Thursday, July 7

Ayuso begins his assault on Telemadrid


In the new –and short– legislature that Isabel Díaz Ayuso faces at the head of the Community of Madrid, the Madrid president had a clear objective: to control Telemadrid. Less than a month after taking office after the 4M elections, Ayuso will complete a plan that began to hatch since she assured – only a few months after being sworn in for the first time in 2019 – that she was the only president who “had a television that is critical “. The majority of PP and Vox in the Madrid Assembly will give the green light this Thursday to the reform of the Public Radio Television law whose main objective is to overthrow the current leadership of the chain and take control of the entity.

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It will be the first law of the new Ayuso era to be approved in the regional Parliament. It was presented three weeks ago by the Popular Party and as planned – they enjoy the majority alone in the Assembly Table – it will arrive at the first plenary session of the legislature, scheduled for July 8. To avoid paperwork, the popular ones presented the norm by single reading, which has allowed them to skip its presentation in committee and the opposition’s amendments. The current director of the entity, José Pablo López, will foreseeably leave Telemadrid next Monday, as confirmed by PP sources.

To overthrow the current leadership of the public entity is the main objective of the reform promoted by Ayuso, judging by its wording. The proposed law establishes the limitation of the mandate to four years, compared to the current six, so the change of López will be imminent since that term has already been fulfilled. In addition, the text presented by the PP allows the appointment of a new direction temporarily with the absolute majority of PP and Vox, until there is consensus among the House groups to elect a new one. If that agreement is never reached, the leadership appointed by the right would continue, something similar to what happens with the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary or the Ombudsman, which Pablo Casado’s party continues to block in the Congress of Deputies.

The rule registered by the PP also introduces another modification for the election of the Board of Directors of the entity. Until now, he was elected by the Madrid Assembly and by professionals in the sector. The latter chose five of the nine that compose it. With the reform presented by the PP, the election of the council will remain in the hands exclusively of the parliamentary groups, for which PP and Vox add a large majority with 78 of the 136 deputies that make up the parliamentary arch. The control of the right here will also be absolute.

Vox is the other piece that will allow the PP to take control of Telemadrid, as happened during the Esperanza Aguirre governments. The spokesperson for the far-right formation, Rocío Monasterio, assured a few days ago that she will not give her favorable vote to the modification of the Madrid Radio Television Law (RTVM) proposed by the popular, but the reality is that Ayuso only needs their abstention to move forward with the rule since it has more seats than the three left together -65 compared to 58-.

Monastery defended that the new law “does not comply with anything” of what its training requires for the public chain and assured that this proposal will not allow the objectives of being a “neutral and austere” chain to be met. Despite recognizing that the intention of the popular is to control public television and their complaint that no one has called them to negotiate the rule, in the PP there is no doubt that the formation of Santiago Abascal will abstain this Thursday and allow his approval by simple majority.

The reform of the law supposes an amendment to the totality to one of the star projects of the previous government of Cristina Cifuentes. Then, PP and Ciudadanos – the latter in the opposition – promoted a rule to depoliticize the entity. One of the people in charge of defending the project in the PP was Díaz Ayuso herself. “I do not consider that it has to be the public who controls the public, because in the end it becomes a perverse circle of unnecessary spending and, of course, all far from the control of information,” said the regional president in 2013, even before the arrival of Cifuentes.

Already when the regional government wanted to promote the law, Ayuso reaffirmed: “In the case of Telemadrid, over the years and the various governments, mistakes have been made and successes have been made,” he lamented in December 2015. Five and a half years later, the Madrid president will regain control of the chain, as did her predecessor Esperanza Aguirre. More Madrid has already announced that it will ask the central government to present an appeal to the Constitutional Court against this reform, which will involve the replacement of the current CEO, José Pablo López.



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