The vice mayor of the capital, Begoña Villacís, has become almost by force a fundamental piece for Ciudadanos in a fundamental square such as Madrid after the collapse of the formation in the 4M elections. Two and a half months ago, Villacís declared The country that she did not know if she was going to repeat as a Citizen candidate for the Madrid City Council in 2023. “I have to think about it a lot. I don’t do long-term calculations,” he replied in a long interview. in which, however, he made it clear that whatever happened he was going to continue in the liberal training. In addition, he stated that in the Community of Madrid the party was “going to build a project in two years based on municipalism.” “And who is going to direct it?” The journalist asked him. “You don’t have to run,” replied the deputy mayor of Madrid.
Ciudadanos wants to relaunch without renewing the project and with all its trust in the figure of Arrimadas
The Madrid leader has the task of overcoming the adverse situation that is presented to Ciudadanos in the face of the municipal elections and the new regional elections in spring 2023. Once Ignacio Aguado had disappeared from political life, he resigned from all his positions after handing over the regional candidacy to Edmundo Bal, the party leader has placed all her hopes on the deputy mayor in the face of that double appointment with the polls.
The task is not easy because Ciudadanos left the 26 deputies that Aguado had achieved in 2019 in the regional Assembly on May 4 and, although he maintains a certain quota of municipal power, the polls do not point to anything good for the party in the capital. The possibility that they will also disappear in the City Hall flies over the headquarters on Calle Alcalá. So Villacís, once she has accepted Arrimadas’s order to be the coordinator of the party in Madrid, has to roll up her sleeves to see what she can do to overcome the terrible situation from which they are starting and now several leaders blame their predecessor. , due to the bad relations he had with the PP and especially with the regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, forgetting that the motion of censure in Murcia was the one that triggered the electoral advance in Madrid. And that is Villacís.
For now, he has surrounded himself with people he trusts and has appointed Silvia Sáez to his team as Secretary of Institutional Action; Francisco Rosillo, as Secretary of Communication; and to Miguel Ángel Lezcano, as Head of Organization. The remaining posts will be left for September with the start of the new political course. Saez, considered Villacís’ right arm in the City Council, where she works as an advisor to the group, has been commissioned to seal the pacts that Ciudadanos closed in 2019 with other parties -mainly with the PP although they also maintain a few with the PSOE-, and “energize” municipal groups.
Changes of parts and first tensions
Both she and Lezcano, who was one of the founders of the party in Madrid and has replaced César Zafra, are taking charge of making changes to some spokespersons. One of those affected has been the spokesman and vice mayor of Alcobendas, Miguel Ángel Arranz, who was called to replace the current mayor of the PSOE, Rafael Sánchez Acera, by virtue of the pact signed between both parties at the beginning of the legislature. to alternate in power. But Villacís, in collusion with the socialists, has decided that the one who aspires to that position is Aitor Retolaza, fourth deputy mayor and councilor for Citizen Security, which has roused Arranz who has challenged the party and has written in his account of Twitter who will be presented to show the hand cane.
Another of those affected by the changes was Bernardo González, the spokesperson for Rivas Vaciamadrid until June, who was replaced by Jorge Badorrey. González considers his dismissal unjustified and withdrew as an affiliate of Ciudadanos in July, but remains in the group as “independent.” Since then, he assures that he is being mobbed and has reported it to the Civil Guard and later also before the Arganda court.
The mayor, who lives in Coslada, assures this writing that behind his dismissal are Lezcano, who in addition to being now responsible for Organization is the party spokesman in Alcalá de Henares, and Silvia Sáez herself. As he explains, in 2019 the formation asked him to top the list of Rivas since he is closely linked to that municipality in which his son resides. Throughout his tenure he has had several scuffles with Lezcano for which he now says that he “is passing on the pending bills.” “Sáez, I did not know anything, it was the decision of my dismissal as spokesman,” he says.
The Rivas councilor also does not understand why some now blame Aguado for this situation: “Ignacio is not at fault for what has happened in Madrid, it has been the bad decisions and mistakes made at the national level that they have gotten us into this without eating or drinking it, “he says, and points out as one of those” errors “the lack of” internal communication “, such as the fact of not knowing that the motion of censure was going to be presented in Murcia” that he caught us all off the hook. ” Now he thinks that it only affected Madrid because if there had been more elections on those dates “the party would have fallen like a house of cards.” As he warns, the new regional management “is going to clean up”, little by little, of all the positions of trust appointed by Aguado.
According to the party sources’ account to this writing, one of the things that Villacís wants is that César Zafra, who was Aguado’s number two and after the electoral debacle also left all his positions, resign “voluntarily” from the position of member in the National Executive to be filled by someone from his new team. Zafra has been very critical of the current leadership of the party which he called “incompetent” blaming her for the overwhelming electoral defeat, as he made clear in an internal party meeting published by ESdiario.
The one who has managed to stay on the Villacís team is the former president of the regional Assembly, Juan Trinidad, whom the deputy mayor of Madrid has decided to place as an advisor as he is a person who knows well the institutional functioning.
The new regional communication secretary, Fran Rosillo, rejects the criticisms against the positions of trust appointed by Villacís in the current Autonomous Committee of Madrid and assures that they respond “to values, meritocracy, professional trajectory and capacity for dialogue with positions and affiliates.” The deputy mayor of Madrid herself said in public statements that the new positions would be “very specialized”, almost technocratic, in her words.
As Rosillo transferred to this newsroom, along the same lines, “it is about profiles with vocation, involvement and above all technical knowledge for the tasks entrusted to them.” “In my case,” he adds, “I think it is obvious that Begoña is looking for a professional with experience in the field, which provides, above all, tremendous coherence. Communication is an important task in politics, it is not understood that whoever leads it does not have professional trajectory. That is the biggest change that I observe in this new stage, that technical profiles are being sought, those who can contribute the most with knowledge and experience, something that as we know unfortunately is unusual in Spanish politics “.
More harmony than confrontation with the PP
Villacís’s version of the environment is that they want “everyone to feel represented” so as not to further upset the critics. The deputy mayor seeks to implement throughout the region the “Madrid City Council model”, where conflicts with the PP of José Luis Martínez-Almeida have been resolved with sportsmanship. At least doors out. “We are going to ask them for loyalty, the same that we offer, both to the PP and the PSOE,” the new leader of Ciudadanos in Madrid publicly stated, whose tensions with Aguado were evidenced on several occasions in the past. To justify their differences when it comes to addressing the relationship between the PP and the PSOE – more in terms of harmony than confrontation – the deputy mayor stated: “Local politics is going in other directions.”
The intention of Villacís is to vindicate his own management before the “subalternity” generated by the coalition governments. Alcobendas is a golden opportunity, but already a storm threatens before the new mayor takes the baton of command.
Citizens rule alone in only three Madrid municipalities (Valdemoro –where the mayor is under the scrutiny of justice–; La Acebeda and Villarejo de Salvanés). In the rest of the localities where they came to power in 2019, they have agreements with the PP (15), with the PSOE (8) or with independent parties (5).