To the rhythm of disco music, Juan Manuel Moreno has entered the Federico García Lorca room of the Granada Conference Center this Friday, where the Andalusian PP congress is held, crossed the stage, greeted, and went to greet all the guests from the first row. When he reached Juan Marín, his vice president and regional leader of Ciudadanos, both were fused in a strong hug and the hundreds of popular delegates applauded the moment. It was a message of closing the ranks with his government partner, a message of unity of the coalition after the crisis caused by the controversial audio of the vice president, which has shaken the stability of the Executive and sharpened the drums of the electoral advance. The embrace between Moreno and Marín and the closed applause of the Andalusian PP has a clear sender: the national leadership of the PP.
Marín has participated in a brief act together with the spokesman for the Executive, Elías Bendodo, “his dear friend”, in which there have been no lack of gestures and even jokes to bury the crisis uncovered with the recording in which the vice president described as “stupid to approve the Budget in an election year “. The audio has exposed Marín’s electoral strategy – some say that of Moreno himself – and has dynamited the roadmap to agree on accounts with the opposition.
“My dear friend, Juan Marín.” This is how Bendodo began the event with which the Popular Party and Citizens have wanted to avoid the controversy of recent days and stage the unity that they intend to maintain until the mandate that expires next year is exhausted. An appointment that was not on the congress agenda, which was announced for Saturday, but was brought forward to this Friday. The dialogue between number two and number three of the Board has barely lasted 20 minutes. It was a critical moment in the popular conclave because it was preceded by the controversial audio of Marín, which has outraged many PP deputies, most close to the leadership of Pablo Casado.
An act of unity
Sitting on a chester-style sofa, Juan Marín and Elías Bendodo have exchanged mutual praise for their management as government partners in the Junta de Andalucía. In fact, both have arrived together at the Palacio de Congresos de Granada, the venue chosen by the PP-A to celebrate the regional meeting in which Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla will be re-elected as leader of the Andalusian formation. Alluding to those who said that the coalition between Cs and PP would end at some point, Marín began his intervention by recalling that they have already been three years “in which the government agreement is stable.” “But let the air run, Elías,” he joked. The harmony that both have shown before the hundreds of delegates present was the strong message of the first day of the congress, necessary to cover the crisis that the vice president caused.
The institutional glue ahead of the partisan division, which in the case of Ciudadanos is internal. The stability of the Andalusian Government over internal disputes, PP and Cs, and praise for the coalition, but maintaining the political identity of both formations. Despite the fact that Moreno has flooded the congress with rumors after his interview in the Ideal newspaper of Granada in which he rescues the idea of a joint PP-Cs candidacy, and integrate Marín himself into its ranks. “It is science fiction, but everything can be,” he said.
There was no lack of applause, despite the fact that in the prelude to the event some rumor suggested that some were thinking of getting up from their seats when Marín intervened as a gesture of protest over recent events. The PP-A, which is divided between those who are committed to breaking with the leader of Cs after the leaked recording and those who believe that they should continue until their mandate is exhausted, has decided to close ranks and pretend that nothing has happened.
The atmosphere, with the public in favor of the work, has relaxed Juan Marín to the point of making him remember how the coalition between his party and the popular was forged: “On December 2, 2018, Juanma (Moreno Bonilla) called me to a quarter to one to congratulate me and he told me that we had to sit down to talk because the Andalusians had a chance for a change and we have done so ”. Beside him, Elías Bendodo just nodded.
“Isolate yourself from external noise”
Coincidence or not, the Andalusian Executive’s spokesman has escaped a throat clearing just when Marín has gotten closer to the controversy due to the leak of his audio. At one point, the vice president of the Board has argued that it is “difficult to isolate oneself from external and internal noise.” Some words that have seemed a veiled message against those of his own formation who he accuses of having broadcast his recording.
The talk between the two Andalusian leaders lasted barely a quarter of an hour, in addition to insisting on their good harmony within the regional government, to the point that Elías Bendodo has said that “if someone could look through the peephole of the government councils, I would not know how to differentiate who are the PP and the Citizens ”, Marín has served to force an image of closeness between the two. “Elías Bendodo and I are friends and later colleagues on the Governing Council,” he said.
Regarding the popular councilors, and following that line, Marín has assured that they are teammates “until the next elections arrive in which each one of us will defend our interests.” However, Bendodo has seemed to open the door for the relationship between oranges and popular to be maintained beyond this mandate: “We have consolidated a base of change that has to continue.”
Marín has also sought the complicity in the Minister of Health, Jesús Aguirre, whom he recalled the listeria outbreak that Andalusia experienced in the summer of 2019. “Then we believed that this was the worst that could happen and in March 2020 we We found a pandemic and the world stopped ”. Regarding this argument, the Andalusian vice president has said that, although the pandemic did not stop them because his government continued working, there are things that were stopped and for which he believes they should maintain the coalition beyond 2022.
Before saying goodbye, Juan Marín wished that popular and oranges would be able to “continue consolidating this political project and that the next government of the Junta continues to be that of the PP and Ciudadanos.” A scenario that does not seem completely ruled out after the Andalusian president, Moreno Bonilla, has opened his hand to this possibility in an interview in Ideal. What does not seem so likely, at least for the moment, is that Marín will end up joining the ranks of the Popular Party, given the disintegration of Cs. , Bendodo has dispatched it, marking the line between both formations: “We will be delighted to attend the Citizens’ Congress and wish you the same luck that you have wished us.”
“The elections will arrive when they have to arrive”
After his speech, Juan Marín has attended to journalists to be much more blunt than during his meeting with Bendodo. The vice president recalled that PP and Cs are two independent political formations and that he will continue with the oranges. “I hope that the primaries will soon be in my training and that the candidate will be chosen.” He wants to be the one who leads Ciudadanos en Andalucía again, and for now none of his wayward colleagues has presented an alternative candidacy.
Marín assures that he has not spoken of “confluences or anything” with the popular ones, in reference to the joint candidacy of which Moreno has spoken again this Friday. At the same time, he has taken the opportunity to deny himself in the leaked recording this week by wishing that the regional budgets could be approved before the end of the mandate. “I hope the amendments do not come out. Let them say what they do not agree on. I do not have much confidence, I think we are going to a budget extension” the elections will come when they have to. ”
He has described as “disloyalty” that his audio has been made public and has once again pointed out Fran Hervías – present at the congress as a militant of the PP in Seville – as the main interested in trying to eliminate Cs with this type of maneuver. “I don’t have the slightest doubt.” He also wanted to send a message to the president of his party, Inés Arrimadas, by asking her to regain harmony with the PP at the national level. “It should be part of normality,” he said. And with a prediction that did not seem likely in the last hours, an adventure that they are going to exhaust the mandate. “The elections will arrive when they have to arrive,” he concluded.