in exchange for three positions in the regional government. “This is not the time for personal political ambitions,” concluded Franco from the Palacio de San Esteban, seat of the presidency.
The story of this political scandal starring three defected Citizens deputies began with rumors. But arithmetic prevailed secret Murcian. To make the motion fail, the PP had to attract three of the six Citizens deputies. “Impossible”, they said Thursday at the headquarters of this party.
This possibility seemed so unreal that, despite the silence of the three indicated, Ciudadanos and the PSOE made this Friday morning an act full of smiles and announcements of what would be the new Government. It seemed so unreal that Isabel Franco herself assured EL PAÍS on Thursday night that she continued with “a lot of work” because she had not been dismissed by López Miras, as the other two councilors of Ciudadanos had been.
And it was precisely in that detail that this whole story was born. Keeping Franco in his position as vice president while he dismissed the other two councilors was the first maneuver by President López Miras to add three traitors to the motion of censure.
Isabel Franco, uncomfortable in Cs
Isabel Franco had long since stopped feeling comfortable in the game. Various sources close to the formation assure that as soon as the motion of censure triumphs, with Ana Martínez Vidal (Cs) as the new president of Murcia, the vice president would be removed from her position. “That is why I do not understand how they went to the mountain [registrando la moción] without having tied their support ”, asks another person who knows the three deputies well.
The other two protagonists of this serial, Francisco Álvarez and Valle Miguélez, arrived at Ciudadanos very soon. They were part of the party apparatus in Murcia once Ciudadanos launched into national politics as of 2015 and were in charge of recruiting talent, a strategy widely used in training to gain muscle and implantation in the territories. From the hand of Valle Miguélez, Ana Martínez Vidal, former councilor of the Murcia City Council for the PP, came to the party. For his part, Álvarez presented a neighbor of his town, Alcantarilla, as a candidate official for the region. It was Isabel Franco.
With the support of the national leadership, Franco won a primaries in 2019 that ended in court and which is still haunted by the same smell of fraud that settled over numerous primary processes after the pucherazo scandal in Castilla y León, which forced revoke the victory of the official candidate.
Franco, however, was a Ciudadanos candidate for the regional elections of May 2019 – in which Martínez was number three – and later she was in charge of agreeing with the PP the coalition government by order of the national leadership she led Albert Rivera. A surprise for her and for the rest of the deputies, who always thought they would reach an agreement with the PSOE, the winner of the elections.
The arrival of Inés Arrimadas as president of Cs after Rivera’s departure was the beginning of the end. He raised Ana Martínez Vidal at the head of the regional coordination of Citizens Murcia and the vice president was left, clearly annoyed, without any organic position within the party.
His support for the PP could not surprise anyone, but his signature on the document of the motion of censure kept away the bad thoughts of his fellow ranks. When the runrún was already unbearable this Friday morning, they gave up Franco and thought that perhaps Paco Álvarez had also fallen. In fact they both formed the nickname sewer clan. “But Valle Miguélez is impossible! If the new government is even part of the team that is going to negotiate with the PSOE, ”a party member assured this Friday. But Miguélez hadn’t picked up anyone’s phone for hours.
After two in the afternoon, the advisers of the new Executive flanked López Miras and Isabel Franco. There were Miguélez and Álvarez, with half their faces covered by the mask. She didn’t move a muscle and he just rubbed both of his hands.
“Have you been the one who convinced Valle Miguélez?” A journalist asked Franco.
“I speak for myself.”
“Well, let her say so, she’s there.”
The president prevailed: “They can talk to them another day.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.