Cospedal, Saénz de Santamaría, Margallo: what happened to Casado's rivals in 2018?
A month after the enthronement of Alberto Núñez Feijóo as president of the PP, his predecessor in office, Pablo Casado, has disappeared from the scene public. Nothing is known about what she will do now that she has left the political front line. At just 41 years old, the former leader of the Spanish right still has many years of trading ahead of him before he can retire. A situation, that of deciding "and now, what do I do?", That other political leaders of his party have already faced before. For example, those who faced Casado four years ago in the congress that elected him. What has become of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, María Dolores de Cospedal or José Manuel García Margallo? Will Feijóo take into account his profiles?
The former vice president of the Government of Mariano Rajoy was about to take control of the PP. In fact, she narrowly won the primaries by universal vote among party members. But the apparatus maneuvered in the second round and her internal rivals mobilized their delegates to give victory to Casado.
The motion of censure in June 2018 ended his vice-presidency, and his defeat to Casado in July ended his political career. Sáenz de Santamaría resigned from the seat in September after being dismissed by the new management team and went into private activity, although not entirely. The solo government of Pedro Sánchez appointed her to the Council of State, a public advisory body in which she would receive a maximum salary close to 1,000 euros per month for attendance at plenary sessions, which is not received if there is no plenary session or if one does not attend. Along with her as elected councilors are Juan Carlos Rodríguez Ibarra, María Emilia Casas, José María Michavila or Amalia Valcárcel, among others.
In the Council of State, the former vice president can contribute her vision to the non-binding reports that this body makes to the Government's bills. And she maintains institutional political ties. But where Sáenz de Santamaría really works is in the legal profession. Specifically, as partner of one of the most powerful law firms in Spain: Quatrecasas.
The former vice president, State attorney by opposition, did not choose to return to the service of the administration, but joined one of the main law firms, which, according to El Confidencial published this April, was the second with the highest turnover in 2021 : €285 million. incompatibility office did not appreciate conflict of interest despite his time in the Government between 2012 and 2018. His salary is a mysterybut Cuatrecasas bills for litigating against Spain. The one who was the leader of the office when she was in the Government was convicted of eight tax crimes, but avoided jail after agreeing with the prosecutor and the State Attorney that depended on Santamaría.
In this time, Sáenz de Santamaría has also gone through delicate moments of health about which there is not much information. So much so that the parliamentary groups chose not to include his appearance among the many that have investigated in Congress the so-called espionage kitchen plot with State resources.
Who did not get rid of said appearance was his great rival within the Executive led by Mariano Rajoy, and who led to Casado's triumph by asking for the support of his delegates: María Dolores de Cospedal. Also a state attorney, she became third in the 2018 primaries.
His career after the 2018 motion of censure has not been as simple as that of his nemesis in the Executive. Various accusations hang over her former general secretary of the PP for her role in some corruption: from Gürtel to the Bárcenas papers, or the destruction of evidence of irregular financing of the party, going through the espionage to the former national treasurer of the party that was supposedly ordered by former minister Jorge Fernández and in which the already famous former commissioner José Manuel Villarejo participated, according to the investigations of the National Court.
Precisely Cospedal's close relationship with Villarejo ended his political career. Unlike what happened with Sáenz de Santamaría, Casado did initially count on her for the PP executive, but months later she had to resign. First, of the organs of the party. Later, as deputy. Casado compensated him with a seat at the Real Instituto Elcano, of which she is now vice president.
Without a political future, and perhaps too marked for private activity immediately, Cospedal requested in 2019 her reinstatement as a State lawyer. She was assigned to the Contentious Chamber of the Supreme Court when Dolores Delgado was Minister of Justice.
He was in office for one year. In January 2020, the former Minister of Defense joined the law firm CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo as a partner. 18 months later, her indictment at the National High Court for espionage on Bárcenas forced him to step aside and request a leave of absence. Now, despite his dismissal (The National Court is going to judge the leadership of Rajoy's Ministry of the Interior, with former minister Jorge Fernández at the head), he has announced his definitive departure from the office. At the moment, her next professional destination is not known, but she can always recover her position as State Attorney.
The fourth in contention in the 2018 primaries was another former Rajoy minister, José Manuel García Margallo. The former head of Foreign Affairs, and also a rival of Sáenz de Santamaría in the Executive, achieved a very discreet result in the primaries (1.17% of the votes), but he is the only one of the main candidates who remains in institutional politics .
Of the four, he is the only one that Feijóo has recovered, since Casado renounced an offer that has not been made public, for the moment.
In 2018 Casado elected Margallo as a freely appointed member of the National Executive Committee of the PP. A year later he was part of the party's lists for the European Parliament, where he still has a couple of years left in office.
In addition, it maintains a high media profile. Margallo regularly participates in different gatherings and interviews as party spokesman. On Mondays he shares a microphone with former Vice Presidents of the Government Carmen Calvo and Pablo Iglesias on Cadena Ser. It is also common to see him on other television channels, such as La Sexta, or radio stations.
At 77 years old, Feijóo has once again counted on him for the National Executive Committee, this time as part of the list that was ratified by the XX National Congress that exalted the Galician and as quota of the Valencian Community. It is also, by right, a member of the National Board of Directors, the highest body between congresses.