Pablo Casado announced in June a political convention to relaunch his project at the head of the PP. Among his intentions was to “broaden” the party’s political and social base. “From our left and from our right, around a reasonable project focused on what Spain needs,” said the president of the PP at the time. But that original idea has been tarnished. The exporter of Citizens Juan Carlos Girauta; the founder of Vox, Alejo Vidal-Quadras; and the former general secretary of CCOO José María Fidalgo represent all the incorporation that Casado’s have achieved for the event, which will have its closing in Valencia on the weekend of October 2 and 3. The international presence will not be very prominent either and not even the former presidents Aznar and Rajoy will overshadow Casado in the closing ceremony of the event, in the Valencian bullring. A kind of baptism to which all the leaders of the PP submit.
Casado stages a “more transversal” PP with specific tables on “feminism” or “identities” in its National Convention
Vidal-Quadras and Girauta, in fact, were already from the PP in the past. The former became leader of the party in Catalonia, when he preferred to be called “Aleix”, before breaking with the state leadership and founding Vox. In 2019, already outside the leadership of the far-right party, he assured that if Casado returned “to the authentic PP”, he would not “rule out a convergence with Vox.”
Girauta was a militant and candidate of the PP in Catalonia, without achieving representation, after going through the PSC and before joining Ciudadanos. He will be the sole representative of the executive commanded by Albert Rivera. For weeks it has been speculated that the former president of Ciudadanos attended the convention, but he will not. Nor who was his number two, José Manuel Villegas.
Sources from the leadership of the PP deny that there has been a formal invitation, and even assure that Rivera was never expected to accompany Casado at the event. The same sources indicate that the relationship with both is “fluid”, but deny the greater. “We do not know who has put this into circulation,” the same sources settled on the possible assistance of the former deputy.
As for Fidalgo, the former leader of the largest union in Spain during the second government of José María Aznar and the first of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has flirted with the political right since his resignation. His name was considered at some point as UPyD candidate, he has participated in multiple events of FAES, the foundation close to the PP chaired by José María Aznar, and in fact accompanied the former president in the presentation of the second volume of his memoirs.
PP sources assure that in the “more than 400” preparatory tables for the convention, intellectuals and people from the progressive sphere have participated, although these sessions were “behind closed doors” and “in private.” Not at the request of the interested parties, but because it is usually done that way.
Beyond ideologies, another of the fiascos for Casado has been the refusal of the four judicial associations to attend the convention. In the middle of the war of the PP with the government parties and their allies for the renewal of the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), blocked for more than 1,000 days, the conservatives tried to score the goal of having the support of the representatives of the judges. Just like reported The country, the four refused.
Aznar and Rajoy, separated and during the week
The convention itself will last a week, with sector tables in different cities each day. The start will be next Monday in Santiago de Compostela, where Pablo Casado will share the stage with Rajoy. The former president of the Government has barely lavished himself in public spaces since the motion of censure that abruptly ended his term, except for some act with the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. Together with his successor they will discuss “progress and employment”.
The other former president of the PP, José María Aznar, will participate in the convention in an event in Seville scheduled for September 30 and where he will talk with the current leader of the party about “institutional strengthening.” Aznar maintains a harsh ideological position that has been heeling to the right more and more and that was in tune with that of Casado when he took over the command of the PP, until in the summer of 2020 there was an attempt at a strategic turn to to center the party, which caused the dismissal of Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo and the anger of Esperanza Aguirre, as she herself revealed in an interview in El Mundo in which she described some of the current leaders of the party as “chiquilicuatres”.
Both have publicly defended Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has starred in a confrontation with Casado at the regional congress of the PP in Madrid and who threatened not to attend the convention. Finally he will go, and will participate on Saturday at a table with other regional presidents. Álvarez de Toledo and Aguirre will not attend. Aznar, who has publicly supported Ayuso’s national presence strategy, will support Casado.
Neither of them will be at the closing of the convention. Neither Girauta or Vidal-Quadras, who will participate next Tuesday in the event scheduled in Valladolid to talk about nationalism.
As for the Madrid president, her tour of the US will prevent her from being in Madrid on Wednesday 29 to attend a conference on “freedom as the center of politics against collectivism and populism” in which, among others, issues will be addressed. as the “liberal feminism”, contrary, according to sources of the leadership of the PP, “to the left”.
The preview of the convention will close in Cartagena (Murcia) on October 1, with a table focused on “equal opportunities in society.”
Reduced international presence
The political convention will also feature the presence of numerous international leaders and ex-presidents, but with a limited flash. The only active European national leader who will attend will be the Austrian Prime Minister, Sebastian Kurz, who arrived at the Chancellery hand in hand with the extreme right of the FPÖ.
Kurz will be the opening act de Casado at the closing of the convention in the bullring of Valencia with the president of the autonomous PP, Carlos Mazón. In the previous days, other old references of the international right will participate in some way in the event. Among others, the current Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner, Margaritis Schinas; the former Secretary General of NATO and former Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen; the President of the EPP, former Prime Minister of Poland and of the European Council, Donald Tusk; the former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy; the former Prime Minister of Portugal and former President of the European Commission José Manuel Durao Barroso or the former Presidents of Mexico and Colombia Felipe Calderón and Andrés Pastrana.
The most striking case is that of Sarkozy, cornered by corruption scandals in France and sentenced to three years in prison last March. From the PP they have justified their presence in that the invitation took place “before” the judicial resolution.
On the side of absences, the one of who that October 3 will already be former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and that of his successor, perhaps at the head of the German Government but surely as leader of the CDU, Armin Laschet. That day, they remember from the PP, the national day of Germany is celebrated, which has prevented adjusting the agendas.
But no other leader of the European right will attend the convention either. Not those who govern in the Eastern European countries, who have aligned themselves in the so-called Visegrad Group and who lead the most extreme positions within the EU. Neither of other countries with more moderate profiles.