Inés Arrimadas has again raised doubts about her future at the head of Ciudadanos. This time she has been in an interview with the Europa Press agency published this weekend in which he reiterated that in the process of "refounding" that his party has undertaken, the militants will be able to "question" and "decide everything". Not only the new project of the party, but also if they want her and the leaders of her current leadership to continue in her positions. "We are going to question everything except one thing: our liberal values and the space we represent. The rest can be renewed," she insisted.
It is not the first time that Arrimadas has slipped that idea and, although she always goes on to clarify that she "feels strong enough to continue fighting for Spain", the impression she leaves is that she is preparing her eventual withdrawal from politics even before she hold general elections. All this while waiting to see if her party really comes back in the double appointment with the municipal and regional polls, which will take place months before, in May 2023.
"Inés is not going to leave," say management sources, who explain that in that interview or in others she has offered, the leader is not suggesting her departure but rather something "obvious." "It will be the militants who will decide if we stay, not only Inés but all of us, at the head of the new project or prefer that other people do it," the sources consulted point out.
Arrimadas herself does not stop remembering that after the last blow that the party suffered in Andalusia -which meant the resignation of Juan Marín from all his positions-, the members of the Executive, with her at the head, held a meeting to analyze the new scenario and placed their positions "at the disposal of the party's highest body," which is the General Council. "Most of the comrades asked us to continue," the Ciudadanos leader now recalls.
"The easy thing would have been the opposite," Arrimadas said then, minimizing those voices that demanded he leave and call an Extraordinary General Assembly, as did the former vice president of the Community of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado, or the critical current Renovadores Cs led by the former deputy of the Catalan Parliament Antonio Espinosa.
That same day, Arrimadas announced that he was going to start this "refoundation" process, which would last six months: "We cannot proclaim that we are a reformist party on the outside but not be willing to reform everything on the inside. We made important changes two years ago, but We are still willing to change everything, and I am the first", he said again this weekend. The mechanism to make all these changes will be decided by the party at the turn of the summer and must be approved by the General Council or by the expanded Executive. The idea is that in January the work is finished. But what they are clear about is that this entire process will be with the participation of all the militancy and "the result of the votes will be binding," they tell this newsroom.
Given that doubts are still in the air, there are many who now look to Begoña Villacís to lead the new stage if the militancy rejects the continuity of Arrimadas and his hard core. In a recent interview with elDiario.es, Vice Mayor de Madrid assured that his wish is to continue in Madrid's municipal politics and stand for the spring 2023 elections, an appointment on which his future will also depend.
Another of the names that are planned in the environment for a hypothetical succession is that of Edmundo Bal, but the deputy spokesman for the parliamentary group has already been scalded after his failure in the autonomous elections that Isabel Díaz Ayuso called by surprise in Madrid in May of last year. Bal reluctantly replaced Ignacio Aguado and lost the 26 seats that Ciudadanos had in the regional Assembly.
At the moment, the so-called 'Refoundation Team', piloted by Arrimadas by Villacís herself and the deputy for Málaga, Guillermo Díaz, continues to be involved in the work of the new project, listening to all kinds of ideas and opinions and meeting with public officials and representatives of "civil society". From those meetings has come a Decalogue of ideas that have been reflected in a document with the basic principles and the "values" with which they hope to "excite" their voters and the Spaniards again so that they trust them. These principles have been elaborated in 10 sections: Freedom; Equality; TRUE; Middle Classes; Spain; Increase; Environment; Seriousness, and Spain and Europe in the World.
According to Arrimadas, Ciudadanos, with this decalogue, is going to offer "a much more interesting and sexier option in electoral terms." "We have to go back to being that party that without complexes proclaims brave and necessary ideas that many people think but no party dares to say," he pointed out in the same interview with Europa Press, also recalling that his party is the one that "is most self-critical has done in Spain". "We have spent two years analyzing the causes of the decline, but it is time to look to the future," he said, emphasizing that they have the "moral obligation" to defend the space of the political center.
The party's leadership excludes the possibility that the militancy pronounces on a hypothetical merger or convergence with the PP: "No merger with the PP is going to be proposed, the autonomy of the party will be guaranteed after the process", they sentence to this writing Executive sources. "This is about a refoundation, not a foundry, neither a merger nor integration into another party," the aforementioned sources make clear.
However, the two parties have just reached an agreement to achieve compliance with the court ruling that requires a minimum of 25% of subjects to be taught in Spanish in Catalan schools. As announced, they will jointly present an appeal of unconstitutionality against the decree law with which the Generalitat, for the moment, has managed to get rid of the order of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), declared firm since the beginning of this year.
Although there is a good understanding with those of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Arrimadas also affects the differences in projects. "Spain cannot afford to have to choose between reds and blues again", "there are still many who want a liberal, reformist and modern option from the center", stresses the party leader, who recently has traveled to Berlin to meet with his German counterparts, in which you look at since they sank at the polls but then came back and now even govern the country within a coalition. Both formations are in the European Parliament in the Renew Europe group, to which Emmanuel Macron's party also belongs, with whom Arrimadas met in Brussels and managed to take some photos.
All this occurs while the party suffers a new trickle of abandonment and loss of leaders who once held prominent positions. Just a few days ago it was known the departure of the head of the Citizens' delegation in the European Parliament, Luis Garicanoto teach at the prestigious Columbia University (New York).
Others, however, have dropped out. This is the case of the former member of the Guarantees Committee Fernando Sánchez-Contador, who alleges differences with the management. Or the deputy Carmen de Rivera, one of the first Citizens deputies to reach the Parliament of Catalonia. And in Andalusia they still have not decided on a substitute for Juan Marín, who resigned from all his positions after the debacle harvested on 19J.
Added to all this is another of the dramas of the party: the recent dismissals of workers that they have had to undertake, although they assure that the national headquarters in Madrid's Calle de Alcalá is not in danger as they have paid the rent for the next few years and have no debts with the banks.