Two phone calls have been fundamental in the political career of the president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras: the one that did not pick up Rajoy when he was about to ask him for support for Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and the one that he exchanged with the former general secretary of the PP , also from Murcia, Teodoro García Egea, on the night of March 9, 2021 to deactivate the motion of censure that sought to strike him down as a popular baron and that the socialist and Citizen deputies of the Regional Assembly had just signed.
Thanks to this last conversation and the negotiations that both had with the Cs turncoats -Isabel Franco, Valle Miguélez and Francisco Álvarez- and the Vox dissidents -Mabel Campuzano, Francisco Carrera and Juan José Liarte- the head of the Murcian Executive remained in power and wrested from them the commitment to support the reform of the President’s Law that allowed him to stand again in the 2023 elections, despite being an initiative promoted by the popular themselves in 2014, which would not have allowed him to repeat as a candidate .
What at the time was sold as the result of García Egea’s political astuteness, to the point that Pablo Casado came to celebrate the victory of the ‘no’ to the motion to the Murcian Parliament, has ultimately left López Miras chance of the whims of the turncoat counselors and deputies. For the second time and, in less than two months, the Murcian president saw last week how the stability of his government was put on the ropes by the disagreements between the three unruly Vox, on whom he depends to have a majority. If the tensions between the Minister of Education, Mabel Campuzano, with her colleagues Carrera and Liarte led her to lose the Culture portfolio last February, the head of the Murcian Executive extinguished a new fire on Thursday of the previous week when, after three hours of dismissal, the director of the Regional Library was reinstated when Campuzano threatened to abandon his and go to the Mixed Group.
The ‘Ayuso from Murcia’ who supports Feijóo, a possible adversary
And although López Miras scored a week ago the goal of taking 85 of the 90 Murcian delegates to the extraordinary congress that will be held on April 1 and 2 in Seville to appoint Alberto Núñez Feijóo as the new president of the PP, it was his presumed adversary Patricia Fernández, mayor of the Murcian municipality of Archena and known as ‘the Murcian Ayuso’, who went ahead of the Murcian president on Twitter to request the holding of said congress. López Miras was the last popular baron to withdraw his support from Pablo Casado and Teodoro García Egea during the popular internal crisis.
The regional press has been reporting on the possible candidacy of the mayor of Archena to lead the Popular Party in the Region. “Fernández is supported by both the old and the new guard of the PP”, affirms a source close to the PP regarding the support he has received from former popular leaders such as the former president of the community Ramón Luis Valcárcel or the former mayor of Murcia Miguel Ángel Cámara , but also members of New Generations. The archenera councilor is also endorsed by three consecutive majorities obtained in her municipality, while López Miras has not achieved any victory at the polls since he came to power in 2017: neither in the municipal, regional nor national elections.
Feijóo himself, during the meeting he had with popular militants on March 11 at the Teatro Circo de Murcia, accompanied by López Miras on stage, had no qualms about criticizing young people who “come to politics to learn” , advocating for the most voted list to govern – in the case of the Region of Murcia, it is the Socialist Party – and even mentioning former president Ramón Luis Valcárcel, who governed with absolute majorities for 19 years and “was ten more points away” in the victories obtained in their respective communities: the Region of Murcia and Galicia.
Suspense in the regional barometer
The Murcian PP is evaluating the possibility of not holding the regional congress scheduled for this year so that López Miras does not have to see them face to face with Fernández. “Patricia would not have it easy in a primary case because she would have to face the apparatus, in favor of López Miras. In the end, whoever was pointed out by Madrid would win, ”says a young popular activist. Last Sunday both leaders coincided starring the proclamation of Holy Week in two districts of the Murcian capital, Torreagüera and San Ginés.
López Miras has also faced suspense for the first time as a regional leader in the winter barometer of the Center for Murcian Public Opinion Studies (CEMOP): from 5.5 that it obtained in the spring of 2021 it has gone to 4.6. The results of the research group of the University of Murcia also granted in this last barometer 19 seats to the PP compared to the 16 that it currently has in the Murcian Parliament, while Vox would double the number of deputies compared to the regional ones of 2019 and I would go from four to eight.
The Murcian president is accustomed, on the other hand, to dealing with chance in political life. Not in vain, the former president of the Pedro Antonio Sánchez Region (PAS) handpicked him when his party forced him to resign due to the accusations in the ‘Púnica case’ in April 2017, even though he harbored hopes of regaining the popular leadership in the region. “I cried this morning as much as I had to cry, from now on the tears have to become strength,” López Miras declared the morning that PAS proposed him as candidate to preside over the Autonomous Community. “This is going to continue to be the Government of Pedro Antonio Sánchez,” López Miras stressed at the time, who rose to prominence as the youngest president of an autonomous community at 33 years old.
“Save the chair”
“They had agreed on the return of PAS to power and Fernando accepts the position because he is going to save his chair,” says a popular source critical of the current Murcian president. “Pedro Antonio begins to have problems with the law and from there begins the debacle of the PP in Murcia. We stopped having direction and we already make the policy of the patch”. At that time, López Miras was a deputy in the Regional Assembly and was third on the list of the popular for Lorca. “The issue of integration has never mattered to him, for him the party is four people and the rest are left over. In addition, the autonomous community owes more and more money, has worse policies related to the environment and, something inexplicable, gives the Ministry of Education to a denialist person, ”he adds in reference to Mabel Campuzano, a Vox rebel and current head of Education, who publicly declared that he would not be vaccinated against Covid-19 for being ‘questioning’.
In the 2015 and 2016 elections, Pedro Antonio Sánchez also chose García Egea as head of the PP list for Congress for the Region of Murcia. “Teo and Casado are apprentices of Miras. It is not that Murcia is the replica of what was in Madrid, it is that Madrid was the replica of what is in Murcia”, affirms a former popular leader.
“The transition of Ramón Luis Valcárcel, seen over time, could not have turned out worse,” adds this same source. The former Murcian president won five regional elections in a row between 1995 and 2014 by an absolute majority. In 2011, the last elections in which Valcárcel ran, the PP also won 42 of the 45 municipalities that make up the Region. Currently, the Popular Party governs in 17 of them, while the PSOE does so in 23.
The head of the Murcian Executive is described by another critical voice from the regional PP environment as “an ephemeral figure who has become an aspiring to eternity.” “Feijóo will not want to generate a conflict in one of his baronies from the outset, but if a quality vote is needed, it will not be decided by López Miras,” he adds.