After the overwhelming victory of Alberto Núñez Feijóo in the Galician elections last Sunday –In which their fourth absolute majority with more seats than ever revalidated–, and the also resounding defeat that the great bet of Pablo Casado in the Basque Country, the PP + Cs coalition –which passed from the nine representatives that it obtained in 2016, when the popular ones attended alone, to five -, the National Executive Committee of the Popular Party held this Wednesday in Madrid evidenced the internal confrontation between the president of the Xunta de Galicia and the PP leader about the direction that conservative training should take to national level to try to return to being a government option and recover Moncloa in the coming years.
Feijóo believes that the PP “has a great future” if it is “moderate”
Reinforced by the results of 12J, Feijóo considers that the PP will only be able to return to power in Spain if it recovers the “moderation” it lost after Casado’s victory in the 2018 primaries. That is the recipe that, according to him and other territorial barons, allowed him to raze in the polls on Sunday. Instead, the national leader of the popular believes that no center turn necessary and, without making an iota of self-criticism for the result in Euskadi of his personal bet led by Carlos Iturgaiz, on Wednesday he rejected any change in strategy.
“No one has to lead us to moderation because we have always been in it,” Casado said during his speech before the Executive Committee, which brought together the PP leadership with the barons and other territorial leaders of the party. The popular leader maintained that argument despite the right turn that he undertook as soon as he became the party’s president and after maintaining for months a very harsh speech full of disqualifications against the progressive government and its president, Pedro Sánchez, whom he came to call “traitor” or “felon” for its policy of dialogue in Catalonia.
Married, who since 2018 has surrounded himself with leaders of the most right wing of the PP –the call aznarism for his closeness to former Prime Minister José María Aznar, political godfather of the current popular president – further hardened their messages during the pandemic, by ensuring that the Executive “lies” about the figures of the pandemic, accusing him of having caused contagions in a premeditated way by encouraging the participation of the 8M marches, or directly blaming him for those killed by COVID-19.
“No one should take us away from the fight against the radicalism of some,” stressed the president of the popular during his speech on Wednesday, claiming his strategy. “I do not understand that it can be criticized to defend ‘too much’ the freedom of the Spanish; nor to be excessively demanding in the defense of their employment or their well-being. Nor should we be silent in the face of what we see and what everyone knows is going to happen if the government does not change the step and the plans, “he pointed out.
“The old hook on the left”
“We do not bite the old hook that the left always throws on the supposed tension that is only the shadow of their actions, the echo of their insults and the reflection of their propaganda. . In his opinion, “the most curious thing is that those who seek to prescribe cards of centrism are those who agree with the populists, the communists and the independentistas in the most radical government in history.”
After the constant calls for moderation carried out since 12J by barons such as Feijóo, the Andalusian, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, or the President of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández-Mañueco, the PP leader reaffirmed that the path taken by his leadership is the correct one. “It turns out that now we have to oppose as if we governed with an absolute majority,” he joked. “We hope to recover it soon, but for this we will have to make a firm and responsible opposition, moderate in tone and forceful in content. For that we are paid and without that work democracy would be incomplete, because a country without opposition would be a totalitarian nation” .
Despite the debacle in the Basque Country, a place in which Casado bet everything by shooting down the already ex-leader of the Basque PP, Alfonso Alonso, with a more moderate profile, to impose the coalition with Ciudadanos and place Iturgaiz, from the wing aznarista, the popular president does not want to assume any kind of responsibility. If on Monday, in his first appearance after 12J, he assured that the victory of the PNV and the growth of EH Bildu is because “something is going to be wrong in Spanish society”, this Wednesday indicated that “it would be convenient to remind the 150,000 Basques who have had to go into exile, to emigrate because of the blow of terrorism. It would be worth asking who would vote if they were given the right to do so,” he said, implying that they would support the PP.
Far from self-criticism, Casado considers that “the withdrawal of constitutionalism is a consequence of the drift in favor of PSOE nationalism that began as early as Eguiguren and Zapatero with Otegi, and that has led to the legitimization of Bildu as an investiture and covenant of fundamental laws. ” That is, the fault that the PP has lost almost half of its voters three years ago is, for Casado, exclusively on the left.
Despite the overwhelming defeat, Married maintains his idea of placing Iturgaiz at the head of the Basque PP, now chaired by Amaya Fernández, with a more moderate profile, like his predecessor, Alfonso Alonso, and very critical of the result achieved on 12J even this Wednesday, before entering the Executive Committee in Genoa 13. Iturgaiz is, for the PP leader, “a moral giant and one of the most beloved and admired politicians of the Popular Party and of Spanish politics”. That is why he commissioned him to take charge of training in the Basque Country: “We had to stand up to rebuild constitutionalism in the Basque Country and that is what we are going to do from now on.”
The confrontation with Álvarez de Toledo
A few minutes earlier, Feijóo had spoken on the Executive Committee, according to some of the attendees, with a less arrogant tone than that of Casado, despite its reinforcement in Sunday’s elections. The Galician president demanded “moderation” and “centrality”, in addition to asking the national leadership of his party to avoid “disqualifications”. Among the leaders who listened attentively to him was the PP spokesperson in Congress, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, whom Feijóo never wanted as the main face of the party in Parliament and who is characterized precisely by a harsh speech that sets fire to the plenary sessions of Congress . Paradoxically, the parliamentarian remained missing throughout the campaign from 12J.
This Wednesday first thing, asked about the work of Álvarez de Toledo in a interview on Cadena Ser, Feijóo pointed out the following: “It is very difficult to act as a spokesperson in Congress, in this Congress where there is so much noise and so little politics. It is very difficult to express thoughts and proposals and ideas when there are so many disqualifications, so much insult and so much mediocrity. So sometimes one enters that mediocrity and that disqualification and automatically creates a problem around a spokesperson. ”
The Galician President he sent a clear message to his party leadership before entering the meeting of the Executive Committee, which was followed by the traditional meal of Married with the Barons: “The PP has a great future and if we continue to insist on our principles, being a focused party, a temperate party and a party that It is capable of bringing together ten million Spaniards, it is the best service we can do for Spain and the Spaniards “.
Without directly mentioning the agreements reached by the PP with Vox and the approach of the Casado leadership to some of the postulates of the extreme right, Feijóo considered that his victory in Galicia shows that by way of moderation he is told “no to frivolous, tweet and populist politics from both extremes. ” The Galician president maintains that for his party to return to Moncloa, the PP must be a “state party”. “We are not going to change our principles for fashions, which can last a few months and even a few years,” he said.