He has not yet been formally elected national president of the PP, when Alberto Núñez Feijóo has already heard how his partner Isabel Díaz Ayuso gives him homework: “Dear Alberto, thank you for your generosity in taking charge of the party (…) But we have not met here to win a congress, but to win elections”. The Galician has gotten on a moving train that has not stopped speed even after derailing.
In the national congress of the PP that comes to slam the door of Pablo Casado’s stage to immediately open the refoundation that Feijóo champions, no one has named the outgoing former president. Nobody, not even the management report of the outgoing executive, which Cuca Gamarra read, delved into the unprecedented internal tear that the PP has experienced.
The six regional presidents of the party, together on the stage of the plenary hall of Fibes, in Seville, preferred to focus their speeches towards the future, towards what lies ahead for the new PP, tiptoeing over the last chapter of its recent history. Everyone, except the president of Madrid: “This congress is the response to a crisis that should never have existed,” said who has waged a brutal confrontation with the leader of her party, and has won. When he pronounced these words, Casado had not yet entered the plenary. The man from Palencia arrived in Fibes, accompanied by his wife and Pablo Montesinos, when the forum of regional leaders had already begun.
The Madrilenian was the last to intervene. Alfonso Fernández Mañueco had mentioned Casado to thank him for his participation in the electoral campaign of his community, of which he said: “What is going to govern in Castilla y Léon are the values and policies of the PP, let no one doubt it”, dispelling the fears about the influence that Vox will have in its coalition government. A message that was especially appreciated by the Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno, who fears the turbulence of the extreme right with command in the square and the echo they have in the next elections in Andalusia, yet to be called.
Juan Vivas, president of Ceuta, was the most affectionate with the former president of the PP. “Thanks to Casado for giving him to the service of the PP, Spain and Ceuta. We have never lacked their support.” The president of Murcia, Fernando López Miras, one of his last supporters before the rebellion of the barons, was not so explicit, but his plea in favor of the unity of a party in which “no one is left over” it was understood as a wink. “A PP united around a leader and without fissures must come out of this congress. We will only succeed if we have everyone. In this PP no one is left over. They are all more necessary than ever. Everyone”, and he repeated “everyone”, five more times.
United against Sanchez
When picking up the witness, Díaz Ayuso pronounced the word that everyone had avoided: “crisis”. “This congress is the answer to a crisis that should never have existed,” he said, looking askance at the Andalusian president, who had solemnly proclaimed that the congress “is already a success.” The Madrilenian did not name Casado. Nor did his name appear in the press releases released by the national PP, despite the words of affection from some barons. Díaz Ayuso did not avoid mentioning the storm, but he left it there.
It was a lower profile than other times, as if he had taken a step back to leave the leading role to Feijóo. Of course, in his subsequent speech, Ayuso once again faced the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, whom he has chosen as his personal nemesis since his victory in the Madrid elections. “We are the PP, we are not socialist bureaucrats. I try to remember, but I cannot find a government as sectarian as the one we have, there is no government in the West that is supported by a group of communists, coup plotters and philo-terrorists”, he stressed.
Díaz Ayuso was preceded by the longest and most enthusiastic applause in the plenary hall, two decibels higher than the one received by Feijóo. The Madrilenian read the decalogue of principles that 32 years ago, here in Seville, presented by José María Aznar, of whom she sees herself as the direct heir. His attack against the President of the Government, focused on the role of Spain in current geopolitics, seemed almost mimetic to the one pronounced by the former President of the Executive, who intervened by videoconference for having tested positive for Covid-19. “It saddens me that Spain is not one of the main players in the world. Sánchez has made us irrelevant, but Spain is much more than Sánchez and his communist partners. Spain has to be a world reference again”.
The first time that Alberto Núñez Feijóo took the stage he did so as president of Galicia, the next time he was the only candidate for the presidency of the party. The Galician intervened to say goodbye as a territorial baron, the most veteran, and addressed Moreno to “give him” the position of “dean of the regional presidents of the PP”. “Juanma, I hope you live up to my predecessor, the former president of Castilla y León, Juan Vicente Herrera.
The Galician leader has not yet spoken as a candidate for the presidency of the PP and his speech has been a triumphant review of the management of his governments and, incidentally, that of his colleagues. “We have alternative policies to socialism and populism, we have the same discourse for all of Spain, that is the hallmark of the PP and shows that we have a management model,” he said, emphasizing economic policy, key at a time of triggered inflation. “It is possible to lower taxes by balancing public accounts. All the presidents of the PP have done it, we know how to do it”, he said.
The regional presidents have agreed on two main ideas: “unity” and “solvency”. All have closed ranks with Feijóo. The Andalusian president has tried to shake up the stalls, appealing to optimism, with his sights set on the next elections. This congress is going to play a determining role, but not a decisive one, on the date of the elections, which depends exclusively on Moreno. The president of the Board wants to exhaust the legislature and convene in the fall, but in recent days the pressure has increased for him to consider the mandate finalized, dissolve the Andalusian Parliament after Easter and convene in mid-June. “The first milestone, the first flying goal of this PP is the Andalusian elections”, said the spokesman for the Board, Elías Bendodo, chosen by Feijóo to occupy number three in his executive.