The absolute majority that PP and Vox add in the Madrid Assembly is already beginning to be noticed in the new Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso and allows us to glimpse what the priorities of this new political marriage will be, now that Ciudadanos has left the equation of rights in the Community of Madrid.
The first law that the popular have registered in the Madrid Chamber – in collusion with the extreme right – will not deal with health, after a year of pandemic that has placed Madrid as the region with the most excess deaths in the country. Neither about education. Neither on dependency and the elderly after the crisis of the residences, which has exposed the seams of the regional network. The first regulation that this Monday the Popular Party has registered in the regional Parliament has been a reform of the law that regulates the Public Radio Television of Madrid. The objective: to gain control of the public entity, after years of criticism for the management of the current leadership that has not complied with the demands of the PP.
The spokesman for the regional government, Enrique Ossorio, also confirmed after the first Governing Council of the cabinet chaired by Ayuso – and practically at the same time that the initiative of the PP to overthrow the leadership of the entity was made public – that the Government is willing to modify the “gender” and LGTBI laws that Vox asked to repeal this Friday during the inauguration debate of Díaz Ayuso, which he supported with his votes. It would, therefore, reform the law on Gender Identity and Expression and Social Equality and Non-Discrimination; and the Integral protection against LGTBIphobia.
“As a law graduate, a person who has been in the Administration for so many years, I think that his writing is not the most fortunate,” said Ossorio at a press conference to justify the reform of these laws after Vox asked to repeal them. And he added: “Those laws on a very good project that came out of the Government of the Community of Madrid in commission received all kinds of amendments. Many of the articles of that law are not really articles of a law, of a norm, they are statements that they have no legislative content “.
Both the change in Telemadrid and the reform of the laws against discrimination of the LGTBI group in the Community of Madrid represent an amendment to the entire previous government of the region chaired by Cristina Cifuentes, also from the PP. Cifuentes along with Ciudadanos, then a partner of the PP from outside the Executive – promoted the legislative changes that brought together a large majority who now want to be charged with popular and far right.
“Actually, I don’t need them, I don’t need to agree with Vox for practically nothing,” Ayuso said this Monday in an interview on Es Radio. “I need four Vox deputies to abstain when taking certain measures.” But in reality both initiatives are based on the requirements of Vox, although more that of the LGTBi laws, than that of Telemadrid, a proposal that the PP has been in the head for a long time to take control of the public entity.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso declared war on Telemadrid from the first day of her mandate in August 2019. A few months after arriving at Puerta del Sol – the seat of the regional government – she declared that she was “the only president” who had “a television that is critical “. He also said that it was no longer “a public service”, a statement that Vox spokesperson in the Assembly, Rocío Monasterio, endorsed this Friday to ask for the “closure” of the chain. Ayuso left Telemadrid out in the broadcast of the investiture and his inauguration this Saturday.
An express reform
The reform of the Telemadrid law has already begun to be processed after being registered by the PP in the Assembly. The intention of the popular is that it be approved in record time by registering the rule with a single reading that shortens all parliamentary terms and leaves no reaction to the opposition: there will be no debate in committee and no amendments may be presented. Ayuso’s objective is to overthrow the current leadership of the public entity with José Pablo López at the helm in less than a month. The proposed law establishes the limitation of the mandate to four years, compared to the current six, which was intended to stop the change of direction every time a government arrived and thus protect its independence.
The general director of the public channel may therefore be dismissed from the day following the approval of the regulation, since he has already fulfilled that term in front of the public entity. The text also allows to appoint a new direction temporarily with the absolute majority of PP and Vox, until there is consensus among the groups of the House to elect a new one. If that consensus never comes, the direction named by the right would continue.
The rule registered by the PP – which has already been negotiated with Vox, according to the regional government, 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 exclusive hands of the parliamentary groups, for which PP and Vox add up 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.
Ossorio justified the proposed law registered by the PP by ensuring that the 2015 law intended “to guarantee plurality and independence”, but that “six years later” they have seen “serious dysfunctionalities and serious rigidities in the procedures.”
Monastery ruled at the last minute of this lynes about the measure to ensure that the PP did not contact them to inform them of it before presenting it. In the investiture debate, the far-right formation included as one of its first demands to continue supporting the government the “closure” of Telemadrid or, failing that, a cut in the budget amounting to 74 million euros a year.
The legal reform assumes that the first premise, the closure of public television, will not occur. The government spokesman also denied that the chain’s spending will be cut. The proposition of the rule only goes along the line of gaining control. Monastery, however, assured that one thing has to be accompanied by the other but refused to comment until it knew the proposal in depth. “Telemadrid must be austere and transparent and not a chiringuito of the political parties. If the proposal that they have made goes along that line it will seem phenomenal to us. If it goes along the line of a brutal control of Telemadrid by the ruling party we will not like it “said the Vox spokeswoman in an interview on Onda Madrid, the public entity’s radio. “If you do not respect neutrality, you have to close it,” he also added.
Criticisms of the opposition
For the spokesperson for Más Madrid, Mónica García, Ayuso’s claim is that “Telemadrid will once again be a propaganda apparatus for the PP” and “divert public funds to friendly televisions.” “Just when the Ayuso government begins to take off it wants to put its hand to avoid criticism, plurality and diversity of opinions,” laments García. Regarding the reform of LGTBI laws, the leader of Más Madrid believes that what must be done is “comply” and not change them. The PSOE spokeswoman in the Madrid Assembly, Hana Jalloul, criticized that the first Proposal of Law that the PP has registered is to reform and “manipulate” Telemadrid. “Informational independence makes him uncomfortable. That is why it is his number one priority,” laments Jalloul.
Despite Ayuso’s criticism, the change in Telemadrid has been noticed in the audiences after years of collapse of viewers. Since the arrival of the new management team, the chain has notably improved its numbers and also its reputation. All this generated great discomfort in the Popular Party. The television of all the Madrilenians that served so many years of propaganda to the Aguirre governments is once again in the crosshairs of the PP to seize its control in the new stage of Ayuso.
For that Ayuso needs Vox. And judging by the interests of both formations, the relationship between the rights in the Madrid Assembly is starting from strength to strength. It will be necessary to see to what extent the PP and also Vox are willing to give in their demands. Unlike the tortuous beginnings between Ayuso and Ciudadanos, potential misunderstandings have been wiped off the map with the new partner. So much so that the far-right formation has also withdrawn its intention to support the investigation commission of the residences to determine what happened to the death of thousands of older people. Ayuso is already looking for a way to return that loyalty.