Tuesday, August 3

Ayuso’s metamorphosis that worries Casado | Spain


The president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, talks with the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, after his inauguration at the Royal Post Office this Saturday.  EFE / JJ Guillén
The president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, talks with the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, after his inauguration at the Royal Post Office this Saturday. EFE / JJ GuillénJJ Guillén / EFE

Two years in politics can be an eternity. In 2019, an Isabel Díaz Ayuso recently elected president of the Community of Madrid met with her Government agreed by the national direction with her partner Citizens, according to the Genoa headquarters. Today, two years later, becoming one of the undisputed leaders of the PP, she prints her own stamp, leaving Toni Cantó on the bench, the star signing that the leadership imposed on her on its electoral list. Ayuso’s metamorphosis into a leader who flies free restlessly in the direction, after this week the Madrid president took off with a controversial speech on the role of the King in pardons, and allowed herself to reinterpret Pablo Casado’s words about it. In the surroundings of the president of the PP they speak of her already like a counterweight. History repeats itself: the tenant of Puerta del Sol returns to the spotlight on Genova Street.

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Politics sometimes acts as a tragedy that runs through personal relationships. Casado and Ayuso have been friends since they started together in New Generations in Madrid, almost 20 years ago, and the president knows that she owes her career to the leader of the PP, who opted for her as a candidate two years ago. But this week, the Madrid baroness has stirred before the headlines that said that Casado had disallowed her for his controversial words in which he questioned that the King signs the pardons to those convicted of the procés. “I have not rectified anything at all, I have used other words,” Ayuso rebelled. “Pablo thinks the same as me.”

The King’s has been the first public clash between the two, after a hidden tension between their environments that was already evident during the electoral campaign in Madrid. Even the celebration of his victory on the election night of May 4 was the cause of tension between the squires of both leaders, two important figures in this story. Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, chief of staff of the president and his counselor number 10 (officially there are nine), I did not want a scene on the balcony of the PP headquarters. Teodoro García Egea, Casado’s secretary general and strong man, insisted that there would be. That battle was won by Aegean. That of Toni Cantó, who has not been appointed councilor of the Government of Madrid, is being won by Rodríguez.

The episode of the King has caused malaise in Genoa with Ayuso. In the national leadership it was especially upset that she did not know how to “stop” after Casado corrected her for her words about Felipe VI. The spark jumped last Sunday. Ayuso overshadowed the demonstration in the Plaza de Colón against the grace measures with explosive statements in which he seemed to imply that he was inviting the monarch to refuse to sign the pardons, although his environment assures that it was a rhetorical question to denounce that the Government is going to put the Monarch in a delicate position. “What is the King of Spain going to do, is he going to sign these pardons? Are they going to make him an accessory to this? ”Ayuso launched to the amazement of some heavyweights of the PP present there. His words did not go down well in some party circles. “It was a mistake,” complains a Madrid leader, “the vast majority of the electorate that voted for it did not understand those statements. There are many moderate people who are very clear about the role of the King. If Felipe VI could decide whether to sign the pardons, this would not be a democracy. And, furthermore, that debate is the one that the left wants to put us in. Who questions the head of state? We can. We cannot enter into that, we must respect the institution ”.

On Monday morning Casado disavowed her, and that same day in the afternoon Ayuso qualified her words. But he rekindled the controversy on Tuesday when he denied backing down. In the environment of the president they argue that the leader did not ask him privately at any time to lower his tone or stop talking about the King. The same sources link the constant praise that Ayuso received from the Colón protesters with the malaise that has arisen with her at the national headquarters: “There is the key.”

The other consequence of the scuffle, according to the sources consulted in the PP, is that the controversy has helped the Government by darkening the debate on pardons. “Again several covers talking about us. Every time we have the government cornered, we start talking about our navel. We have lost three days, with which it is falling ”, thinks a source of the PP of Madrid.

History repeats itself. In Genoa, Ayuso now remembers Cristina Cifuentes, one of his predecessors in the Community of Madrid, who also worked on her own profile, without having a bad relationship with Mariano Rajoy. It is a historical constant: the tenants of Puerta del Sol tend to clash with the management and end up representing a challenge to the leadership of the national president. There are the cases of Esperanza Aguirre and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón with Rajoy. The former mayor of the capital also experienced tensions with José María Aznar, who in 1995 was in the same situation as Casado now: he was the leader of the opposition and had to deal with the difficulty of relating to his regional presidents without having reached the Government . Curiously, Aznar’s squire in front of Gallardón was Miguel Ángel Rodríguez. Now it is on the other side.

Aguirre is today one of the main supporters of Ayuso, and assures that she does not see ideological tension between her and the leader of the PP, although she does see different strategies. “Ayuso is a person who does not shy away from giving ideological and cultural battles to the dictators of political correctness. Casado also gave all those battles in the PP congress. He then made a change in strategy in August of last year to collect Citizens’ votes. Isabel has collected those votes and also from the PSOE giving all the battles ”, says Aguirre. “They are friends, but each one plays a role.”

The question is: how far can Ayuso want to fly free? Until the presidency of the PP? In his inauguration speech last Thursday, it took him only five minutes to talk about national politics. “The pardon is not only illegal, it is immoral,” said Ayuso, who enjoys setting the pace on the right. A former Madrid president of the PP close to the president denies that he has other aspirations. “Ayuso wants to consolidate his political space. It gives him a formidable return to confront Pedro Sánchez, he has won the elections like this. In politics, you measure yourself by the height of your opponents ”, he analyzes. “I think Ayuso is fully aware that he owes his career to Casado. He is not going to rebel ”.

The cohabitation between the two centers of power of the PP, Genoa and Sol, will be put to the test with the election of the new regional leadership. Egea has endorsed Ayuso for the party’s presidency in Madrid, but the congress still has no date and everything is up in the air. The Madrid leader, according to sources around her, is not sure that Ana Camins will revalidate as general secretary, a key piece for Genoa.

In Casado’s environment, they are aware that Ayuso is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a decisive electoral asset for the PP. But, on the other hand, his metamorphosis may end up making him sleepless.


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