The move that the PP has announced to leave its national headquarters on Genova street in Madrid has a precedent in the province of Alicante. Both for the background and for the forms. Ending a past linked to corruption and leaving behind the shady issues that weigh down the past to focus on the future. These are the reasons that have led the party leadership to change its building. And those are also the causes that in 2013 led the PP of Alicante to move its provincial headquarters to Avenida de Salamanca.
The provincial leadership of the PP, led by José Císcar, decided in January 2013 to leave the offices located on Juan Bautista Lafora avenue, in front of the central El Postiguet beach. The loss of income forced the PP to cut expenses, which had to tighten its belt. With the change of headquarters, the annual saving was 15,600 euros. Sources of the PP assured this media yesterday that the provincial leadership came to request a reduction in the rental price of Juan Bautista Lafora, but, since it was not possible to lower the amount, they decided to change the location to larger offices located in the Alicante center. At the end of January, the provincial leadership opened its headquarters on Avenida de Salamanca with an act that commemorated the life of the Popular Alliance, the embryo on which the PP was forged.
At that time, José Císcar was trying to settle the scandal over the collection of bonuses, in part by means of envelopes with cash exempt from taxation, from the popular group in the Cortes. Meanwhile, leaders of the PP warned of the deterioration that the acronyms were suffering. In the midst of all this controversy, Císcar made the decision to move and reduce the rental price to more than half, which amounted to about 2,500 euros per month. PP sources have added that currently the rent is around 1,400 euros on Avenida de Salamanca, in the offices located on the third and fifth floors where the offices and rooms for meetings and press conferences are located.
The move that the national PP has now announced has a certain parallel with that of the popular Alicante of 2013. A few months earlier, in July 2012, Císcar was proclaimed president of the Alicante PP with the challenge of keeping afloat a ship that had important cracks due to corruption investigations that plagued popular positions. The party also tried to put an end to the internal conflicts of the time of José Joaquín Ripoll.
The succession of scandals and conflicts made the headlines of the media and it was the provincial and regional leaders themselves who recognized the wear and tear that the party was suffering. The popular provincial leadership decided to change its location before the string of defendants that the PP had, several of them from Alicante, for the Gürtel or for the Brugal case, and with Luis Díaz Alperi and Sonia Castedo, in the spotlight for the supposed fixation of the General Plan of Alicante in favor of the constructor Enrique Ortiz, confessed financier of the PPCV. The provincial president came to presume to charges and activists of a total distancing from the previous stage. An absolute break with the past that also now, paradoxically, it is a matter of showing from Madrid. The beginning of a new stage that, in the case of Alicante, was not trivial, since it meant a distancing from the turbulent times lived marked by corruption.
Isabel Bonig also made a similar strategy five years ago, when she took control of the party in the Community, leaving the symbolic Quart Street to move to the Plaza América building. The objective: to shed the image of corruption that persecuted the PP and to distance itself from any scandal.
“We must not continue in a building whose reform is being investigated in the courts,” said Pablo Casado this week after the Catalan elections, alluding to the Bárcenas case and the supposed B-box of the party. Now it is the PP at the national level that is following the path that the popular people of Alicante already took eight years ago. Those of Casado still do not have a new location, a commission has been entrusted to number two, Teodoro García Egea. They have also not confirmed whether they will rent or sell their building. The move requires an agreement from the National Board of the PP, the largest body between congresses, since the headquarters is set in the statutes, although, from Genoa, still the namesake of the management, they point out that passing through this body is a mere formality. In addition, that symbolic break by Casado with the container of the popular past has generated reactions among party officials. The majority of popular leaders, such as Carlos Mazón, president of the Diputación and leader of the party at the provincial level, endorse this strategy. In this regard, Mazón assured yesterday that “it is a new stage in the party. We are a project for the future and not hostages of the past. We take advantage of the good government experience. But the bill of some cheek, that cheek will pay.
On the contrary, the political opponents of the PP, from the PSOE to United We Can, and even Ciudadanos, have questioned Pablo Casado’s decision to change the headquarters of the PP by doubting the scope of this symbolic gesture to combat corruption.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.