The scarce nine months that remain in the legislature until the next municipal elections are held in Madrid seem to be going to put the mayor of the capital, José Luis Martínez Almeida, uphill. The legislature is going to end it without allies and with his government partner, Begoña Villacís, clearly distanced from him after the scandals in which he has been involved this last year, which have been a nightmare for the alderman. He, for his part, considers Ciudadanos written off and claims for himself “a large majority” ruling out the possibility, if there ever was one, of joint lists with the Arrimadas party, despite assuring outside the door that his vice mayor it is “an important political asset”.
Almeida declares the current project to bury the A-5 “unfeasible”, his most expensive electoral promise
The pre-electoral environment is already brazen and the Madrid councilor tries to erode his government partner by making it appear that he has knocked on the doors of his party to join the PP, something that Villacís denies over and over again while clarifying that she is the only aspires is “to reissue the coalition.”
Almeida has risen from its ashes after having managed to survive, first, the most serious crisis that the PP has experienced in its entire existence and that took away the previous leader of the party, Pablo Casado, its political supporter. And, in parallel, to the case that was the trigger for these crises: the alleged espionage on the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, from the Municipal Housing and Land Company (EMVS) to find out the commissions that her brother Tomás charged for the businesses that he closed with the Community for the sale of sanitary material, for which he took substantial commissions, as the regional government itself ended up recognizing. The mayor had to appear before an investigation commission on this matter, but the conclusions of the work did not even point to him but to two of his direct collaborators whom the groups on the left, and also Ciudadanos, accused of “overreaching in their functions”. The only fault they attributed to the alderman was that of “hindering” the work and “lying” and “hiding” what was happening.
To this must be added the scam that has fully splashed its municipal government for the purchase of masks and defective sanitary material from two businessmen, one of them the aristocrat Luis Medina, son of Nati Abascal, a case that elDiario exclusively uncovered .es and that the Prosecutor’s Office is still investigating and in which a cousin of the mayor has been involved.
After the bad times, and seeing that the internal pulse had been won by the regional president, whom Feijóo left free to lead the party in Madrid, Almeida has focused in recent weeks on trying to recover his reputation to ingratiate himself with Ayuso and swear allegiance to both her and the new boss at the national level, burying Casado. As he has said, both leaders have already given the go-ahead for him to repeat as a municipal candidate, forming a tandem again with the regional leader, greatly strengthened after adding more than the entire left together in the elections he anticipated a year ago after getting rid of Ciudadanos. The same day of the extraordinary Congress of the PP in Madrid, Almeida already referred to Ayuso as his “partner” and predicted that “together” they were going to “take Madrid to the top.” In Genoa they have preferred not to stir up the waters anymore, aware that a change in the municipal cartel in the capital would be extremely risky a few months before the 2023 elections.
Grown by that support that he claims to have, the mayor has begun his particular electoral pre-campaign without knowing who he will face as a rival in the PSOE, or in Vox, while the Mixed Group points to his disappearance. In More Madrid it seems clear that the candidate will be Rita Maestre. On her part, Ayuso does hers without relying too much on him. But the panorama for the municipal councilor is far from being the one enjoyed by what until recently was his rival within the PP. Almeida is going to finish the legislature without allies and with many difficulties to be able to approve this year’s budgets. While Ayuso began a round of contacts with all the opposition spokespersons at the end of August to once again demonstrate his capacity for dialogue for the gallery, the mayor has been unable to do the same at City Hall, a situation that He attributes it to the closedness of the other groups to sit with him.
All opposition groups against him
The reality is that at present he has all the spokesmen for the municipal opposition against him and everything indicates that this is how the legislature will end. Starting with Vox, with whom he closed an investiture agreement to be able to take control of the baton and managed to save his accounts for two years: the first time by abstaining and, the second, voting in favor. And continuing with Recupera Madrid, the rebels from Más Madrid, whom he helped form the Mixed Group that a Madrid court recently ordered to dissolve. The three mayors that Marta Higueras led are now divided and two of them, José Manuel Calvo and Luis Cueto, have announced that they will attend the municipal elections with a Platform of voters to which the one who has been their spokesperson all this time has not joined. , but now I do not know.
