Hana Jalloul sleeps little in general, but it is a trend that has been accentuated since Pedro Sánchez suggested that she be the number two by Ángel Gabilondo for the May 4 elections in Madrid. Faced with this leisurely man, Jalloul is a whirlwind between Ferraz –the headquarters of the party to which the candidacy has moved–, his Renault car –in which he travels to most events– and the Leganés house in the one who lives with her husband and two children.
It’s Wednesday. His day starts early, although the previous one was lengthened with an interview in The Night in 24 hours of RTVE. “The children were asleep when I returned,” he laments. The last few weeks have been especially hectic and conciliation, a dream. After leaving them at school, he attends to another media outlet first thing in the morning before preparing an act on culture. He asks for data and writes his intervention, which he likes to take on paper to the lectern.
Jalloul speaks (fast) three languages. It is natural for him to communicate with his collaborator in English, although he mixes Spanish words. “I’m very approachable, they tell me too much,” he says before turning to another topic between sips of coffee without caffeine. “Habibi, daddy,” he picks up the phone to speak to his father, a Lebanese-born doctor who is the person he admires the most. Jalloul and his family lived in Lebanon between 1980 and 1982, but left the country with the bombings of Israel. She returned years later for work reasons, but settled permanently in Spain more than a decade ago and focused on her doctoral thesis to later carry out what she considers to be her vocation: university professor. Until he embarked on the adventure of politics in which he pretends to be passing through.
At noon he has the first gig: an act on culture with Gabilondo. He acknowledges that it has been a tough start with undergoing a high level of exposure with up to three interviews or acts in one day. “I have gone from migrations to rallies. I had never done it before. I have suffered a little,” he acknowledges. At the moment the argument has been learned, from which he tries not to leave, and the criticisms and / or advice made by communication experts and even a minister fit with sportsmanship. That he looks more at the interviewer and does not lower his eyes so much to take notes, for example.
At 1:00 p.m. he has scheduled a videoconference with the lawyers on duty to listen to them and expose them to the PSOE program, which he has practically memorized, on justice. “Take away this, which is a mistake,” he says about one of the points after taking a quick look at it. “It’s that I study a lot,” he explains.
After an urgent and unexpected meeting with the campaign team, he takes time to eat. “Yesterday I had a sandwich at the office and that’s it,” he says while we have a menu at one of the restaurants near the Ferraz headquarters. She takes the opportunity to call her husband, answer some messages and send an audio to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, with whom she has a good relationship, after learning that he has been one of the targets of new threatening letters.
Barely an hour later, he takes the car to go to Lavapiés, where he will meet migrant groups and has prepared a tour of the most multicultural neighborhood of the capital. On the way he is accompanied by the coordinator of the PSOE’s Participation and Diversity sector, Mohammed Azahaf, with whom he takes the opportunity to dispatch, and awaits him at the destination the socialist deputy Luc André Diouf. “How much time do we have?” He asks. “Until 17:30”. The walk begins in a hurry in the company of representatives of neighborhood groups, including the president of the La Corrala neighborhood association, Manuel Osuna. Jalloul admits that it does not make much sense to hold the meetings in the campaign and that the important thing is to do so when you have the capacity to manage, but he assured that with all these groups the Socialists are in contact from power.
The entourage enters bars, various shops, a hairdresser and a travel agency that also sends parcels. “Hello brothers”, “salam malecum“, greets Jalloul, who in each establishment recalls that the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso has not given aid to the affected sectors and that the PSOE has done so from the central Executive and that it will do so from the regional after the elections. to the management of socialist governments with immigrants, and in Arabic with some of the people he visits. He likes to have incorporated that distinctive into the campaign. “On the 4th you don’t have to fall asleep you have to go vote for the change “, adds Luc André. More than 500,000 votes of immigrants nationalized in Spain are at stake.
“I have taken a photo with a man who started making masks in the pandemic with his sewing machine,” says Jalloul as he leaves one of the stores. “If you are on the left, you are one of us,” he tells a Bangladeshi who is debating in good terms with a socialist leader. Jalloul has good words for his opponents: Mónica García, of whom he says that “he has worked it out and we have to acknowledge it”, although he does not believe that they are as close to the Socialists as the polls predict – also trusts that a large mobilization in the south will turn the polls around-, or Isa Serra, with whom he coincided in his short visit to the Madrid Assembly. He does not know Pablo Iglesias personally, although they are from the same fifth and both studied Political Science at the Complutense University. He says that he also has a good relationship with representatives of the PP or Vox.
Upon reaching the square, he improvises a small meeting with the same slogans and says goodbye to go to the next destination. But before heading to the parking lot, he greets the police – two in uniform and two in civilian clothes – who quickly appeared there when they saw the small concentration. “A little more and I ask for your vote,” he jokes.
“I have gone from being a driver to going everywhere in my car, but I am delighted,” she says again at the wheel on the way to Leganés, although she admits that if she could choose a superpower it would be to teleport. “There are people who claim to be invisible, but I see it as awkward,” he says before taking advantage of the journey to call home. Upon arriving at the cultural center José Saramago prepares his speech in ten minutes. “Tell me the news of the day,” he asks his collaborator, and calls the communication director of the PSOE, Maritcha Ruiz Mateos, in case there is a current issue to which he has to refer. At 6:30 p.m., Gabilondo arrives in the small waiting room and Jalloul tells him that he has been in Lavapiés. “And what have you washed?”, Replies the candidate with his characteristic humor. After a short talk, they go to the stage.
It is 8:00 p.m. and Jalloul is already home, but the day is not over. Now he participates in a colloquium of Migrant Power together with the candidates of Más Madrid and Unidas Podemos, Manuela Bergerot and Serigne Mbaye, respectively. “I am most proud of my management in Migration,” explains Jalloul, who speaks with passion of her time at the Secretary of State and of measures such as the work permit for unaccompanied minors or the 9,000 people that the Government obtained staying in hotels in the Canary Islands during confinement – but now I have decided to take this step for the president’s project and for Madrid “.
Jalloul joined the PSOE coinciding with the removal of Sánchez from the general secretariat in 2016. Although he links his career to the project of the current socialist leader, he admits that he had not had much relationship with him before Moncloa proposed him to be number two of the candidacy. “He once greeted me by name at an event in 2019 – he recalls – and I had a conversation with him on a trip to Brussels where the minister was also going [José Luis Escrivá]”. Her contact with the president had been no more. She entered the orbit of the PSOE working groups at the hands of the current Minister of Culture, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, whom she knew from the university, and who appointed her as an advisor in the Delegation of the Government of the Community of Madrid. There she began to meet more positions of the federation and the PSOE included her in the 2019 lists at number 20. But she was only in the Assembly for a short time: Escrivá interviewed her – she is convinced that there were more candidates – for the Secretary of State for Migration, and he chose her. “He did an in-depth interview, a third grade. I left there and didn’t think he would catch me, “he says. They didn’t know each other before.
His landing in the Madrid PSOE has been viewed with suspicion in some sectors of the party, who also question the comparison with Kamala Harris that they broadcast from Moncloa. But Jalloul, who is also immersed in coordinating the 40th Congress presentation, assures that she remains oblivious to party fights. “I separate myself from those things, they are very unproductive. I have a particular vision of politics, or I am here to contribute or I am not.” And will she be the candidate in 2023? “I do not see myself at all. It is a characteristic of mine. I am extremely realistic, for the good and for the bad, and I do not make things futureable. I am here now and I am with Angel and I do not consider anything else”, ditch.