State attorney Edmundo Bal, 53, is the deputy spokesperson for Ciudadanos in Congress and, starting tomorrow, will be the candidate of this party to preside over the Community of Madrid after the resignation of Ignacio Aguado, former regional vice president. Bal was this Friday the only one who had presented his candidacy for the primaries after announcing, a few days before, that he would not do so.
Ask. You said last Wednesday that you were not going to appear in the primaries of your party to be a candidate for the presidency of the Community of Madrid. Is the word of a politician not important?
Answer. (Laughs) It is the most important thing there is. This morning they compared me to Salvador Illa. He declared that he was not going to perform when he already knew he was going to perform. He was lying. I wasn’t lying on Wednesday. In the National Executive on Monday, Ignacio Aguado got up and said ‘I’m going to introduce myself, I’m strong, I’m really looking forward to it. But reality changes very quickly and you have to adapt. When he calls me and tells me that I have thought that you are better than me, because you are going to contribute more, because you are going to excite people more, then I think about it and I realize that he is right.
P. Are you the last cartridge of Inés Arrimadas to save Ciudadanos?
R. I do not think so, really. This match is full of talented people. Messi does not score goals if the ball is not passed to him. Behind here is a team that will survive regardless of whether I am there or not.
P. Several deputies and senators who have left Ciudadanos this week affirm that they have done so because the party has entered a “sanchista drift” with a turn to the left.
R. Inés Arrimadas has been president for a year, after having held a congress and having obtained 90% support, and there is no doubt about the direction that this party is taking. After November 10, route 221 was proposed [la suma de los diputados del PSOE, PP y Ciudadanos], which was intended for Pedro Sánchez to be president. Those who now say that we have changed, then said that it was phenomenal. On November 10, we presented ourselves with a program that opened the possibility of being able to agree to one side or the other. Inés says it very well, there are people who are in Ciudadanos and there are people who are from Ciudadanos. If there is someone who is in Ciudadanos and who will never agree with who is on their left or right, that is not from Ciudadanos.
P. Did your personnel selection fail? The positions that they abandon go to the PP or remain with their seat.
R. It is a shame. People vote for the ideals, principles and programs that Ciudadanos offers them. When what you do is that you leave Citizens and do not leave the act, as Marta Martín has done with all dignity, then you are defrauding the feelings of your voters, it is corruption.
P. What are they afraid of Fran Hervías? There is no precedent in Spanish policy for a former secretary of organization of one party to sign for another to try to dismantle the first.
R. The PP, with light and stenographers and without any blush or shame, has launched this operation as if it were a normal thing. I do not remember precedents for such a situation. The most serious case that we have experienced many years ago was the tamayazo, the purchase of a will, and here nevertheless a generalized campaign has been orchestrated throughout Spain, the open day for the defectors in the PP. It is an indecent situation. In exchange for? In exchange for nothing? No. In exchange for positions, money, positions on the lists, in exchange for compensation. This cannot be taken naturally. I sincerely believe that this situation has benefited us and will end up harming the PP.
P. Would you agree with the PP in the future, after what they are doing now?
R. What matters are the people, not the parties. Inés said the other day in an interview: if I cannot agree with any corrupt party, I cannot agree with anyone, because everyone else except Citizens are corrupt, because they have some cases of corruption.
P. As a state lawyer, you learned about the practices of the PP governments in the Community of Madrid. As they were?
R. What the colleagues who came from Murcia told us about corruption there was the same thing that I saw as a state attorney in belt in the Community of Madrid and in the affected municipalities.
P. Was it a mistake to let the PP govern in the Community of Madrid after all his criminal records?
R. The responsibility lies with the people, not with the parties. I cannot speak of the PP as a criminal or corrupt organization. Within the PP there are honest and honest people.
P. You have no reproach to make to the strategy of Citizens’ pacts in different territories?
R. Until the irresponsibility of Isabel Díaz Ayuso advancing elections, the experience of governments has been successful. In the Community of Madrid we run the Ministry of Economy. The GDP of the Community of Madrid in the last quarter has grown by 4.4%. We are the envy of all Spain.
P. Is Madrid envy in number of deaths from covid? Because it is the one that has the most.
R. 34% of ICUs are occupied, 225 cumulative incidence. It seems to me that it has been a good health management.
P. With whom would you prefer to agree a government, with Ángel Gabilondo or with Isabel Díaz Ayuso?
R. That scenario is very far for me. I am taking this step in order to curb populisms on both the left and the right. I do not want this community, where I have lived for a long time, because I was born in Huelva, to be governed by extremes, but by moderation and the political center. The important thing is not with whom to govern, but what.
P. The electoral advance, according to Díaz Ayuso, occurs because you were agreeing on a motion of censure with the PSOE in Madrid. Two regional Cs deputies who have resigned say that on the 11th the party asked them to sign a motion of censure in Madrid with Aguado as the candidate.
R. When one commits such acts of defrauding the will of the voters, he has to make up the necessary excuses. I flatly deny it.
P. Would you be willing to vote for the investiture of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, despite claiming that the president advanced the elections based on a lie?
R. By intentionally leaving the question unanswered … I have come to politics to use my head, not to a politics of guts.
P. That is a yes?
P. What everyone has clear is that we will drive away the extremes of the Government. We will see later with whom.
P. Edmundo Bal, personally, with whom would you be more comfortable negotiating or even governing? With Ayuso or with Gabilondo?
R. I believe in politics with my head and my heart. I have been a state attorney for 27 years, 16 years in the criminal department. I have met all the Ministers of Justice. With the two governments, the PSOE and the PP, I have been equally comfortable or uncomfortable.
P. Does it include Más Madrid within the extremes? They say they are willing to agree with you.
R. With Más Madrid we are united by something that has happened in plenary session, which is the concern for mental health, many things related to the fight against gender violence, but many things separate us, such as the increase in taxes. I insist on what and not on who.
P. “Communism or freedom” is the motto with which Ayuso is presented in these elections. Do you think that this is the dilemma facing the people of Madrid?
R. So does Mrs. Monastery. Mr. Iglesias says he is running against fascism. This terminology makes me very nervous. It makes my hair stand on end. It reminds me of the Spain of the bands and the Spain of the thirties. Not communism, not fascism, not socialism. But realism, pragmatism and restraint.
P. The PP says that you are “a socialist.” Said it this morning in a tweet José Ignacio Echániz, deputy spokesman of the PP in the Congress of Deputies. That responds?
R. It’s what has happened to me my whole life. My friends from university are very left-wing, and they have always told me that I am a facade, and my co-workers were quite right-wing, and they have always told me that I am a red. Mr. Echániz has not realized that I am from the center.
P. What will you do if Ciudadanos cannot enter the Assembly? Won’t you renounce the act before the elections?
R. I have been in public service for 27 years. I could dedicate myself to something else and earn a lot of money. But I like this. I don’t want to go to a private company, I don’t care so much about money. That is why I want the people of Madrid to tell me on May 4 where they want me to be useful.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.