Saturday, June 25

Díaz Ayuso, a year and a half lost amid controversy | Madrid

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, on February 16.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, on February 16.Oscar J. Barroso

This is the balance with which Isabel Díaz Ayuso closes her passage through the Government of the Community of Madrid: the launch of a private university as the only law approved; no Budget project presented in the Assembly … And a reform of the land law designed to facilitate the procedures for the builders and appealed in the Constitutional Court between accusations that it was approved without the minimum number of deputies present that the regulation requires . That, and a thousand and one controversies: if something has distinguished Díaz Ayuso, it is his ability to mark the political agenda with hyperbolic statements, criticism of the Government of Spain and public clashes with his government partner, Ciudadanos, until yesterday.

“I cannot allow Madrid to lose its freedom,” the PP leader said yesterday to justify her decision to call the polls in light of the possibility that PSOE and Cs would ally against her. “Today we enjoy freedom and rights that are not available in all of Spain. This Madrilenian way of living is unique ”, he continued. And he finished: “I want the people of Madrid to be the ones to choose between socialism or freedom.”

It was the culmination of a strategy carefully designed for months, and that tries to install the idea that Madrid is different, which can put it in danger, and makes it necessary for it to have a leader to defend it. It is a way to compensate for the little capacity for action that an Executive born in the minority has had, depending on Vox to carry out any initiative, and with a president who was the first PP candidate defeated in regional elections since 1991. Limitations that they did not lose a minute to Díaz Ayuso.

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The first decision of the president of Madrid was to go on an official trip to Catalonia, a Community that she has visited six times since then to confront the independence movement. Shortly after, he received Juan Guaidó, then president in charge of Venezuela, with honors as head of state, criticizing Pedro Sánchez for not welcoming him to La Moncloa. Finally, the arrival of the coronavirus led him to collide time and again with the central Executive, amplifying the previous disagreements on fiscal, economic, educational or international policy.

Those three chapters, full of ramifications such as the controversial construction of a hospital specializing in pandemics, summarize a way of exercising power in which the forms can be more important than the substance, and what is said to dominate what is done.

Advised by Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, who was Secretary of State for Communication with José María Aznar, Díaz Ayuso has found in Madrid the perfect showcase to promote the policies of the PP in opposition to those of the PSOE. And something else: here, sources of conservative training acknowledge, is the perfect springboard for their leap into national politics. Few times has a similar transformation been seen in public, live and in such a short time: from a completely unknown candidate to a leader with a reputation throughout Spain.

“Madrid has experienced the hardest moment in democracy in memory,” he said yesterday in reference to a pandemic that has claimed at least 20,000 lives in the region. “It is time to think big, to forget ourselves and to decide what is best for citizens.”

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That appearance was the first chapter of the electoral campaign. No one knows what the outcome will be on May 4, but the outgoing president does have an advantage. Despite the fact that there is an unprecedented crisis, everything indicates that the parties will not focus their campaign on proposals for change, or on monitoring the management of the outgoing Executive, but on defending that Díaz Ayuso cannot return to power. Your favorite terrain.

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