The president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP), has multiplied his public appearances in recent weeks while the vice president, Francisco Igea (Citizens) continues with the usual, many, and presenting balance sheets of the management of his team. The breaking drums sound in the pact that its two protagonists jokingly called a marriage of convenience, and breaking means bringing the elections forward. From the Popular Party, two possible moments are already being considered, and the moment in which it is announced depends on it. If during this weekend in which the national convention of the PP ends in Valencia, the national leadership agrees that the moment is optimal, Mañueco would make the announcement next Tuesday, October 5. From that moment, in which he would have to dissolve the Cortes, the elections would have to be dated, between days 54 and 60. Thus, November 28 would be an option, just before the long December bridge, or already on 12 of that month, after holidays.
If Mañueco wanted to wait, but not beyond March 11, which is when the PSOE can reassemble another motion of censure, the month of February is being considered. That is what his closest collaborators transmit, who are alert. To such an extent that decision can be precipitated that the president of the PP of Valladolid has suspended a trip to Mexico. Although some attribute it to the crisis generated by signing former citizen Pablo Yáñez, as an advisor, or to the open war that is being unleashed for the candidacy for the City Council, the truth is that the elections fly over and whoever moves will not appear in the photo.
Whether in December or February, the PP is clear: “We must get rid of Igea and Casado (Verónica),” they repeat. Some even acknowledge that they would feel more comfortable in a coalition government with Vox. And with that premise of causing a rupture that frees them from Igea and Casado, the crisis started last September, during the first plenary session of parliament after the summer period.
Knock down the health plan two years later
The president of the Board disavowed the Minister of Health, Citizens, supporting a socialist NLP to withdraw its restructuring plan for Primary Care. In the last two years, Mañueco had not paid attention to this reorganization project, which involves the closure of local clinics and the movement of patients from rural areas to other municipalities to receive medical attention. The president had turned a deaf ear to the complaints of platforms, of mayors of his party and of presidents of deputations, and suddenly the subject interested him. Intervening unexpectedly in Health policy to contradict a counselor who is a primary care doctor, and the vice president of the Board, also a doctor, could only have one objective to push his partner to break the pact that keeps them tied.
Since then, Ciudadanos does not trust the PP and the PP does not trust Ciudadanos. The threats, sometimes veiled and other times obvious, have not stopped happening. Igea has come to remember that if it wanted to, it could file a vote of no confidence. “Do the math,” he urged reporters during an interview. The accounts come out, but the possible is not always probable. A motion of censure has to be signed by 13% of the Chamber, or what is the same, 15 deputies. Ciudadanos, who lost an attorney during the Socialists’ motion, currently has 10 attorneys. The 35 of the PSOE cannot, until a year after their first motion, sign another, since they made the mistake last March of signing en bloc. Thus, the Citizens would have to add the votes of five other attorneys: Podemos has two, the two regionalist parties, Unión del Pueblo Leonés and Por Ávila each have one, and it could be completed with the vote of María Montero, in the past. Deputy for Citizens and now not attached.
Budgets, an alibi
It does not seem that Igea is going to make a move, and leaves the responsibility in Mañueco with the warning that “citizens would not understand an advance at this time.” Meanwhile, Mañueco, trusts everything to “parliamentary stability.” That stability without a majority in the hemicycle continually capsizes. The litmus test is budgets. The government needs a vote from the opposition to move them forward. Last Thursday, the vice president boasted the good progress of his negotiations with Por Ávila, and on Friday, the spokesman for the Popular Parliamentary Group, Raúl de la Hoz, publicly reproached his lack of discretion. It is one more provocation of the PP to Igea. Budgets can be a perfect alibi to justify the electoral advance, if the negotiations get muddled, they will not go ahead.
The early elections or not, will mark the future of Mañueco and Igea, but also that of the socialist leader, Luis Tudanca. If Manueco wins, there will be no gap for Igea, at least as long as he remains in Ciudadanos, a party doomed to disappear. Tudanca could hardly be two years in the opposition. It is true that he won the 2019 regional elections, and that the result was historic for the PSOE of Castilla y León, but he is exposed to being displaced by another candidate. If it were Mañueco who was defeated, he would not have many options to repeat four years later. “Soon we will know,” advance PP sources, “it may be Tuesday, but it is up to the president,” they add.