The previous year, these councilors were the ones who saved the mayor, in extremis, from having to extend the 2022 accounts. Months earlier they had offered to be the “anti-Vox wild card”, after the door slammed by the group of extreme right, which presented an amendment to all the budgets, feeling betrayed by Almeida, for not eliminating Madrid Central.
This year, the dissidents of Rita Maestre’s group have decided that they are no longer “the pagans” of the coalition government. On Monday they announced that they see “it is difficult” for them to support Almeida’s municipal accounts, making it clear that they are not going to do “the role of Vox.” According to complaints, the mayor has breached several of the budget agreements signed in December 2021, as verified in the monitoring commission held last week. “Almeida owes 30 million IBI to Madrid residents with homes with a cadastral price of less than 300,000 euros. The housing emergency fund, the rental market study or the plaque on the Almudena Grandes home are also missing,” said Luis Cueto. So they have also made it a condition for the mayor to sit down to negotiate again that “the 63 agreements from last year are fulfilled first.”
The truth is that the pre-electoral climate is not hidden in Cibeles. The far-right leader, Javier Ortega Smith, who last year already presented an amendment to the entire Budget, has also warned the mayor that he must “lift the restrictions for type A and industrial vehicles” in the Madrid area Central if you want to talk to your group. At least until the judges make a decision on the appeals filed against the Madrid 360 Mobility Ordinance. That will be, the Vox spokesman said, the “red line” of its four councilors: “Either suspend, or don’t count on us to sit down to negotiate the next Budgets”. Almeida has accused him of asking for something “impossible” and of trying to put “a gun to his chest” as a condition, something that seems “unacceptable”.
More Madrid and PSOE see “a lost legislature”
On the left, neither Más Madrid nor the PSOE intend to save the municipal accounts, because they believe that Almeida has lost the entire legislature. Rita Maestre, leader of the opposition, believes that the intention to negotiate the budget by the PP and Ciudadanos is nothing more than a new “paripé”. “Neither this year nor in previous years has there been any real intention on the part of the Government to agree on budgets with us, there has never been more than statements to the media because they have no interest in agreeing on budgets with us,” he assured during the celebration of the last Full. “After three years of budgeting, without the limitations of previous years, they have not managed to transform the city. Of course they cannot count on us for what is now nothing more than electoral propaganda, ”she settled.
For his part, the socialist Mar Espinar regretted that the mayor has not yet released his model of Fiscal Ordinances or Budget. “He’s just done election ads,” she complained. “We ask Almeida to invest 300 million to help pay the rents for the most vulnerable,” she said, while noting that “the waiting lists to access public housing are more than 30,000 people in Madrid.” “That the mayor stop selling municipal assets and put them in the hands of the EMVS so that they can build public housing”, which is what “was signed in the Agreements of the Villa”, he demanded: “We demand that he comply with them”.
This Thursday, Almeida reproached them for their attitude and appealed to “responsibility” to be able to carry out the municipal budgets, which will be the last of this legislature. As he has reiterated, the accounts and fiscal balances that the Government is already preparing with the Treasury area will again include “a significant reduction in taxes” that will benefit the people of Madrid.
“Lowering taxes is always good news”, he has said, but he has opined that while the PP does it “out of conviction”, the Socialists lower them only because of “electoral opportunism”. “The left that has criticized us for lowering taxes is the one that is now taking the path of tax cuts. They do not do it out of conviction, they do it to flee from Pedro Sánchez’s policies, ”he assured at the press conference after the Governing Board.
However, seeing that reality prevails, Almeida left the door open to the extension of the accounts in an election year. Meanwhile, he will dedicate himself to seeking the warmth of the people of Madrid and exploiting his profile as a politician “close to the street” in a tough competition with Ayuso herself, for whom her party has already laid out a red carpet so that in 2023 Madrid is the prelude to a victory at the national level and Feijóo can reach Moncloa, if possible without the ballast of Vox.