Wednesday, August 4

Félix Bolaños, the quiet man who rises to a key figure in the Council of Ministers


Félix Bolaños (Madrid, 1975) is not a journalist but a lawyer, but he knows more by what he is silent than by what he tells. Married with a son, he is a discreet man with few words with the media who flees from the spotlight as much as from internal fights or Monclovite conspiracies. For a long time – longer than is known – he has been the true shadow of Pedro Sánchez, his confidant, his negotiator within the coalition and with other political forces and a man of his utmost confidence.

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He never hung medals. He never told what he shouldn’t have. He never leaked or intoxicated the press. That was left to others. Specifically, to Ivan Redondo, with whom since they both landed in La Moncloa never had special chemistry. Not surprisingly, one has an extensive curriculum as a propagandist with the pretense of a strategist and the other always thinks politically without forgetting technical details. Although they initially sold that they were a tandem named Oliver and Benji, it was a matter of time that they collided and passed soon.

A lawyer for the Bank of Spain and a member of the Madrilenian Socialist Federation, he was among the first to bet on the current president of the Government in the dog-face primaries that were fought in 2017 by the general secretary of the PSOE. Since then he has lived by and for Sánchez, who appointed him secretary general of the Presidency from his first government. For many, it was more than that.

If you had to look for an equal in previous executives, that would be José Enrique Serrano, who was chief of staff with the presidents Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. In fact, with whoever was his counterpart in La Moncloa he frequently spoke on technical issues because no one like Serrano, a source of authority for any socialist, controls all the cracks in the state structure.

Bolaños is like Serrano, the The quiet man of the Government, a serene and peaceful man like the one played by John Wayne, who on his return to his native Ireland, from where he left with 12 years for the United States, discovered that life was not as idyllic as he expected and everything was unknown to him. However, Bolaños will not find it difficult to get used to the new landscape of the Ministry of the Presidency because he had already assumed, at the request of Sánchez, the role of coordination between the ministries, a competence that de facto corresponded to his predecessor and first vice president, Carmen Calvo.

Calvo’s explosive character and his political differences with other ministers – they were from the PSOE or United We Can – made the president sometimes delegate to Bolaños, who was de facto the true chief of the Cabinet, the negotiation of especially delicate or stranded matters. within the coalition. The last one, the drafting of the Trans Law approved just a week ago after months of heated discussion between the former vice president and the head of Equality, Irene Montero.

“He is the tuner of the Moncloa”, a high government official defined him months ago, who recalls that he was in charge of putting the “music” in the BOE on tricky matters such as the first decree of the state of alarm to confine everyone the country: “It is the one that makes everything that the Council of Ministers approves sounds good and is a precise piece.” In the resistances that in Ferraz quickly arose towards Moncloa after the motion of censure, Bolaños was out of the brawls. “He is a party man and he is respected,” argued a socialist plumber. And quickly it was a good link between the Government and the party. When the war between Redondo and the socialist leadership was no longer a secret, Bolaños made clear his harmony with the deputy secretary general of the PSOE, Adriana Lastra, with whom he has already shared the stage several times in party events.

Beyond the walls of La Moncloa, Bolaños’ face was almost unknown until he successfully took charge of the exhumation process of Franco and previously the negotiation with the family to remove the remains of the dictator from the Valley of the Fallen. It will now be his responsibility to officially defend the Memory Law that this Tuesday goes to the Council of Ministers in the second round.

With the failed “Murcia operation” with which Ciudadanos and the PSOE tried to seize the regional government and the mayor’s office through motions of censure, Redondo tried with little success to endorse the failure of a strategy designed by Ferraz -although the dialogue with the number two from Ciudadanos, Carlos Cuadrado, for the confidence they developed during the negotiations of the state of alarm – and to discredit him through some of his media terminals, but he did not succeed. The confidence the president had in him was indestructible.

Discreet, reserved and meticulous, before the president signed him he had been working for a decade as head of the Division of Labor Legal Advice and Documentation of the Bank of Spain, an institution in which he entered in 2005 after obtaining the only position called for a legal advisor in labor, union and Social Security matters.

Graduated in Law from the Complutense University of Madrid, he has practiced law and in 2001 he began working in the labor department of the Uría Menéndez Abogados law firm. He was also a teacher at the Instituto de Empresa (IE Law School).

In the PSOE he was appointed secretary of the Federal Commission of Ethics and Guarantees in Sánchez’s first term and is the author of the internal rules of the PSOE that were approved in the Federal Committee on February 17, 2017, after the civil war that the Socialists lived in 2016 as a result of the abstention in the investiture of Mariano Rajoy.

From September 2017 to August 2018 he was also secretary of the Pablo Iglesias Foundation, where he landed with José Félix Tezanos and found Alfonso Guerra papers that, out of loyalty to the hard drive of socialism and out of respect for the former vice president of the Government, never saw the light. Today he remains the patron of the foundation. And tomorrow it will be already, with the publication in the BOE of his appointment, the new minister of the Presidency and the right hand of the president, since he will accumulate all the competences that Carmen Calvo had in the vice presidency.



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