Thursday, October 28

The Baltar clan perpetuates its organic power in Ourense with its own rules regardless of Feijóo’s leadership

Only five delegates of the PP of Ourense opted last weekend not to support José Manuel Baltar Blanco. The victory of his candidacy for the provincial presidency of the party thus resulted in 99.2% of the 662 votes cast. But the also president of the Ourense deputation does not seem to be concerned about dissent. That 0.8%, he explained it himself, corresponded to the members of the table, who voted blank to “maintain their independence.” If there was discontent – in July he announced that the delegates summoned were 934 -, this was not manifested in the congress last Sunday. Martin Luther King had a dream, “but the PP of Ourense is about to touch it with his fingers,” Baltar closed his re-election speech.

Baltar territory: motions of censure with defectors and “signings” of independents extend the power of the PP in the province of Ourense

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Nobody expected another result. For three congresses that Baltar Blanco has no internal rival. Only in its premiere, when in 2010 he appeared to take over from his father, José Luis, the Galician –Feijóo– and Spanish –Rajoy– leaders of the PP supported an alternative. It did not prosper, Baltar Blanco inherited and Miguel Jiménez Morán, former mayor of Verín, rests in the Senate. That inaugural victory was the closest, around 60%. Since then, their percentages are always around 100%.

It is true that the four provincial congresses of the popular Galicians have registered levels of adherence to their presidents similar to those of Ourense. In A Coruña, Diego Calvo gathered 96%; in Pontevedra, Alfonso Rueda, 98.1%; and in Lugo Elena Candia, 98.2%. But, in addition to a few tenths, there is another substantial difference. While Feijóo and the Galician leadership control the organization in these three provinces, led by trusted men and women, Baltar Blanco is free. And his interests do not always coincide with those of the Galician president, on whom he imposes a speech and position on the hectic political life of Ourense.

The pact with Jácome

During the campaign prior to the last municipal elections, Feijóo assured that a local government of Pérez Jácome – the candidate of Democracia Ourensana, a bizarre right-wing formation – would be “lethal for the city.” But the numbers did not give. The PSOE was the most voted candidacy, followed by the PP and Jácome, almost tied. Baltar Blanco was about to lose his deputation and only a pact with his former nemesis, Jácome, could solve it. Made. In return, the PP gave him the mayoralty of the city and entered a coalition government. The pact was so contrary to the Galician leadership that the popular candidate, former councilor Jesús Vázquez, appointed directly by Feijóo and confronted by Baltar, refused to join the cabinet.

The mandate of Jácome, as everything predicted, is being convulsed. Last year, in fact, it blew up. A part of his training, Democracia Ourensana, abandoned him, amid serious accusations of corruption. The Baltarist PP seconded them. The third city of Galicia by number of inhabitants entered unknown territory: it was governed by an executive of three people, Jácome and two faithful councilors. Baltar refused to seek a solution with the opposition – made up of the PSdeG, in 2019 the most voted list; BNG and Citizens. The municipal paralysis intensified. Feijóo, protected by his media armor, was not able to withdraw from the Baltarist maneuver.

But Jácome resisted the onslaught, despite the fact that in the meantime Baltar secured his majority in the provincial body thanks to a change of jacket from a former Citizen militant. However, only a few months ago Baltar and Jácome reconciled without the reasons being transcended and the PP returned to the local government. Beyond the citizens who suffered the direct effects of the management of the battle, there was a collateral political victim: Jesús Vázquez. The former Minister of Education that Feijóo had sent to Ourense and in 2015 took over the mayor’s office resigned and left the institutional policy. Once again, the president of the Xunta observed the function without intervening. Ourense is geography prone to the PP, but to a PP that maintains a distance with the direction of Santiago de Compostela. Even more so with that of Madrid.

The municipal power of the popular

And that despite the fact that the one that Baltar Blanco inherited from his father is the only one of the four councils that is not in the hands of PSdeG and BNG. The municipal power of the PP was so bored in 2019 that the councilors in the Jácome executive are its highest level in the so-called seven Galician cities. The mayors of the other six are socialists – A Coruña, Lugo, Ferrol, Santiago and Vigo – and nationalist – that of Pontevedra. To help solve this subordinate position, Baltar committed himself, in the same speech in which he compared his party with the unfulfilled dream of Martin Luther King, to “aspire to the maximum.”

“There are 609 days left and in that appointment the PP will win in all the town councils of the province and in the minor entity of Berán. In addition, we will have an absolute majority in the deputation,” he said. To date, 59 of the 92 town councils of the province govern, the Socialists 23 and the BNG, five. There are four of small parties and one, that of Viana do Bolo, not attached, but a former member of the PSOE who acceded to the post after a vote of no confidence supported by the PP and two socialist defectors.