Abascal accelerates the finger designation of candidates for 2023 while weighing changes in Madrid

The blow that the unexpected has meant for Vox march of Macarena Olona A few days after taking possession of his seat in the Andalusian Parliament, he is slowly being digested by the leadership of the far-right party led by Santiago Abascal. The candidate for the Junta de Andalucía announced last week that he left his positions and politics "for medical reasons" to return to practice as State Attorney as soon as possible. Although no one has questioned his reasons for leaving, what Olona has caused has been a cataclysm in that autonomy, where Vox had created great expectations, dreaming of even obtaining a new vice-presidency in the Government of Moreno Bonilla as they did little in Castilla y León.

Far from it, Vox was deflated and failed to monetize the disappearance of Ciudadanos. The brand-new ex-deputy for Granada barely rose in support: from 12 seats she went to only 14, but losing more than 400,000 votes in that autonomy compared to the last general elections of 2019. In the party they later blamed the fiasco on the fact that Olona was appointed to head the candidacy at the last minute, with the belief that she was a well-known leader at the national level as she was the general secretary of the parliamentary group in Congress and, in addition, was a deputy for Granada.

To control his campaign, Abascal put his own chief of staff, Ángel López Maraver, deputy for Guadalajara, in charge, who focused the messages on promising that they would close all "the beach bars" if they reached the Government -including Andalusian television- and in alerting the Andalusians that they had to avoid a hypothetical pact between the PP and the PSOE, more in a national key. But they were wrong because although Olona covered a good part of the autonomy and dressed as a flamenco at the Seville Fair while the leader himself dragged many people to his rallies -as they later presumed on the networks-, the campaign did not have the desired effect and the PP overwhelmed them with its absolute majority.

Now the polls start predict an electoral decline that has set off alarms in the headquarters of the extreme right-wing party. Given this situation and despite the fact that there are still ten months left for the double appointment of the municipal and regional elections in spring 2023, Abascal has decided to speed up the times and will begin the process to appoint the candidates in September. This was announced a few days ago by the leader of Vox in an interview on 'Es la Mañana de Federico', on esRadio. He will do it without calling primaries, an internal process that Vox struck down in the face of the trouble that arose between the applicants at a time when the party still did not have a territorial structure. Some of those who tried to obtain the place and did not succeed later filed appeals and denounced the processes, considering that the party leadership had not played fair. A few days ago he met the judicial resolution of one of these cases, precisely in Granada. The Court of First Instance 6 of said province condemned Vox for violating the "fundamental right of democratic participation" of Ignacio Pozo, who was harmed in front of the then acting president and ruling party candidate Manuel Martin. Pozo appeared in the 2020 primaries and could not even attend the final vote.

The idea now is to present himself in all the provincial capitals and large towns to expand his power with candidates who are "solvent" by his standards and who know the terrain well. One of Abascal's objectives is to enter those parliaments in which Vox did not obtain representation in 2019, such as Castilla La Mancha. To occupy that electoral poster, the leader of the far-right formation, according to various sources, is considering the name of the party's general secretary and deputy for Madrid, Javier Ortega Smith. The idea entails not repeating it for the Madrid City Council and instead placing Rocío Monasterio, the current spokesperson for Vox in the Madrid Assembly. The Madrid leader, when asked about this extreme, neither confirms nor denies such a possibility, like Ortega Smith. The two answer, faithful to party discipline, that they will be "where the party believes that we are more useful and we serve Spain better."

But the capital of Spain is the main focus for the extreme right, where they are going to turn. In the City Council, the work of Ortega Smith, who won only four councilors in the previous elections, has been called into question within the party itself. The municipal spokesman for Vox has to combine this position with the seat for Madrid in Congress and that double occupation, as the mayor Martínez-Almeida usually makes him ugly, means that everything he should not be lavished on the Palacio de Cibeles. In addition, his relations with the Madrid councilor, which were initially quite cordial, are now very tense, especially since Vox decided to stop supporting the coalition government, which forced Almeida to reluctantly agree on the budgets -among other things- with Recupera Madrid, a task that he left in the hands of the deputy mayor, Begoña Villacís.

In the party they believe that with Monasterio competing with Almeida they could have more options to increase their municipal representation at the expense of Ciudadanos whose survival is in question. However, several polls predict that the Villacís group will remain, but with only three or four councilors of the 11 they have now. In addition, everything indicates that Recupera Madrid, which is presented with an electoral Platform and without Marta Higueras, is going to disappear although it will subtract a few votes from the left. So Vox dreams that Almeida, very burned by the scandals that have fully dotted him these months, will need them again after the May 2023 elections if he does not benefit from the so-called Ayuso effect.

The dilemma is in the Madrid Assembly. Vox knows that any candidate it puts up to compete against the regional president will have little to do. So, according to the sources consulted, the party could decide to change the cartel. For this, if the Monastery does not repeat, some names sound, such as Íñigo Henríquez de Luna, deputy spokesman for the parliamentary group and former PP, and Jaime de Berenguer, spokesman for Education, and former UPyD councilor.

Vox's spokeswoman in the Madrid Assembly, when asked, does not let go but is often ironic that she "amuses" in the debates and loves her confrontations with the regional president with whom she has had many moments of tension, although ideologically they are very close.

As for Castilla-La Mancha, Vox's objective would be to enter the regional courts for the first time and achieve enough seats to try to break the absolute majority of the socialist Emiliano García-Page and become the key so that the PP can govern with its formation. . Now Vox does not have any attorney in that autonomy, but at the national level they achieved five deputies. Ciudadanos has four that could pass into the hands of Vox and the PP 10. The scenario that Vox designs is that the popular go up, benefiting from the new stage led by Núñez Feijóo, and that the PSOE loses ground or collapses, something that is about to watch.

However, the idea of ​​undertaking this adventure in Castilla La Mancha does not please Ortega Smith himself, given that he would have to leave his seat for Madrid in Congress, where he is very comfortable, as was Macarena Olona. The deputy is at least linked to that autonomy because he has an impressive Cigarral in Toledo in which he recently celebrated his wedding, and he visits the province often. Another of the names that are being considered for this regional cartel is that of Inés Cañizares, a deputy of Congress for Toledo. However, now everything is rumors because nothing is decided. Neither the future of Monasterio nor that of Ortega Smith.

Despite the secrecy with which the leader of the extreme right handles everything related to electoral candidacies, this time he wants to prepare them well and with enough time not to puncture, as has happened to them in Andalusia. Upon his return from vacation, he will begin to listen to the proposals that come to him from the provincial and regional committees, but he and his Sanhedrin of the National Executive Committee (CEN) will have the last word, since the primaries have been completely buried.

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