Tuesday, March 28

Casado seeks a way out of the internal war between the pressures of the barons and the street

The president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, meets this Monday with his Management Committee, the leadership of the conservative formation that brings together the leaders of his highest confidence. The meeting will try to find a way out of the deep internal war opened last Wednesday as a result of the first leaks about the alleged espionage of his team to the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and her alleged corruption by the commissions charged by his brother for mediating in favor of awards made by the Madrid Government.

The pressure of the barons and Feijóo’s step forward to avoid the schism force Casado to bow to Ayuso

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The meeting comes after a very tough weekend for the leader of the main opposition party. In addition to the pressure from the main barons to tackle this unprecedented crisis as soon as possible, there have been mobilizations on the part of his electorate to demand his resignation, a position that is also shared by some of the media close to the right, such as the ABCwhich this Sunday published a forceful editorial calling for his departure.

The powers of the body closest to the leader of the PP are, in reality, limited. According to statutesthe Steering Committee is solely responsible for “promoting the political activity of the party”, developing “the management and coordination tasks of the areas, departments and territorial organizations”, ensuring “the adequate development of the activities” of the PP and ” submit proposals to the National Executive Committee or the National Board of Directors”, which are the main executive bodies of the Casado formation.

In order to convene an Extraordinary Congress like the one that some of the barons with more internal weight are trying to force, such as the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the regulations require the holding of the Board of Directors, which is made up of some 200 people among members of the management, deputies, senators, regional leaders and mayors of the main cities, among other positions. “In cases of exceptional urgency”, such as the one that could be caused by the channel opening that the party is experiencing at the moment, the statutes establish that the congress can be convened “with only thirty days in advance” provided that it is supported by two thirds of the members of the Board of Directors.

The chronology of a fateful weekend

Genoa 13 tries to avoid that congress that different PP leaders already see as unavoidable, because it could mean Casado’s replacement at the head of the party, three and a half years after his arrival at the Presidency of the popular. But the pressure continues to grow for the leader of the PP to adopt forceful decisions, such as the dismissal of his right-hand man, the general secretary of the party, Teodoro García Egea, whom many within the party blame for the war he has opened in channel to the conservative force.

Saturday was a fateful day for Casado. First it was known that on Friday, already at night, he held a meeting with Ayuso in Genoa 13 just a few hours after accusing her, during an interview in the cope, of “corrupt practices” and possible “influence peddling”. All for the commission that the brother of the Madrid president took in the award of a purchase of masks in April 2020, at the worst moment of the pandemic, by the Ministry of Health of his government.

The leader of the PP said in that interview that the commission amounted to almost 300,000 euros and made the following reflection: “The question is whether it is understandable that on April 1, when 700 people died in Spain, you can contract with your sister and receive 286,000 euros of profit for selling masks ”.

Minutes later, however, Ayuso herself issued a statement in which she assured that her brother’s commission for the hand-picked contract from his Government to Priviet Sportive, owned by a friend of the president, amounted to 55,850 euros plus VAT (67,785 euros). “The invoice to Priviet Sportive is not a commission for obtaining the contract from the Administration, but the collection of the steps taken to obtain the material in China and its transfer to Madrid, which is different,” she pointed out. And she added: “It is a consideration for her work, not a commission for intermediation,” says the Madrid president. Ayuso also admitted that there were three other payments from the company to her brother, but she did not want to detail them.

Already on Saturday, hours after the secret meeting between the two leaders in Genoa 13, the Madrid president’s team assured that this meeting had been “unsuccessful”. However, the same direction of Casado that on Friday made the aforementioned very serious accusations against Ayuso, decided by surprise to falsely close the information file opened against the Madrid leader only two days earlier, on Thursday. “The statement made public [por el equipo de Ayuso] providing the required information on emergency contracting during the pandemic, it will be incorporated into the information file opened by the PP to conclude it satisfactorily,” said sources from the PP’s national leadership.

“With Ayuso we won and with Casado we screwed up”

This decision did not stop the anger on the part of the conservative electorate with the Casado team. This Sunday, several thousand people – more than 3,000, according to the Government Delegation in the capital – gathered on Génova Street in Madrid and its surroundings, at the gates of the PP’s national headquarters, to show their support for Ayuso , despite the commissions his government paid his own brother. These popular sympathizers thus positioned themselves with the Madrid leader in the internal war that has split the conservative formation in two, and openly called for Casado’s resignation.

The concentration – which was reproduced in different Spanish cities – had been called through social networks last Thursday, after the alleged case of corruption linked to Ayuso’s brother and the alleged espionage launched by Génova 13 to investigate the Madrid leader. During the protest, shouts were heard such as “Married traitor, Ayuso is the best”, and chants with the name of the president, “Isabel, Isabel”, and “Married resignation” were alternated. On a banner the message was clear: “With Ayuso we won and with Casado we screwed up”.

García Egea, was, along with Casado, the target of all criticism. “He has to resign”, agreed with more or less harsh formulas all the people with whom this newspaper spoke. Some words that supported songs like “Teodoro, Casado, you are the past”, “Egea resignation” or “Egea, al Mar Menor”. However, the leader of the PP tries to keep his ‘number two’ in office, who paradoxically is the main organic person in charge of maintaining the internal cohesion of the party, although many leaders, including some of the main barons, blame him directly for being responsible for breaking that unit. No territorial leader came out this Sunday to criticize that concentration.

In this context, Casado faces one of the most complex weeks since he took office, in July 2018. The internal war of the PP will mark all his steps and will predictably blur again the work of opposition to the Government both in Parliament – On Wednesday, the leader of the PP had planned to ask the President of the Government in the usual session of control of the Executive in Congress – as in each of the scheduled acts. To all this will be added the steps that are taken in justice as a result of the complaints presented by Más Madrid, PSOE and United We Can before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office both for the finger contracts granted by the Community of Madrid to companies linked to the family of Ayuso, as for the alleged espionage on the president concocted by the national leadership of the PP.