Saturday, May 28

PP and Vox in Murcia: from a “null relationship” to the prospect of forming a coalition government

In the midst of the isolation that exists between the PP and official Vox in the Region of Murcia, a brief parenthesis was opened on February 16, during the visit of Santiago Abascal and Macarena Olona to the demonstration of the field in the Murcian capital. Abascal, accompanied by the president of Vox in Murcia and spokesman for the party in the city council of the capital, José Ángel Antelo, called the Murcian president at that time, the popular Fernando López Miras, and blurted out, paraphrasing himself: “Here I am , with your future president”, in reference to Antelo, according to sources close to the far-right formation. The leader of Vox had declared days ago in Valladolid that his candidate for the Presidency of the Junta de Castilla y León, Juan García-Gallardo, was he was “putting a face” on him as vice president of the regional government.

That phone call has been the only exchange between the two parties in recent months. The relations between both formations are “null” in the Region, confirm those same sources. “They have betrayed us many times: they have backed down from supporting different legislative proposals in the Regional Assembly, but the last straw was that after the PSOE and Ciudadanos motion of censure against the regional government, we agreed to call elections and, instead , a new Government was formed with the turncoats of each other”, they say in reference to the recomposition of the Murcian Government with the incorporation of turncoats from Ciudadanos and one of the so-called ‘wayward’ from Vox, Mabel Campuzano, to the Education portfolio and Culture, who recently lost Culture in the fray with his peers. Despite the fact that justice has given the reason to the three dissidents of the far-right formation to rejoin their ranks, Antelo has appealed the judicial decision and has defined them as “López Miras lackeys” Y “rats”. On the other hand, from the Presidency of the Popular Government they deny that “at no time” was this “electoral scenario” considered.

Abascal and Ortega Smith, in Murcia five days apart

Abascal himself stood at the door of the cathedral of the Murcian capital one day after the motion of censure and gave a rally in which he asked for the calling of elections. Five days later, he was followed by the secretary general of the far-right formation, Javier Ortega Smith, who repeated the same message. Along with Antelo, he paraded with a caravan of vehicles that toured the Gran Vía, the main artery of the city. “The PP, even knowing in advance the plans of the motion, has not had the generosity and patriotism to call elections and return the voice and the vote to Murcia,” was the message launched by the public address system, alternating with the anthem of Spain .

And although the message of those of Abascal was clear and concise, it fell in a moment. Not so the mobilization capacity of Vox in the streets, which has been rehearsing during the two years of the pandemic -for example, its related union, Solidaridad, has been giving away lemons to passers-by in the Murcian districts from the stalls they set up, among other actions, such as the caravans of vehicles – and that have reached the top with the recent show of force of the carriers’ strike in mid-March.

In the case of the Region, López Miras went on March 25 to the surroundings of the Nueva Condomina shopping center in the capital to support the demands of the truckers, but according to sources close to Vox, Antelo had arrived before the regional leader and had been received with greater enthusiasm by the workers. Vox was also the only political formation that has maintained its justification for the violent assault on the Plenary of Lorca by some ranchers that, initially, was also supported by the PP.

The “province” with the most Vox militants by number of inhabitants

But Vox’s message had already managed to penetrate transversally in the Region of Murcia before the demonstrations of the field and the carriers; A good example of this were the results they obtained in the last general elections held in November 2019, in which they were crowned the first political force with 28% of the votes. The Region was the only autonomous community in Spain in which the radical right formation managed to be the most voted party.

“Murcia is the province where we have the largest number of militants per number of inhabitants: we have 5,009,” say sources close to those of Abascal. For this reason, they distrust the results of the last regional winter barometer of the Murcian Center for Public Opinion Studies (CEMOP) published on March 21, according to which the Popular Party would rise from its current 16 seats to 19, but I would need Vox to have an absolute majority. The latter would double the number of deputies in the Regional Assembly and would go from four to eight, according to the CEMOP, linked to the University of Murcia (UMU).

In Murcian Vox they believe that a surprise would be possible to the PP, which has been governing the Region for 27 years, although they admit “not having their own regional surveys”, beyond the electopanels provided weekly by electomania, in which the Region appears mostly painted green. The co-director of the CEMOP, Juan José García Escribano, for his part, does not give “credibility” to these surveys because they lack a “technical file”, although from the political formation they affirm that they were the ones that came closest to the results of the elections for the Junta de Castilla y León. If this scenario were to occur, Vox Murcia believes that the PP could look towards the PSOE and propose a “cordon sanitaire” for fear of falling into “irrelevance”.

A match without squares

Antelo, “clearly Abascal’s man in Murcia”, has expressed his agreement with the decision of the national leadership of end the party primaries and that the members of the provincial committees be elected by the National Executive Committee. With the exception of Antelo, no other figure from the radical right-wing party has been projected at the regional level after three of the four deputies that Vox has in the Regional Assembly were expelled from the formation. “Now they are trying to find pictures. They are exceeding expectations.”

With the arrival of Alberto Núñez Feijóo to the national leadership of the PP, the projection of the mayor of Archena, Patricia Fernández, called ‘La Ayuso Murciana’, as a possible adversary of López Miras in the regional primaries of the conservative party in the Region, which still lack a date and they haven’t even been called by the National Board of Directors. The two factions of the PP in the Region attribute the support of Feijóo, who has not commented on the matter.

What the new popular leader did say during the meeting he had with the popular militants on March 11 at the Teatro Circo de Murcia is that the young people who “come to politics to learn”, accompanied by a López Miras on stage who came to power at the age of 33 following the resignation of former Murcian president Pedro Antonio Sánchez. Feijóo also advocated that the most voted list governs – in the case of the Region of Murcia it is the Socialist Party – and explicitly praised former president Ramón Luis Valcárcel, for “getting ten more points” in the victories obtained in their respective communities while the Murcian governed the Region for 19 years with five absolute majorities.