The president of the Community of Madrid maintains constant pulses with the national PP and now wants all the power to control the party in Madrid
On the night of November 13, Friday, Isabel Díaz Ayuso was at a party in the Prosperidad neighborhood of Madrid . In the middle of the music, the drinks and the dances, the news of an attack in Paris arrived. The focus was on the terrorist attack at the Bataclán nightclub . She, then a young woman who was fluent in social networks and began to move skillfully in the secondary stages of the Popular Party, began to argue. In one of the clusters of that party, Díaz Ayuso, restless, petite and clever, debated passionately, firmly, even with a certain intransigence .
His political career, then, moved in the midst of a government, that of Cristina Cifuentes, where he could have little prominence . When, a year before the elections to the Community of Madrid in 2019, Cifuentes resigned, harassed by the scandal of a master’s degree that put her on the dock and from which she was judicially unscathed, Díaz Ayuso was, politically, little thing. In February 2019, Pablo Casado, newly elected president of the PP after the fall of Mariano Rajoy, made the decision to designate her as a candidate for the presidency of the Community caused a stupor as few remember in Madrid .
Casado’s decision to place one of his best and most loyal friends were performed in the early days even as a surrender : the PP was as lost the Community, a government maintained without interruption since 1995. The personal attacks on the journalist Diaz Ayuso were, in private, the general tonic of the mentideros of Madrid . On the contrary, in the City Council a candidate was presented, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, solvent, solid, prepared. A State lawyer in front of an apprentice whose main merit, he was squeezed to the maximum to disqualify her, was to have managed the Twitter account of Pecas, Esperanza Aguirre’s dog, former president of the Community. The truth is that she was also deputy counselor of Cifuentes and coordinator of the social networks of the PP in Madrid. But that is obvious.
Victoria by the hair
His campaign was a horror; his speech, poor; its dialectic, mediocre; its messages, nonexistent, basic. The result, a disaster. A PP worn out by years of corruption, which already governed the Community with the support of Citizens, fell from 48 to 30 deputies in an autonomous Assembly with 134 seats. That is, just over 22.7% representation. But it was enough. The sum of PP, Ciudadanos and Vox allowed Ayuso to rise to the presidency of the Government of Madrid by virtue of a single seat difference compared to the leftist formations.
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In August 2019 Ayuso came to power. Every day there was an anecdote, a misguided intervention, a minor problem that became major and, above all, no political activity: not a law, not an initiative. Much less its own budgets with which to address, until 2023, a legislature in coalition with Citizens.
Ayuso made a decision at the beginning of 2020 that has been key in his political career : he appointed Miguel Ángel Rodríguez head of the cabinet. Rodríguez, known as MAR, was Aznar’s head of communication when the former leader of the PP reached the Government of Spain in 1996. Later he was its Secretary of State for Communication and later went on to the tranquility of private life. Controversial, provocative, intelligent, sharp, excessive for good and bad, Rodríguez accepted the position . Not out of financial need, but out of a real affection for Ayuso – whom he had already advised in the campaign that led her to govern and which he considered a rough diamond that he could polish – and because of the personal challenge of showing that he was still the best.
MAR arrived in Sol, headquarters of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid, at the beginning of 2020. Shortly before the pandemic. When the whole of Spain was confined, when the central government sat down with the regional authorities, when Sánchez received the almost unanimous support of the Spanish political forces to face the tragedy that was coming, the first signs of transformation began to be seen in Díaz Ayuso .
Confrontation with Sánchez
In the weekly meetings in which Sánchez coordinated with the regional presidents the strategy to fight Covid-19, she was dismissive and almost insolent . On some occasions he was late or asked to intervene the first or last to go to Barajas to receive medical supplies: masks, respirators … He began to fight the Prime Minister in the midst of a pandemic. It became his real opposition . More importantly, this is how the citizens were seeing it: the retaining wall to the PSOE and Podemos government.
The culmination was a summit between Ayuso and Sánchez in Puerta del Sol on September 21 . After the meeting, the two appeared before the media flanked by two dozen flags of Spain and Madrid. The president spoke in a conciliatory tone. On his turn, Ayuso did not spare Sánchez half a criticism , once again marking the territory or showing what some described as lack of respect and others as courage.
There she began to become independent, to become a politician with her own identity and to leave behind the stage of Casado’s ‘friend’ , handpicked and at the last minute to ‘lose’ the Community of Madrid. But Ayuso’s best move came in March of this year . PSOE and Ciudadanos starred in a grotesque in Murcia. They presented a motion of censure against the president of the PP that not only ended in failure, but also became the beginning of the disintegration of Ciudadanos. Following this ridicule, Ayuso decided to advance elections in Madrid .
The great triumph
She governed in coalition with Ciudadanos and with the argument that if they raised a motion such as in Murcia, she would lose power, she dissolved the Assembly and signed the decree that marked May 4 as the key date for her future: either she would triumph or die in the shore. Díaz Ayuso spent that historic night from 30 to 65 deputies. On the verge of an absolute majority, he not only caused the disappearance of Ciudadanos from the political scene, but also liquidated Pablo Iglesias, up to two weeks before vice president of the Government of Spain, leader of Podemos and candidate for the Community. Iglesias considered that he was the only one capable of stopping the rise of Ayuso and the extreme right of Vox. His hit was resounding. He resigned that same night. She, who in the campaign said that Spain owed him one for removing Iglesias from the Moncloa Palace, spat on the corpse of the former leader of Podemos: “Now Spain owes me two . ” Iglesias not only did not mobilize his voters, but he achieved the opposite effect: that the left stays at home and the right is activated.
