Citizens try not to disappear after a rough campaign that gave them some oxygen

"Citizens have to return to the government of Castilla y León", said the leader of the party that calls itself "liberal", Inés Arrimadas, this Friday, at the end of the campaign for the regional elections next Sunday. The president of Ciudadanos did not refer to the consequences of a bad electoral result, but they seem clear: if the party is not revived, it will disappear.

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It is almost three years since Francisco Igea stood up to the national leadership of Ciudadanos and announced that he would stand in the primaries to compete for Silvia Clemente's candidacy for the Presidency of the Board. Against all odds and with a rigging included, Igea was the candidate. In the May 2019 elections, Ciudadanos won 12 seats, 7 more than in 2015, and Igea became vice president of the Government of Castilla y León.

The pact with the PP, not without some tension, seemed to work until last December 20, when the president of the Board, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, now a candidate for re-election by the PP, announced through Twitter the dismissal of the directors of Citizens, the dissolution of the Cortes and the calling of elections. The party of Inés Arrimadas, in clear decline, has been fighting since then for its permanence at the state level and also in Castilla y León.

The campaign started badly: at the end of the first day Igea began to feel unwell and a self-test confirmed the worst suspicion by testing positive for COVID-19. All plans had to be redone. The former Minister of Health, Verónica Casado, who agreed to go to the last position on the Valladolid list, ended up assuming the role of Igea while he appeared at the rallies through a plasma and launched messages on social networks with videos that he called Diary of an inmate. The mandatory isolation also made him intervene in the first debate from home because the Electoral Board did not agree to extend it. The PP also opposed. But, contrary to expectations, Igea emerged victorious from that first face-to-face.

José Miguel García, the campaign director of the Ciudadanos candidate, is satisfied because the party has been "a pineapple" and the candidates "have received support from all over Spain" with the participation of figures such as Luis Garicano, Inés Arrimadas , Begoña Villacís, Edmundo Bal, Andrés Trapiello, Arcadi Espada or Julio Valdeón, reports Europa Press. "A campaign in which no mistakes have been made and we are saying it with humility, but we have grown from the first day to the last and we have exceeded expectations," he says. The truth is that Ciudadanos has no higher sights than to get its own parliamentary group, for which three seats are needed. That is equivalent to settling for a quarter of what you had until now.

The national management trusts Igea

The leaders of the Ciudadanos national directorate are far from throwing in the towel and fully trust Francisco Igea, convinced that he is going to turn around the fearsome polls, which mostly suggest that, in the best of cases, they will obtain between three and five representatives, although in some polls the forecasts are much more discouraging and they are considered missing. "Polls are wrong many times", they remember in the party with their sights already set on other upcoming elections whose results will also depend largely on what happens on Sunday in Castilla y León.

“There is a party, but in the broadest conception of the word. And we are going to play it until the end, because the liberal space that Ciudadanos occupies is more necessary than ever," he assured this Friday to Daniel Pérez, Deputy Secretary of Communication, while traveling on the AVE on his way to Valladolid, where the closing of the campaign was held.

The entire leadership, with Inés Arrimadas at the head despite her advanced gestation, have turned to the former vice president of Castilla y León, whom they see as capable of giving a surprise "and an upset to Mañueco", against whom he has not left to carry Igea in the two debates that have been held throughout these two weeks of campaigning. "Some promised them very happily but in the end I think they will receive their just punishment." “It is good that citizens are beginning to punish lies and those who do not act loyally. That is why our motto has been 'The value of the word'”, adds Pérez.

The Deputy Secretary of Communication of Ciudadanos does not miss the role played by Igea in the two debates either and points out that "without passion", he believes that Igea won both duels against Mañueco and Tudanca, whom Ciudadanos saw "very blurred". "In the last debate, the imposture of Mañueco was seen trying to defend the indefensible, because if the government worked so well, why did it break the coalition?", he asks, while stressing that "Paco's golden minute was the most watched and valued by an overwhelming majority.” In his opinion, the candidate's 'secret' is “that he knows how to connect with people”.

The fear of Vox

In the direction they are also "tremendously happy" with the result of the central act of the campaign held in Valladolid because they managed to gather, says Pérez, about a thousand people "like in the old days". Pérez also points out that he also believes that the large bag of undecided voters that still has to decide the vote could favor them. "There is a wide field there that can benefit Paco," he confirms.

Finally, he is hopeful that Vox will not rise as much as the polls say because he believes that if they come to govern, “they will give instability and uncertainty to the community. There would be an involution and it would be a great disaster ". So he bets that Ciudadanos" be decisive "although he sentences:" Here the ones who really play it are the Castilians and Leonese ".

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