José María Aznar saw the PP in Madrid as the “muscle of the party,” says a former collaborator of the former president. That is why he always wanted the person who presided over it to be 100% dedicated to the position. In the worst times of ETA, when it was impossible to fill the lists in the Basque Country, the members of the PP in Madrid offered to complete them; If there was a lack of interveners there, in Andalusia or wherever, the militants of that community would rush to help.
In 1995, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón won the presidency of the region for the first time for the popular and Aznar kept Pío García Escudero as president of the PP in Madrid. Bicephaly was a fact for eight years. Leaders of that time remember that Gallardón made it easy and did not lift a finger to also control the training, despite the fact that in the rest of the communities (then and now) it is tradition that the person who presides over the autonomous government also takes the reins of the match: Pedro Sanz did it at the time in La Rioja and now Alberto Núñez Feijóo in Galicia or Juanma Moreno in Andalusia.
But Esperanza Aguirre did not like that bicephaly, who as soon as she became president of the region, at the end of 2003, began to ask Mariano Rajoy, whom Aznar had already been designated as a dolphin, that she also wanted to captain the party . If Rajoy made a list of the 10 decisions he regrets in his long political life, he would surely be among them. Aguirre gathered so much power, between the Executive and the formation (with proportionally more militants at that time than any other autonomy), that he threatened to stand up to the former Galician president in the 2008 internal party congress.
Pablo Casado knows this part of his party’s history well because he has grown up in the ranks of the PP in Madrid and his political godmother is Aguirre. Paradoxes of life The conservative leader seems to fear that Isabel Díaz Ayuso may follow in the footsteps of the former president and has postponed the decision of what to do with that region, which has been pending to elect its new leaders since April 2018, when Cifuentes resigned after an old video came to light in which it was seen that he had stolen a cream. At the head of the temporary leadership is García Escudero, who was already in that position between 1993 and 2004. He and Ana Camins, as general secretary, have pacified some ranks that needed him after years of corruption scandals and Aguirre’s hasty departures and Cifuentes. The situation had to be temporary, but the events (motion of censure, regional elections, two generals, the pandemic …) and Casado’s resentment have led that team to continue to lead.
Decision in summer
The Genoa management has indicated that they will elect a new leader at the end of this year. At Ayuso’s headquarters it is not clear whether he will step forward. He will decide, “at the earliest”, in summer, they warn. Given the suspicions, they remember that the Madrid leader has been a personal friend of Casado for years. He asked her (after the refusals of other women) to stand as a candidate for the presidency of the region for the regional elections of May 2019. The forecast was for Ángel Gabilondo (PSOE) to win and that’s how it was. But the alliance with Vox and Cs allowed Ayuso to carry out his investiture and win the position. Now, spurred on by her chief of staff, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, that already helped an Aznar with apparently little charisma to arrive at Moncloa, has grown politically in record time. Her style of opposition has already been evident during the pandemic, when for a few weeks she seemed, and not Casado, the head of the opposition to Pedro Sánchez.
But the PP leader not only has to neutralize Ayuso. Casado does not miss that the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida, also has aspirations. Sources around the first mayor have assured this newspaper that if Ayuso takes the step, and appears in the primaries to lead the party, he will too. The solution may be a “third way”, that the national leadership designates a third person who dedicates himself exclusively to the territory. That option would avoid the clash between Almeida and Ayuso and, incidentally, it would avoid the risk of repeating the threat that Aguirre posed to Rajoy. Casado’s current plans are to convene his national congress to be re-elected president of the PP in the summer of 2022. More peace of mind for him if the Madrid barony (and the rest) are favorable to him.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.