The spokesperson for the Popular Party in the Congress of Deputies, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, has just completed one year in the position in which Pablo Casado placed her. Appointment, formalized on July 30, 2019, already generated strong internal rejection last summer and since then the common tone outputs of the popular leader, who maintains an independent speech, even more radical than that of the leadership of her party, have only aggravated these criticisms from her own comrades in the ranks.
Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo acts for free in the PP and irritates Casado’s management
Both in public and in private, different popular leaders have unsuccessfully demanded Álvarez de Toledo in recent months to moderate his messages. These same positions, among which are some of the barons with more internal weight, pressure Genoa 13 to remove her from office in search of a more focused parliamentary image for the new political course, and in the face of polls in which the PP, which Yes it would grow compared to the terrible result of 2019, has not just taken off as a clear alternative with options to unseat the current left-wing government.
In the last week, different information has indicated that Álvarez de Toledo will be relieved this same month of August, an aspect that neither affirms nor denies the direction of Casado. Monday, Ok diary assured that the leadership of the PP is considering appointing the party’s deputy secretary for Social Policy, Cuca Gamarra, as the new spokesperson for the Popular Parliamentary Group to replace the one also deputy for Barcelona.
That of the former mayor of Logroño is a much more moderate profile than that of Álvarez de Toledo. Gamarra is also the only member of the Casado leadership who in the 2018 primaries opted for the rival of the current leader of the PP, the former vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, which represents the supposed integration of the two currents that maintain a conflict in the party: the most moderate inherited from the time of Mariano Rajoy and the most right-wing that Casado himself embodies with the court of leaders close to former president José María Aznar which he has surrounded himself with in the last two years.
Tuesday was the newspaper The Independent which also assured that the dismissal of Álvarez de Toledo is imminent. This media linked this exit to an attempt by the leadership to show a more moderate image in the face of the new political course, as well as the dismissal of one of the most trusted men of the parliamentary spokesperson, Gabriel Elorriaga, also Aznarista, from the position of head of the party’s parliamentary advisory council. In reality, this resignation occurred because Elorriaga regained his seat in Congress in July, after the departure of former Minister Isabel García Tejerina to private companies, so his status as a deputy would prevent him, according to Génova 13, from continuing to be the main advisor from the rest of his peers.
Montesinos: “She is a magnificent spokesperson”
Asked about the incessant trickle of information about the dismissal of Álvarez de Toledo, the Deputy Secretary of Communication, Pablo Montesinos, avoided on Tuesday to ensure the continuity of the parliamentary spokesperson although he tried to settle the debate on his departure by praising his work in Congress. “Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo is a magnificent spokesperson for the popular parliamentary group. She is doing an essential job, along with the rest of the parliamentarians of the group of which I am a part,” Montesinos said. The popular vice secretary also stressed that Álvarez de Toledo is “denouncing loud and clear” the “lies” of the coalition government “without wrinkling” and providing “solutions” in the Lower House through parliamentary initiatives.
“The strategy of the PP with our spokesperson in Congress and with the spokesperson in the Senate, the spokesperson in Europe and the national leadership has a single objective: to forge a sensible alternative to the Government of lies and the Government of Sánchez’s chaos. And We are all in it, of course with Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo and with the entire leadership of the PP, “he remarked.
The environment of the parliamentary spokesperson maintains, however, a cautious silence when asked about Álvarez de Toledo’s continuity in office. Sources close to the deputy for Barcelona consulted by elDiario.es avoid even evaluating the information that speaks about her imminent departure and neither confirm nor deny those rumors that have been circulating internally in the PP for months.
The open confrontation with Teodoro García Egea
The latest interventions by Álvarez de Toledo have reflected, in any case, his discursive independence with respect to the arguments and slogans of the popular leadership, which is also part of the bitter internal confrontation that the parliamentary spokesperson maintains with another of the mainstays of the leadership de Casado, the secretary general, Teodoro García Egea, mainly due to strategic and speech discrepancies.
The differences between the parliamentary spokesperson and the rest of the PP leadership were evidenced last week, when the Royal House announced the departure from Spain of Juan Carlos I for the investigations into the alleged illicit origin of the assets of the King Emeritus. While Casado’s management tried to take advantage of the differences between PSOE and United We Can On the monarchy to wear down the coalition government and attack Pedro Sánchez, Álvarez de Toledo once again displayed his organic independence by proposing to the also leader of the PSOE a great coalition with the popular.
“What Pedro Sánchez would have to do is announce the immediate break with Podemos and the separatists and the start of talks to form a Government of Constitutionalist Concentration. What Spain needs. What Europe would applaud,” Álvarez de Toledo wrote last day 4 on Twitter, just a few minutes after the press conference offered by the President of the Government in which he reaffirmed his commitment to the Executive with United We Can despite their differences on the situation of the king emeritus. No other weighty leader of the PP leadership backed the words of his parliamentary spokesman, which clashed squarely with Casado’s strategy, which, far from agreeing to an agreement, attacked the chief executive.
At the end of July 2019, the appointment as spokesperson for Álvarez de Toledo generated an important rejection in the barons with more weight of the party, such as the Andalusian Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla and the Galician Alberto Núñez Feijóo that months before – and given the poor results at the polls that linked with the turn to the right – had asked Casado not to name her for the most visible position in Congress. In recent months, new voices have been added that have openly shown their differences before the out of tune by Álvarez de Toledo, that one day he called Pablo Iglesias’s father a “terrorist” and the other he sought a personal confrontation with Vice President Carmen Calvo, in the last sessions of control of the Government in Congress, now interrupted by the summer period.
She wanted to participate in the 12J campaign, but they didn’t count on her
While at the gates of the Basque and Galician elections on July 12, the PP threatened to seek agreements and appear as a pactist force, Álvarez de Toledo maintained his own angry strategy, which led him to be missing throughout the campaign. Later he said that he would have liked to participate in it, but regretted that no one had proposed it. The elections, in which Casado’s right-wing bet in Euskadi failed – the PP + Cs candidacy headed by Carlos Iturgaiz lost three of the nine seats won by the PP alone, in 2016 -, while Feijóo’s moderate profile was reinforced – that swept – also revived the voices that demanded a more focused profile from Casado.
In private, different popular leaders are betting that the PP leader rewards positions of visibility to the most centrist leaders such as Gamarra or the vice president of the Congress Ana Pastor, which in the middle of the pre-campaign he placed as the main visible face of the party in the negotiation with the Executive for reconstruction after the pandemic. On the contrary, they ask the president of the popular to weaken some of the leaders more inclined to the right, such as Álvarez de Toledo herself. The question of whether the parliamentary spokesperson, one of Casado’s great bets, will exceed the threshold of the year in office, therefore remains open.