Monday, January 24

The Madrid campaign surfaces tensions between Genoa and Ayuso’s team | Spain

The president of the Community of Madrid and candidate for re-election, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (center), and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, tour the Juan Carlos I Park, in Madrid (Spain), on March 29, 2021.
The president of the Community of Madrid and candidate for re-election, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (center), and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, tour the Juan Carlos I Park, in Madrid (Spain), on March 29, 2021.Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press

Isabel Díaz Ayuso was born politically as a personal bet of Pablo Casado, but the president of Madrid has become one of the most powerful leaders in the PP and acts as such. Although the personal relationship between the two is fluid, tensions have surfaced between the national leadership of the PP and the team of the Madrid candidate with the start of the campaign for 4-M. The signing of Toni Cantó and the possible pacts with Vox are two issues that cause friction in the environments of both leaders. Some voices in the Madrid and national PP are committed to governing with Vox if necessary to retain power.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Pablo Casado have a very close relationship, but even despite this misgivings have made their way between the national leadership of the PP and the team of the popular candidate on account of the Madrid electoral battle. These tensions are not new, because in Genoa they already looked suspiciously at Ayuso’s chief of staff, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, although recent episodes have increased that tension with the squire of the Madrid president. The party expressly left Rodríguez out of the meeting in which Ayuso’s list was decided, after the scuffle over the signing of Toni Cantó.

Ayuso also welcomed the fact that Cantó, former leader of Cs in the Valencian Community, would accompany her in the candidacy for May 4, but she wanted to manage the timing of the announcement of her signing and the national leadership announced the incorporation of the former leader of Ciudadanos before that she and her team accepted it. From there, the versions of different sources consulted about the operation differ on what was the discrepancy around the signing. Some sources assure that it was weighed that Cantó was number two on the list, although both the national and Madrid leadership deny it. In any case, Ayuso rushed to name his Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, as his number two, and Cantó has ended up relegated to fifth place, behind the general secretary of the Madrid PP, Ana Camins, and the Secretary of Justice of the PP, Enrique López. Escudero was also well regarded by Genoa as Ayuso’s ticket because his appointment as director was a bet of the general secretary of the PP, Teodoro García Egea.

The Madrid president resisted last Wednesday night to welcome Cantó, when the national leadership had already announced the incorporation of the Ciudadanos politician, in a gesture that evidenced the clash with the leadership. From there, things were fixed from above: the next day, Thursday, the first 20 positions on Ayuso’s list were agreed upon at a meeting in Genoa in which the Madrid president, the leader of the PP, Pablo, were present. Married, the general secretary, Teodoro García Egea, the president of the Madrid PP, Pío García Escudero, and the general secretary of the party in Madrid, Ana Camins. García Escudero, according to sources from the national leadership, decided that Miguel Ángel Rodríguez not participate in that appointment on the list.

Ayuso’s chief of staff arouses suspicions at the top, where his work is valued alongside the candidate but it is also considered that “it entangles more than necessary.” “Live that Ayuso and Casado do not get along”, is heard in sources of the national leadership.

The other big issue that has been stressed is that of the post-election pacts with Vox, in the event that Ayuso needs his support to govern in Madrid. The PP leadership affirms that the intention, both of the candidate and of Genoa, is for the PP to rule in Madrid alone if it wins the elections. However, the way in which Pablo Casado’s environment transmitted his commitment to Ayuso ruling alone last week was interpreted as a red line that was not understood in the president’s team either. Everyone agrees that the aspiration is a government only of the PP, although there are voices both in the national and regional leadership that are committed to opening up to govern with Santiago Abascal’s party if necessary to retain power in Madrid. “If your votes are essential, and Vox demands it, what do we do? Deny ourselves and let Pablo Iglesias rule?” Asks a leader. “We must end this mental framework, according to which in Spain you can agree with the extreme left and not with Vox,” says another. In any case, sources of the maximum solvency of the Casado environment insist that the PP roadmap is the same followed so far: only external support from Vox.

Abascal believes that he will continue to reach agreements with the PP

Despite the fact that Pablo Casado’s break with Santiago Abascal in the motion of censure last October has cooled the personal relationship between both leaders, the Vox leader believes that there will be no problem for the two parties to reach new ones agreements. In an interview with Cadena Cope, Abascal assured this Tuesday that although he has not spoken with Casado in private for many months, when necessary he is sure that the two “will pick up the phone and reach agreements.”

One of the next scenarios in which this pact may be essential is the Government of the Community of Madrid, where the PP, leading the polls, may once again need the support of the extreme right. Abascal wanted to make it clear on Tuesday that his party will not be a problem so that the Madrid president can be invested again. “If Isabel Díaz Ayuso depends on our votes, there will be no problem, Vox will prevent the left from reaching the Community of Madrid,” said the Vox leader, who did not clarify what he would ask for in exchange for that support. Next, Abascal wondered if the others, in veiled reference to the PP, would do the same if Vox depended on their votes. According to the leader of the extreme right, Ayuso has had from the Madrid leader of Vox, Rocío Monasterio, “a loyalty that he has not found in his own government.”

The PP trusts that its wide advantage over Vox will prevent Abascal’s party from claiming a seat in the Government. The fear in the PP in recent days is actually that Ayuso’s electoral pull could leave Vox out of the Assembly, because it does not reach 5% of the votes, and that this could cause the PP to lose the Government.

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