And there, the attendees say, there was one of the greatest frictions between MAR and Genoa , recognized close enemies. Rodríguez, some witnesses say, defended that Ayuso went out alone to the balcony of the PP headquarters where great electoral victories are traditionally celebrated. The party wanted to take advantage of his victory and ordered that in addition to Casado, other positions of the PP in Madrid would leave with Ayuso. The anger was huge. They speak of thick insults . It was the staging of a hidden divorce.
Ayuso had been more opposition to the Pedro Sánchez government for months than his party boss . It was tougher, more forceful, more reckless, even. In the PP, the environment of Casado allowed to do and, secretly, some wished that he could not add to govern Madrid, while they knew that that also dragged his boss: Ayuso was a bet of him. The president won the elections with a simple strategy: freedom, freedom and freedom. She opposed this concept to that of communism, refused to close the premises, to control the schedules more than others and to implement measures that she considered repressive to combat the pandemic. Madrid, true, was an open city, but with high rates of contagion. Moreover, it was sold that the economic growth of Madrid was incomparable with that of the rest of the Spanish communities. The data did not indicate that either, but the message, like the fine rain, penetrated deep.
Ayuso became a phenomenon and, after the election night, the new de facto leader of the PP in Madrid . Since then, his actions have always been ahead of Casado’s . The PP president’s interventions always come later than hers. Her agenda always marks his, her interventions always have more presence than his, the rhythms of the game, at least in Madrid, are set by her and he seems to be absent.
The last great internal fight has broken out this week as a result of the congress that must elect the president of the Popular Party in the Community of Madrid . A position that Senator Pío García Escudero occupies on an interim basis since the resignation of Cifuentes. Ayuso leaked days ago that he would run for office. This same Friday he recognized him in public with a speech that makes it clear that he wants all power and, at best, he will behave well with Martínez Almeida, mayor of Madrid, number 3 of the national PP and foreseeable candidate for the city government within two years. He said that “he will have his hands free” , which is like saying that he will be able to make his electoral lists. Or at least a little. He told the most that he has the support to be president of the party. Almeida does not hide in private his discomfort with the president of the Community, and from being a clear option to preside over the PP in Madrid, he has gone to hide behind the scenes so as not to make noise. ” Now it’s not playing,” he responds when they tell him about the battle for Madrid.
Being president of the PP in Madrid is key to its political future. Ayuso controls an annual budget of 20,000 million euros and is the owner and mistress of giving and removing public office . The province of Madrid has 179 municipalities. That means many mayors, councilors, positions of trust. When the PP lost the first national elections of 2019, the conservatives were left with 66 deputies, half of those they had. Many positions of trust had to be placed and the Community of Madrid was one of the spaces where they found shelter . Ayuso knows that being president is to control the electoral lists for the municipal and regional elections of 2023 and, above all, to have many delegates in the National Congress who elect the national president of the party.
Today Ayuso is not going to attack Casado . But if she triumphs in the May 2023 elections – it is happily taken for granted that she will drop seats because she has a lot of votes borrowed from voters angry with the PSOE – and Casado fails in the general elections that should be – if they are not advanced – in the autumn of that same year, Ayuso will activate the national leader mode . That is what they fear in Genoa – the street where the PP headquarters is located – and that is why they are trying to prevent Ayuso from monopolizing all power.
For now, the congress in Madrid has not been convened and it is not expected to be convened until next spring , already in 2022. In addition, it is launched by active and passive that the current formula, with a balance of powers, is the adequate : she is the president of the Community, Almeida, mayor of the city and a third person, at the head of the party. She argues, with good reason, that all the regional presidents that the PP has control the party in their region: it happens in Galicia, Murcia, Castilla y León, Andalusia …
Madrid is different
But the case of Madrid, they say in Genoa, is different : Madrid has more money, controls more positions with which to buy wills and presents more delegates to the National Congress. Leaving Ayuso free is creating a problem for Casado. The difference is that Ayuso has a strategy because he has a strategist, MAR, they say in the PP. While Casado does not have a staff, he is going to hit headlines and prefabricated messages and does not connect with people as Ayuso does . It only relies on an obvious wear and tear of the Sánchez government, in some very positive polls and in a change in the cycle that, today, would place it in La Moncloa.
Things have changed to the point that before the summer Casado himself and his lieutenant Teodoro García Egea took for granted in private that the logical thing was that Ayuso was president of the PP in Madrid. This same week, Casado has avoided supporting the candidate and in a meeting in which he, she and the mayor of Madrid were present, he praised both of them . The frantic search for a third way is not going to stop Ayuso’s momentum . An Ayuso who, coincidentally, will be on a tour of the United States when her leader of the ranks embarks on a triumphant tour of Spain at the next National Convention of the PP. Casado will visit all the communities where the right governs and will present in Valencia, on the 2nd and 3rd, his country project. Former presidents Aznar and Rajoy will be present. Ayuso may reach the last day, but today, his trip to the United States is more important than the triumphant journey of his boss and friend? A trip that has an aperitif in Milan, where on Monday they give him the Flame of Freedom Award. For his management of the pandemic.
Ayuso is no longer the 2019 candidate that everyone despised ; the bet to lose. Step by step it has become the politics that dominates the scene of the Spanish right over Casado’s shoulder. A diamond in the rough, as MAR has already warned . The fight continues.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.