“The illusion is fundamental to recover those three million votes that have gone to us. Those three million people want us to give them a reason to trust again in what has been their home. From this party, we have to say to those people who continue to be their vital project, who can trust again. We need to return to being that PP with 11 million votes, which allows us to govern alone without opportunistic hinges, without nationalist hinges. Everything on the right fits here of the PSOE “. With these words Pablo Casado harangued the Popular Party on July 21, 2018, just a few hours before being elected president of the popular in the XIX Congress, which faced Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría.
Casado’s plan to merge PP and Ciudadanos in Spain Suma makes waters
Casado then assumed “the responsibility of rebuilding the center right” and recovering the lost votes towards Vox and Ciudadanos, the two rivals with whom the PP fights for the same electorate and who, paradoxically, are also its government partners in autonomous communities and town halls.
But two years after those promises, the president of the popular continues without achieving that long-awaited “reconstruction” of the right, which remains divided into three. Although the polls predict a growth in the vote intention of the PP -the last elaborated by Celeste-tel for elDiario.es gives the popular 100 seats, 12 more than those achieved in the general elections -, the rise is still not enough to place the Casado project as a real alternative of government to the progressive Executive of the PSOE and United We Can, even adding to the formations of Santiago Abascal and Inés Arrimadas.
“When the center right unites around the Popular Party, it is capable of defeating the sum of socialism, populism and nationalism”, Married insisted on July 15 in the National Executive Committee, after the umpteenth hit at the polls that the failure of the PP + Cs coalition in Euskadi meant for his political project and the triumph of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the baron most critical of Casado’s right-wing drift, in Galicia . “The great pending political task is the most difficult, which is not to break to keep a piece, but to rebuild what has been broken. It is to create a great current of national opinion ready to clearly resolve the dilemmas that once again He has in front of him “, remarked the leader of the PP.
The struggle for the hegemony of the right
Reality, however, continues to distance that option from the union of the right that Casado dreams of and which was first glimpsed in the famous photo of Columbus from February 2019 in which the leaders of PP, Vox and Ciudadanos – then in the hands of Albert Rivera – agreed. Now, the three parties have different agendas and strategies and, more than a unitary action, what they really seek is the hegemony of the same conservative political space.
In search of that leadership, Casado has spent the last two years lurching between the turn to the right that he undertook just after winning the primaries and specific attempts to regain the center, mainly due to pressure from the party barons and after successive Electoral bumps in the general elections of 28A and 10N of 2019, the municipal and regional elections of last year and, now, in the face of what happened in Euskadi and Galicia.
Vox tries to maintain its own discourse, even more extreme, clearly marking the distances with the PP. To that plan she responds the decision to file a motion of no confidence against the Government, justified in the management of the pandemic carried out from Moncloa, and which will be launched in September, coinciding with the start of the new political course. Casado’s management has already said that it will not support that motion, that it has no options to move forward, but the PP has seen its strategy disrupted looking ahead to next month in which, predictably, all the media focus will be centered on the initiative of the extreme right.
Citizens, on the other hand, has moved towards positions prone to agreement with the Government, trying to steal votes from the PP in the center. This turn, together with the failure of the PP + Cs experiment in Euskadi, have moved away the possibility of the creation of Spain Suma, the union of the rights dreamed of by Casado, which failed to bear fruit before the general elections of 10N and which looks more difficult as time passes. In fact, the PP itself discards a joint list for the Catalan elections scheduled for autumn and to which the president of the Catalan Generalitat, Quim Torra, still does not set a date.
In June, Arrimadas put an end to the sanitary cordon that the three rights had imposed on the Executive of Pedro Sánchez. Ciudadanos, which governs in coalition with the PP in the Community of Madrid, Andalusia, Murcia and Castilla y León, agreed with PSOE and United We Can to support the last two extensions of the state of alarm, as well as the decree of new normality, which finally also supported the PP. In addition, the Arrimadas party agreed with the Government its support for three of the four opinions of the Commission for Reconstruction. To all this they join the bad relations between both parties in its joint government of the Community of Madrid, which have been evidenced during the management of the pandemic.
Genoa 13 believes that the PP is experiencing “a good moment”
Despite the unfavorable scenario to unite the three rights in the PP as Casado claims, the reading that is made from the party leadership on the two years that have elapsed since the primaries cannot be more positive. Despite the fact that with Casado the PP obtained the worst result in its history in generals – obtaining only 66 seats in the elections of April 28, 2019 – and the second most negative of its entire existence – in generals of November 10 it achieved 89 deputies -, the party leadership considers that the popular are living “a good time.”
“The average of the polls places us in a technical tie with the PSOE”, said at the end of June the secretary general of the PP, Teodoro García Egea, taking stock of the two years of Casado’s leadership. Genoa 13 believes that the PP is “the party of consensus and dialogue”, compared to the “most sectarian and radical government of democracy.” This theory was endorsed, in the opinion of the popular leadership, in the elections of July 12 in Euskadi and Galicia, despite the fact that in the Basque case the popular suffered a hard hit – they lost three of the 9 seats they had – with Casado’s personal commitment, and in Galicia Alberto Núñez Feijóo, from the most moderate sector of the party, swept away.
“The elections made it clear that the PP is the only alternative to the Sánchez government. In Spain either the PP governs or the sum of other radical and populist forces. Either Casado governs or Sánchez governs with the support of populists and extremists,” they insist. Casado’s team.
The PP, they point out, is “the great center-right force” in Spain, although two years after the primaries, the Casado leadership continues to ask the voters of Ciudadanos and Vox to unite their vote “in a winning option, alternative to the current “in Moncloa. Citing the polls handled by the PP, Genoa 13 believes that “in the last year Casado has recovered 10 points in voting intention.” “The Spanish are realizing that the only alternative is to bet on Casado,” they conclude.