Thursday, July 7

Alfonso Serrano, the squire of Ayuso who will be in charge of the new PP in Madrid

The name of Alfonso Serrano had been sounding for months in all the pools. The PP spokesman in the Madrid Assembly will be the general secretary of the party in the region starting this weekend. Ayuso’s new ‘number two’ is an old acquaintance in the conservative formation, a party man who has been in the house for almost two decades. For 11 years he has had a reserved seat in the Madrid Chamber, where he rebounded in July 2011 at the hands of Esperanza Aguirre and where he has kept a low profile until his promotion to spokesperson in 2019.

“All of us who are active in this party never thought of assuming this responsibility. For me it represents an opportunity, a recognition and, above all, assuming a responsibility to which I intend to dedicate myself body and soul, since the challenges we have are very important”, Serrano said a few minutes after learning that Ayuso would propose as the new general secretary of the Popular Party of Madrid, replacing Ana Camins. An open secret that was already taken for granted in the huddles of the Assembly.

Serrano’s case is one of those that show that loyalty to the party has a reward. The deputy has spent years in the rearguard. He is 46 years old and already in 2003, at the age of 27, he was appointed deputy to the coordinator of Organization and Electoral of the Popular Party and in 2008 he was promoted to head of the Electoral Area. Through Genoa he has seen the presidents José María Aznar, Mariano Rajoy and Pablo Casado, as well as other members of the national leadership singled out for the corruption cases that persecute the party, such as Luis Bárcenas, in prison for the Gurtel case, or María Dolores de Cospedal, accused in Kitchen.

In this time, Serrano has been that friend who comes to get you out of trouble the hard way. In recent months he has defended Ayuso by land, sea and air. Or by gatherings, social networks and in plenary. It is common to see him respond via Twitter to political opponents and journalists in the face of any hint of criticism, but he also lavishes ironic comments on the opposition, the Coalition Government, Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero, United We Can or the PSOE. His tone in the Assembly is neither friendly nor conciliatory with the opposition. In his questions to the president during control sessions with the regional executive, he usually leaves her to address the opposition on a platter. The last time, this Thursday, when his interventions were more like a control session to the spokeswoman for Más Madrid, Mónica García.

In 2011, Serrano, who is not known to have professional activity beyond the party, arrived at the Madrid Assembly after the departure of deputy Ignacio González Velayos. There he has surpassed four regional presidents: from Esperanza Aguirre to Pedro Rollán, passing through Ignacio González and Cristina Cifuentes. “He is a very disciplined deputy, but without his own personality,” say opposition sources, who acknowledge that he is “clever, follows the argument and is loyal to the party.” A loyalty that Ayuso now rewards, but that Alberto Núñez Feijóo has also recognized. The new president of the PP has included Serrano in his Executive Committee, which also includes his boss and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida. “Feijóo’s model and Ayuso’s are perfectly compatible”, stated Serrano.

The architect of Ayuso’s electoral campaigns

In 2019 Serrano led Ayuso’s election campaign. Despite the fact that the Conservatives then achieved the worst result in their history, the deputy got a seat as spokesperson in the Assembly, covering the backs of the regional leader. This is a position that gives great visibility and from which he has become a faithful squire to her boss. It remained in it after the 2021 elections, which the president called in advance after bursting her coalition with Ciudadanos. Serrano was once again the director of the May 4 campaign, which was based on placing the president as the alternative to the Government of Pedro Sánchez from Madrid.

The strategy was successful and the president’s team now proudly claims that date. The team got even for the result obtained just two years earlier with a comfortable victory that, although it was not an absolute majority, added more deputies than the entire left together. Since then, the Madrid Executive has had to rely on Vox, by action or omission, but this has not been a problem for the conservatives. “There is a coalition government,” Ayuso went on to say.

Then, Serrano already sounded to be part of the new Government of the Community of Madrid but at that time his aspirations were frustrated and he continued to accumulate interventions in the regional Chamber, where he has sometimes had a dialectic similar to that of Ayuso.

In the Executive Committee of the PP of Madrid since 2018

In 2018, Serrano had become part of the party’s Executive Committee in Madrid. Although he is now Ayuso’s right-hand man in the regional chamber and since this weekend his ‘number two’ in the party, there was a time when he did not skimp on praise for Pablo Casado. When he took over the party’s national leadership, the regional deputy assured that the result of the primaries was “very satisfactory” for the Madrid PP. “It’s one of ours,” he said. It was a moment of maximum harmony between Genoa and Madrid, which had helped to raise Casado against Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in the party’s primaries.

When Ayuso began to demand the holding of a PP Congress in Madrid to take over the regional presidency, Serrano’s seemed like a consensus name for the general secretary. Although he has shown absolute loyalty to Ayuso, at that time, he had a good relationship with Ana Camins, whom he now comes to replace and who was one of Pablo Casado’s few faithful until the end. For the time being, Serrano has avoided revealing that he will spend time with the regional deputy and senator starting this weekend.

Party sources in Madrid point out that Serrano has been the glue that has held together a parliamentary group with 65 members and formed under the direction of Pablo Casado in the last year. It is not a minor issue in the middle of the internal war in the party, which ended with the departure of the former national president through the back door, after allegations of espionage by the regional leader. “He has been able to unite the voices of the PP more than Casado with the most ‘ayusistas’ in the Assembly”, she acknowledges.