A previous data, that many forget. That mischievous and unapologetic ex-politician who gives ethics lessons to others, named Esperanza Aguirre, is still accused of corruption today, in the Púnica case. His own brother-in-law, in another court, accuses him of appropriating a Goya, selling it for five million and keeping the money, behind the backs of others (if they do this with the family, what will they not do with a normal voter?). His right hand man was called Ignacio González, and he is on trial for corruption. His left hand was called Francisco Granados, and he is also under investigation for corruption. There are such solid indications against González and Granados that both have already spent two seasons in prison, for now preventive. The two face long jail requests before the Justice and it is quite likely that they will have to return.
“What destroyed the PP in Madrid was corruption,” the number two of the PP, Teodoro García Egea, reminds Aguirre. And in that he is absolutely right. Because all the great corruption schemes of the right -Gürtel, Púnica, Lezo- have Aguirre’s PP as a common denominator.
Aguirre did not see anything, or so he tells us today, when he still defends the “presumption of innocence” of Granados, González and others. But it should be remembered that that leader whose corruption is ugly today by her own party was not the only one who passed by and did not see anything, or did not want to find out.
From that PP in Madrid that was destroyed by corruption comes Pablo Casado, who was appointed president of the New Generations by Aguirre, later he was on Aguirre’s autonomic list, and later he was appointed PP deputy for Madrid. And also José Luis Martínez-Almeida, who was first a senior official in the Community of Madrid and later entered Aguirre’s lists to the City Council, when he lost against Carmena. Isabel Díaz Ayuso also leaves there, who in the golden years of Aguirre’s corruption worked in the press team and social networks of the PP in Madrid.
Those whom Aguirre now despises as “chiquilicuatres”, “niñatos” and “novatos” are, deep down, the politicians that Aguirre left behind. Because in the end theirs won in the war against Soraya and Rajoy. Also other leaders who say in the PP that Aguirre refers and does not name in his interview in El Mundo, such as Ángel Carromero: another of his protégés, who was a substitute for Casado at the head of the New Generations of the regional PP and whom Aguirre herself came to visit in the Segovia jail, when he was convicted of a traffic accident in which several Cuban opponents died.
All the protagonists of this new civil war on the right have Esperanza Aguirre as their political godmother and they grew up under her skirts. Also Santiago Abascal, who for years and years lived from the mamandurria of the PP in Madrid, until he was unemployed … and just that day he decided to found Vox.
Since the victory of Isabel Díaz Ayuso in Madrid, the PP has managed to expel Ciudadanos from the equation. The end of the party of Inés Arrimadas, which today seems doomed to extinction, has turned the polls around, which today predict that the PP and Vox can add the majority necessary to govern, something that seemed impossible if the right was still divided into three.
Everything that happened in the previous season – from Murcia to Ayuso, through the withdrawal of Pablo Iglesias and the surprise to the PSOE of Más Madrid – shows to what extent Spanish politics continues to be unpredictable. But the movements of these last weeks do give some clues of what may happen.
The fight for the PP of Madrid, which Isabel Díaz Ayuso wants to control while the Genoa team refuses to give in, is only understood because there are many on the right who move Pablo Casado’s chair, or believe that he is going to crash.
Spanish politics have always been the same: a mechanical bull where the most important thing in big games is to hold on, until the change of cycle touches you and you can come to govern.
Aznar endured three attempts as a candidate, until he won, because he controlled the regional apparatuses, surrounded himself with a series of young politicians who owed him everything, and retired the previous generation. The same was done later by Mariano Rajoy, who in one of his SMS with Luis Bárcenas wrote what undoubtedly defines his way of understanding politics: “Life is to resist.” Do you remember your pacts with Francisco Camps in the face of Aguirre’s assault by national leadership? Today is almost the same.
Now it is Pablo Casado who is in the mechanical bull and tries, whatever, to hold on. And to do so, until it is his turn to govern, it is essential to control the party apparatus, and prevent it from falling into the hands of those who could throw him out.
It is a fight that is not only fought in Madrid: also in the PP of Andalusia or in Castilla y León there is crossfire for that same reason. But neither Juanma Moreno nor Alfonso Fernández Mañueco have the media speakers that the PP in Madrid does enjoy. Those who today praise Ayuso in front of Casado are the same ones who previously complimented Aguirre in front of Rajoy.
Mariano Rajoy took eight long years to govern. Pablo Casado leads the party just three. And I am not so clear that he is going to surrender peacefully in two years if he loses again. Although the PP does not govern, if it rises – which is almost certain, due to the collapse of Ciudadanos – it will try to hold on. As Rajoy did against all odds in 2008 after another PP defeat.
There is another important piece of information. By calendar, Pablo Casado will have to convene a national congress of the PP before the end of the legislature. The last one was in July 2018, the next one would play in the summer of 2022. If there is no electoral advance, and this war continues, it is possible that then he will have to face a PP primary to repeat as a candidate, at the end of 2022 or early 2023.
All the war of positions that one and the other deploy on the territorial apparatus can only be explained under this hypothesis: that despite what the polls say, many in the PP do not believe that Casado is going to govern. And that even if he repeats as a candidate and loses, it is not certain that Casado will retire without a fight.
The problem for Ayuso, Casado, Almeida, Abascal and the thousand and one children of Esperanza Aguirre is that the Spain they name so much is much bigger than Madrid.