Arrimadas and Igea, marriage of convenience to prevent the disappearance of Ciudadanos

Arrimadas and Igea, marriage of convenience to prevent the disappearance of Ciudadanos

February 13 is written in red on the Ciudadanos agenda. The appointment with the polls in Castilla y León is going to mean quite an ordeal for the party whose prospects for survival are increasingly dim, according to most of the polls published to date. Inés Arrimadas knows it, and so does the regional candidate, Francisco Igea, who now bears the responsibility of trying to save Ciudadanos from a new debacle. Both of them, faced in the past to some tense primaries by the leadership of the formation, they have buried the hatchet in order to avoid disappearing also in that community in which they have been governing for almost three years together with the PP.

The situation, however, is so dramatic that the party leadership would settle for maintaining a parliamentary group in the Castilian-Leonese Cortes, since if they did not achieve it, obtaining poor results would undoubtedly have a domino effect on Andalusia, the last autonomous bastion. that remains for Citizens.

The first debate held last Monday between the three candidates, in which Igea participated electronically having tested positive for Covid, has given oxygen to the party by considering that the winner was the former vice president of the Board, as also reflected by several of the surveys carried out by different media. While Alfonso Fernández Mañueco preferred to focus his criticism on Pedro Sánchez, Igea dedicated himself to disputing the management of Ciudadanos during the pandemic, which created moments of tension between the two. Then he launched himself against the leader of the PP for the cases of corruption in which his party is immersed in this community and that the Prosecutor's Office has denounced before the Court of Accounts, as published exclusively by this newspaper , being seconded in it by the PSOE candidate, Luis Tudanca. In addition, he harshly criticized the President of the Board for the "disloyalty" he had shown towards him by bringing forward the regional elections without prior notice. "No one expected that the turncoat was the president," he snapped.

Igea's role in this first debate has been very popular in the party and has led Arrimadas to recommend to his colleague "not to change his strategy" in the second and final electoral duel between the candidates, which will take place on the 9th, just in the final stretch of the campaign. By then the leader of Ciudadanos, already fully recovered, will be able to participate in person. So in the game they cross their fingers so that this second face-to-face will serve to convince the numerous undecided that there are still, according to the polls, that they vote for Igea to "reward honesty and truth" against the "lies" of the PP, a party that has been governing Castilla y León for 35 years, without interruption.

Looking ahead to this second debate, the leadership does not fear that the decision to vote last Thursday in favor of the labor reform will cause them any harm, although they know that it will be used by the PP to label them along with "sanchismo" and its allies. . "There is no electoral reason behind our position. Making the employment contracts of all Spaniards not depend on Bildu and ERC is ample reason to support the reform, despite not being the one we would have done," argue Committee sources Party standing. "They were within the agreement and we have removed them. They were going to get many compensations and we have managed to ensure that this does not get worse," the same sources boast.

For her part, the leader of Ciudadanos insists on appealing to the "sense of the State" and "useful politics", while repeating that the liberal space that Ciudadanos represents is "more necessary than ever to curb bipartisanship" and "prevent pacts with the nationalists and populists from both extremes", alluding to both United We Can and Vox. As he warns, the rise of the extreme right would encourage may opt to enter the regional government if the PP manages to win the elections but does not reach an absolute majority, which in his opinion "is not good news for Spain". In the self-proclaimed liberal party they regret that Pablo Casado's determination to destroy them will lead the Abascal formation to touch power if they disappear or fall into insignificance. Igea has already indicated that it does not intend to support that equation and he is not willing to make Mañueco president again.

But the greatest concern of the party leaders is centered on the 'domino effect' that could lead to a new debacle in these imminent regional elections. The next appointment with the polls will be -except for surprises- Andalusia, the only bastion left to those of Arrimadas given that neither the government of the Region of Murcia nor that of Madrid are there. If the results in Castilla y León and those of Andalusia later were resounding, the chances of improving in the next regional and municipal elections, and finally the general elections of 2023, would be slim, if not nil. And that is what grips the national leadership, where at the moment they do not even want to hear of an electoral confluence with Pablo Casado's PP, no matter how much the Andalusian vice president himself, Juan Marín, has suggested it to guarantee his survival.

However, in the party they believe that the scenario there has nothing to do with that of any other of the agreements that they closed with the PP, pacts that Arrimadas now denies assuring that they were "a serious mistake" in view of the rudeness that their partners have made them. In addition, they point to the good harmony that seems to exist between the president of the Board, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, and Marín, who never tires of insisting that the PP leader will not commit the same "disloyalty" as Mañueco, calling the elections behind their backs. "The agreement works", maintain the two Andalusian leaders,

Ciudadanos also continues to maintain the pact in the Madrid City Council that Begoña Villacís closed with the mayor of the PP, José Luis Martínez Almeida. Precisely, the deputy mayor of Madrid and the former Minister of Health, Verónica Casado - who managed the pandemic in Castilla y León and is closing the list in a testimonial way for Valladolid - have become the main supporters of the candidate in this complicated campaign in the face of the eventuality that the leader cannot continue attending the last acts due to her advanced state of pregnancy. Villacís, furthermore, is practically the only asset that, along with Arrimadas and Marín, remains for the party that continues its struggle to survive.

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