Saturday, December 4

City Council: Crisis in the Almeida-Villacís coalition: “We are not considering a rupture, but this is a before and after” | Madrid


Unprecedented crisis in the Madrid City Council. The latest public brawl has caused a huge gap in the coalition of popular and Citizens, according to sources from both parties. “It is the most critical moment of the legislature”, they recognize in the formation of the vice mayor, Begoña Villacís (Cs). “What yesterday [por este martes] made the mayor’s team was an unprecedented public override. We are not considering a breakup, but this is a before and after ”. In the surroundings of José Luis Martínez-Almeida (PP) they respond: “She [Villacís] He committed yet another rush. Things don’t work that way and it’s not the first time he’s done it ”. The last battle began this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and, according to sources from both formations, it has not finished yet.

The vice mayor gave a nine-minute telephone interview to the program Window from the SER string, directed by journalist Javier Casal. The first question was point blank:

– Is Madrid going to aspire to organize the Olympic Games?

– Yes, we have already started to work in this regard.

– The appointment, in principle, would be to opt for 2036 …

– 2036. I don’t think there are other better candidates than Madrid and the International Olympic Committee owes us the Games.

The announcement was made. Madrid will present itself to the 2036 Olympic Games. The bomb caught Almeida’s team off guard. “None of us knew about this. Neither the mayor nor the councilors had been informed, ”confessed PP sources. Why is there talk of the 2036 Olympics on a September 2021 afternoon? Because the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, was this Tuesday at a congress of the Sports Press Association that was held in Teruel. There, from the rostrum, he encouraged the Madrid City Council to speak as soon as possible with the International Olympic Committee to propose its Olympic options for 2036. However, in Almeida’s last interview with EL PAÍS, just two weeks ago, the The mayor has already expressed his vision: “If it depends on me, it is a decision that I will make after the pandemic. I would like to present the candidacy ”.

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Two weeks later, the Madrid City Council announced this Tuesday, through its deputy mayor, a yes to the 2036 Games after the failure of 2012, 2016 and 2020. But —all crises always begin with a but— the sports bomb and informative of Villacís did not last an hour. Immediately and after the interview on the radio, the mayor’s team released a statement to the media in bold letters and with an alarm emoticon: “Good afternoon, given the barrage of questions we are receiving, we clarify that the Mayor’s Office denies that Madrid is currently aspiring to present itself to the 2036 Olympic Games. Thank you very much ”.

During that hour, according to sources from both parties, there was not a single call between the mayor and the deputy mayor. The message of the denial stirred Villacís from his seats, according to sources in his environment: “It is the first time that disloyalty of these characteristics has occurred. We have never done this ”, they maintain. In Ciudadanos they have always considered that a coalition government does not mean submission, but that they also have to have a certain political autonomy for advertisements. Moreover, in the distribution of the coalition, the Department of Sports fell on his side. “With this we have given a show and we have been fatal to the citizens. This denial does a lot of damage to the government ”, they emphasize. Another mayor of Ciudadanos consulted by this newspaper is much more blunt: “After the elections, those of the PP want to crush us. They have poison inside. Also, they are very nervous now [en el equipo de Almeida] by the regional committee of the PP and the movements of Ayuso ”.

Two more interviews

After the public denial, Deputy Mayor Villacís granted two more interviews to broaden the dissemination of her message. An A The spar from SER string: “I don’t think Almeida is going to deny Madrid an Olympic Games”. And another, a The great game from the Cope chain, where he publicly acknowledged that he had not spoken with Almeida after the announcement of the candidacy and the denial of it: “No, we have not spoken. We have complicated schedules ”.

The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, at the Zoo with the two new pandas.
The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, at the Zoo with the two new pandas.

On the morning of this Wednesday, the government crisis has taken another step. Early in the morning, the mayor has not changed his schedule and has visited the Zoo in the capital to visit the two panda bears that have just been born in the park. Later, he attended the media. The first question was obvious:

– You deny the vice mayor, right?

– I agree that it is a dream to host them [los Juegos], but no decision made. It is essential that there is a consensus.

And he again publicly denied Villacís: “A candidacy cannot be announced without the rest of the municipal groups knowing about it or without having contacted the Community of Madrid and the Government of Spain.” After visiting the park and according to City Council sources, Almeida called Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, and invited him to the Palacio de Cibeles. However, the deputy mayor, who has an office on the fifth floor of the building, has not been notified of this visit. With this movement, Almeida wants to close the crisis with a photo with the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee to show that the decision of Madrid’s Olympic candidacy for 2036 has not yet been taken.

Criticism in public

It is the third time in the last year that Ciudadanos and PP have criticized each other publicly, but never in such a public way. First it was because of the LGTBI rainbow flag, which Villacís announced that it would be hung on the balcony of the Palacio de Cibeles during Pride week, and Almeida denied it a few hours later. Then it happened with the new ordinance of the terraces, where the deputy mayor announced that the regulation would be extended for two more years for bars and restaurants. That is, those parking spaces that are on the street, and that during the de-escalation were transformed into tables and stools, will continue to be until 2023. Almeida corrected Villacís in the interview with this newspaper: “You don’t have to go to solutions categorical. My position is clear. You have to give priority to the neighbor and you have to give priority to the quality of life in the city of Madrid ”. The final decision has not yet been made.

With this latest government crisis, no one hides that in the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid there was a political marriage that had two faces. For the spotlights, for the photographers and for the acts in public there was an unwritten slogan to show a personable, courteous and pristine side. A model couple, a perfect political coalition. The reality behind the cameras and behind the white walls of the imposing building in the center of the capital was very different. A political couple coexists here who work indoors separately, with different agendas, with disagreements, tensions, discussions and even with strong rudeness. The two marriages, in reality, are the same: the mayor and the deputy mayor of the capital of Spain. The Almeida-Villacís binomial will be very difficult to repeat.

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