Wednesday, February 8

The inevitable friendship with Vox

The president of Galicia, Núñez Feijoo (2i), together with the president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (3i), and the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (r), upon their arrival at the act of homage to the people of La Palma for their exemplary behavior during the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, held on March 2 in the cloister of the Convent of San Francisco, in Santa Cruz de La Palma. / EFE / Juan Carlos Hidalgo

The leader of the PP seeks the formula to marginalize the extreme right with the feeling that the understanding to govern will be forced

Ramon Gorriaran

Pedro Sánchez says that Alberto Núñez Feijóo “has not resolved what relationship to have with the extreme right.” He resolved he has it, the problem is that he doesn’t know how to put it into practice. The leader of the PP aspires to recover the legion of popular voters who fled to Vox and that collaboration is unnecessary. But the reality is different.

Santiago Abascal’s party is “in fashion”, they recognize it on Génova Street, and although Feijóo and the leaders of his party resort to all kinds of elliptical pirouettes not to mention it, it is there, like the well-thumbed elephant in the room. The PP, to this day and does not know for how long, has assumed that it has no way of governing if it is not with Vox.

The best evidence can be seen today with the investiture of Alfonso Fernández Mañueco as president of the Junta de Castilla y León thanks to the votes of the extreme right. Feijóo resisted, even using grandiloquence to proclaim that “sometimes it is better to lose a government than to win it through populism.” Until he had to surrender to the evidence and agree, even if he discharged the responsibility on Mañueco. A path that everything indicates that he will travel again in Andalusia. They are already warned from Abascal’s party: “If he wants to govern, it will be with Vox or it will not be.” The same crossroads that he faced in Castilla y León with the result already known.

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The leader of the PP insists that the formula to get out of this loop is to “widen” the electoral base of his party so as not to depend on third parties. A goal that in the short term seems unattainable. On April 1, the same day that the PP opened its triumphal congress in Seville, Abascal presided over an inadvertent ordinary general assembly of his party in which he set the goal of reaching one hundred seats in the next general elections to be the party of reference right. At another time it might seem like a boutade, but the numbers sing. All the polls agree that Vox’s upward trend is constant and that a hundred deputies is a plausible goal. Abascal assures that in the polls they manage they have already surpassed the PP, which has become the third force, and that they are hot on the heels of the PSOE. Exaggeration or not, it is a reality that only Vox grows.

The popular entrust themselves to the ‘Feijóo effect’ to recover voters and return to the times when there was a wasteland to their right. Focused, autonomist, European discourse, firm defense of the founding principles of the PP, vindication of the ruling party, dialogue praxis and without giving three quarters to the Vox crier, are some of the ingredients of the PP president’s strategy. A recipe that perhaps at another time could take effect. But those were other times and other crises. When Mariano Rajoy leaned over the edge in 2008, he had nothing to the right of him and was able to rebuild electoral expectations after two consecutive defeats to the Socialists. The situation that Feijóo faces is very different from that. “The ‘voxization’ of the PP is stronger than the influence of the PP in Vox,” reflects a popular leader who lived through the bad times of Rajoy.

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government party

The leader of the popular has emphasized the key to demonstrate that his is “a government party” that does not need ultra crutches. Although to prove it he needs to rule. Spain is not Galicia, a territory in which where the PP steps, nothing grows to its right. It has been verified in Castilla y León, where, beyond the blunder of bringing the elections forward, Vox has shown its strength and the PP, its power problems. “Feijóo was not there”, some console themselves on Génova Street. In Andalusia the prospects are more promising for the popular, but they are even better for the extreme right without anyone, except Abascal, daring to wield the ‘sorpasso’.

In this scenario, the PP seems condemned to friendship with Vox no matter how much Feijóo denies it in public. The punch on the table of the commitment not to govern with the extreme right to make the green party see the uselessness of the vote, as some European leaders have suggested, is not among the plans of the new leader of the opposition.

Abascal, meanwhile, waits sitting in his office. “I hope,” he says, “to reach agreements with the Feijóo PP.” He does not fear a return to the mother house of popular voters seduced by Vox. “We are not worried about the arrival of Feijóo”, that he will be able to recover votes from “abstention” but not from those who have landed in his barn.

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