Wednesday, August 17

Kalends of July in Valencian politics

The month of July begins with a new tenant at the Palau dels Català de Valeriola, headquarters of the vice-presidency of the Generalitat Valenciana. Aitana Mas succeeds Mónica Oltra after the traumatic resignation of the leader of Compromís, having been charged in the judicial investigation into the management of her team from the Ministry of Equality and Inclusive Policies in the case of abuse of a minor under the guardianship of which her ex-husband was sentenced.

The new vice president is a young politician, an engineer by training, with some management experience and as much in tune as possible with Oltra. Her challenge is to seal as much as possible the gap in the leadership of the Botanical Pact that this crisis has opened. And to function as a benchmark for Compromís in the Valencian tripartite without seeming like a substitute for its predecessor. She won’t have it easy.

The episode of the resignation of Oltra has finished breaking the relations, already deteriorated previously, with the leader of the socialists and president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig. It was very significant that they did not coincide, one and the other, in the inauguration of Mas, which Oltra did not attend, nor in the transfer of the portfolio, which Puig did not attend. The president pressed to force Oltra’s resignation when he tried to resist after his accusation, but he did not get to speak, much less sit face to face, to face the situation with his still vice president and leader of his main partner in the Valencian Government. And although Puig and his ministers are undone these days in public in praise of the former vice president and defend her in the Corts Valencianes against criticism from the right, the scope that this rupture may have in the medium and long term in the Valencian left It is impossible to predict right now.

Among other things, it will depend on how the judicial vicissitudes that Mónica Oltra must go through in the coming months end. Some vicissitudes that leave it in dry dock indefinitely, with the next regional elections a year away. Of the potential impact of Oltra’s fall from the electoral poster in the next elections to the Corts Valencianes, some anecdotes that the resigned vice president has starred in the few days after her departure can give an idea. In the LGTBI Pride parade, held on Saturday June 25 in Valencia, many participants approached him with hugs, photos, applause and greetings. On Friday night, June 30, hours after the transfer of office to her successor, the leader of Compromís received a standing ovation from most of the spectators when the public realized that she was entering her seat in the Plaza de Toros to attend a concert by Joan Manuel Serrat.

They are not habitual reactions before a public position fallen in disgrace. Because Oltra’s leadership over a part of Valencian society has unusual power. And on the other hand, instinct will lead Puig and the Socialists to try to convey the feeling that things are going smoothly, now that she is no longer the conflictive leader of the Valencianists in the regional government. An attitude that probably leaves Unides Podem, the third partner of the Botanical Pact formula, indifferent. But if the stage of Mas translates into a feeling that Compromís has mutated into something similar to a comparsa role, the Valencian leftists can already go packing their bags. The new vice president knows that she cannot postpone her opportunity to reestablish the rules of the game and rebuild the political space of Compromís so that she can add, from her political autonomy, the formation of progressive majorities. That is why, before arriving, she already warned that “if there is no codecision, there is no coalition government.” It won’t be easy, no.