Monday, May 23

The splits add to the trickle of casualties of Ciudadanos


Ciudadanos does not stop suffering casualties among its elected officials and for a few months, in addition, it has been seeing how some of its former members promote new parties and platforms with an eye toward competing in the next elections, mainly municipal elections. The bloodletting of defections began with the resignation of Albert Rivera at the end of 2019, after leaving Ciudadanos with only 10 seats in Congress, and intensified with the hostile takeover bid undertaken by the PP under the direction of Pablo Casado. The list of those who have left the formation upon envisioning the black electoral panorama that awaits them is growing larger every day and those who cannot find accommodation in other parties have begun to create small divisions.

The latest project that has been made publicly known has been ‘Winning La Rioja’, a platform that the former member of the Board of Directors of Citizens in that region, Enrique Echazarra, has been forging for months, who was purged by the old leadership of the party together to other colleagues for denouncing internal corruption. Along with Echazarra in this political adventure is the parliamentary spokesman for Podemos, Germán Cantabrana, who was prevented by the purple formation from running for the primaries for the 2019 regional elections, and was also expelled, although he later won the trial that took place after his lawsuit.

Both lead this platform in the image and likeness of initiatives such as ‘Soria Ya’ or ‘Teruel Exists’, in the heat of the rise of the ‘Empty Spain’ movements. In the presentation of the project, both praised that these two platforms “flee from patronage, voting discipline and internal power quotas.” In addition, they explained that their intention is “to work on a new and different option. An open, participatory and transversal platform that analyzes the reason for this distancing of the people from the classic parties”.

At the moment they are not very clear if they will present themselves to the municipal or regional ones since for now they only have a small group of followers of their cause. But they encourage people from La Rioja “of all ideologies that respect Human Rights and La Rioja as a territory” to join them. “In Ganar La Rioja everyone will have a voice, they will be heard”, they promise.

Barcelona pel Canvi becomes Valents

At the end of December last year, in Catalonia, Arrimadas saw the official birth of Valents (Brave), the name with which Barcelona has been renamed pel Canvi, the platform promoted in the last municipal elections by Manuel Valls (and ‘sponsored’ by Albert Rivera, with whom he ended up breaking up when Valls decided to support the investiture of Ada Colau as mayor) and which the former French prime minister also abandoned shortly after. Valents has been chaired since then by Eva Parera, who was number 4 on her list, and who since the last regional elections of 14F has been a deputy for the PP in the Parliament of Catalonia.

Participating in this new project are Jordi Soler and Jean Castel, who in those regional ones were heads of the Ciudadanos list in Lleida and Girona, respectively, as well as several councilors from the Barcelona City Council, such as Òscar Benítez and Marilén Barceló, also formerly of Ciudadano; and some district councilors from Barcelona pel Canvi in ​​the Catalan capital. In the statement that they made public for their presentation, they explained that their objective is “to put an end to the decisive power of the nationalist parties in the governance of Spain”, advocating “for the unity of all the constitutionalist forces”.

During the presentation of the new Local Board of Barcelona, ​​the leaders of Valents assured that another of its goals is to “end populism in the city and offer a political alternative that stops the decline of the city of Barcelona, ​​the responsibility of the current populist rulers and the faithful support of the separatists.” The scope of the party will be exclusively Catalan, although its promoters claim to have as a reference the Union of the Navarrese People (UPN) and the Christian Democrats and conservatives of the Bavarian CSU.

Other projects have fallen into oblivion, which emerged after the debacle of the 2019 elections. Like the one that was presented in Andalusia under the name ‘Constitutionalists’, launched by former militants and ex-charges of Ciudadanos. According to El Plural, this formation came to formalize a provincial address in Malaga and another in Cordoba. Its main supporter was the former councilor of Torremolinos, Ángeles Vergara, and Óscar Campos, former councilor in the municipality of Rincón de la Victoria.

According to this newspaper, several members of ‘Constitutionalists’ were forming delegations in different municipalities of Catalonia where they even “had maintained contacts and several meetings with Manuel Valls’ entourage and with the former French president himself.”

Reviewing recent years, one can also verify the proliferation of parties that has emerged in the right-wing political spectrum, where some former Citizen positions have also landed. One of them is Alianza Cívica, a young formation born during the confinement, which is nourished by a militancy for the most part without a political past. However, some former members of the UPyD and Albert Rivera’s party have found shelter there, such as Gonzalo Sichar, who was a provincial deputy of the Diputación de Málaga, and a councilor in the capital.

Despite having opened the doors to some former leaders of other parties, the president of Alianza Cívica, Herennia Trillo, has always refused to pigeonhole her formation “on the right, the left or in the center”, preferring instead to define it as a project ” pragmatic and transversal”, without a vocation for “indoctrination”. Her party was the one that denounced Vox before the Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Accounts for alleged irregularities in its accounting.

The Renovators ask for an extraordinary Assembly to kick Arrimadas

The formation led by Arrimadas has also seen a critical current grow internally, also born in Catalonia and promoted by former deputies of the Parliament after the failure they reaped in the old fiefdom of Inés Arrimadas, where they went from 36 to just six regional deputies. These so-called Renovadores Cs have not stopped asking for the resignation of the leader by land, sea and air, whom they blame for the successive electoral disasters they have reaped and for an erratic strategy plagued by “lurches” since she took the reins of the party .

A few days ago, after the new crash in Castilla y León, where they have only retained one attorney out of the 12 they had, these critics – who assure that the Platform is growing more and more – sent another letter to Arrimadas to demand that he leave and convene an extraordinary Assembly, for which they are already collecting signatures, in order to “return the illusion to the militancy” and renew a project that they continue to consider necessary. “Under your presidency and with the current leadership, Ciudadanos has become an increasingly irrelevant party in Spanish society and politics,” they reproach him in the letter.

The last defections were known on March 16. A large group of militants and former public and organic officials from Catalonia announced in unison that they were leaving the party “very sorry.” In a statement, they announced their march of Ciudadanos to which they joined -they explain- “in 2006, disenchanted with bipartisanship.” “Citizens was a project that defended values ​​such as freedom in all corners of Spain, union, democratic regeneration and honesty; a fresh project, which exuded novelty, enthusiasm and a different way of doing politics”. “We have achieved great achievements both in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain. We got the respect and trust of millions of people who voted for us”, they continue, to regret later that after Rivera’s resignation “those who have been leading our party have not known how to live up to the internal and external standards that this responsibility requires before the continued failures of each and every one of the elections”. Among the causes of his dismissal they also cite “the embarrassing spectacle of the motion of censure in Murcia.”

Among the signatories of the statement are María Francisca Valle, who was a deputy of the Parliament of Catalonia between 2016 and 2020; Miguel-Ángel Ibáñez former president of the Citizens Group in the Barcelona Provincial Council from 2015 to 2019 and councilor in the Gavá City Council since 2007; Fausto Ramírez, member of the Ciudadanos Executive Committee in 2009; and Sergio Atalaya, councilor of Blanes since 2015, charged that he renewed in the last elections of 2019.





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