The "refoundation" of Ciudadanos: a decalogue without news despite the expectation created by Arrimadas
On June 19, a few days after the crash suffered by Ciudadanos in Andalusia –the third in just over a year–, Inés Arrimadas announced that she was not resigning because it would be "the easiest thing" and had decided to continue leading the party, as His colleagues from the expanded Executive and the General Council had asked him, meeting precisely to analyze that debacle and see how they faced the future. It was then that he pointed out that he had made that decision to immediately start a "refounding" process that would involve "questioning everything": the project, the brand, and also his own leadership and management, in order to try to revive the party of ahead of the next electoral appointments of 2023.
According to the party's top leader, it would be the militants who would make all those decisions within six months, without specifying through which channels they would do so. Criticism rained down from some sectors and they demanded the convening of an Extraordinary General Assembly to put periods and commas to all those changes and to vote for the continuity of the current Executive or give way to a new direction. But the proposal was discarded and the idea of that "refoundation" triumphed.
With this, the leader of Ciudadanos aroused the curiosity of locals and strangers, especially because a year earlier, after the resounding failure also in the autonomous elections in Madrid, the party had held a political convention with the same purpose: to promote the party and highlight his “centre, reformist” profile, but above all “liberal” and “Europeanist”. In that conclave she already planned the idea of changing the brand to the party. In fact, Arrimadas herself and the leaders who starred in it began to appear with posters that read the word "Liberals" without the name of the party being seen anywhere.
The militants participated in that political convention sending their ideas and proposals to the different papers. "Be attentive to the mail because we will continue to tell you about the different participation actions and how you can be part of the convention," the party's leadership informed them. Now they have also received a very similar message to be informed of the progress of the work of this new "refoundation", which according to the leader they are the ones who are going to lead it. The result of all that was limited to the approval of a series of resolutions that the party published on its social networks and assumed to try to "re-excite" its voters.
What is the difference between that convention and the refoundation process announced now? According to sources from the Executive, "one thing has nothing to do with the other" because then they did not intend to make "profound changes" either in the project or in the teams. "Now we are going to question everything," they point out. Arrimadas herself tried to explain it the day she announced the idea: "It will be a process in which the militancy and civil society redefine what the key ideas of the party are, the program and discuss the ways of communication." In addition, she added: "There will be a strong renovation of teams and image".
“We have to recover the illusion and connect with the Spaniards who still want a party that represents what we want, but who have to feel again that Ciudadanos is a useful party that solves their problems”, he verbalized with phrases that sound like the ears. a year ago, although they deny it from the party. The leader boasted that they were also going to carry out "the greatest exercise of militancy participation of any Spanish political party."
For this new stage, Arrimadas has also made use of two of his most trusted leaders: Begoña Villacís, deputy mayor of Madrid, who is coordinating the work, and the deputy for Málaga, Guillermo Díaz, who acts as spokesperson for the so-called 'Team for la Refundación' in which there are also Eva Masías (mayor of Ciudad Real), Dimas Gragera (spokesperson for Ciudadanos in Santa Coloma), Mariano Fuentes (councillor of the Madrid City Council), Adrián Vázquez (MEP), María Muñoz (national deputy) and Patricia Guasp (coordinator in the Balearic Islands). The intention is that this previous work is visible "in September" and that it ends in January.
In a recent interview with elDiario.es, Begoña Villacís He abounded about the end of that process, although at the same time he added more mystery: "This is about making an apology for centrist liberal radicalism. In other words, you can be radically centrist, you can. And everything happens by being braver than you that we have been until now and say things that only a party like Ciudadanos can allow itself to say clearly". What are those things that they are going to say now and nobody has ever said them? Was the next question of that interview. The deputy mayor limited herself to answering that they would get to know each other because at the moment all those involved in that Refoundation Team have a "confidentiality clause", while insisting that "this is not a sheet metal and paint process: there is nothing to It has to do with the color, with the name. It has to do with defending an ideology, presenting it to the public and accepting that it is going to seduce many people who have not heard that kind of brave speech for a long time, which is necessary for Spain, and there will be people who don't like it." Ciudadanos aspires to occupy the "radical center", ditched Villacís.
Over the last few weeks, the members of that team have dedicated themselves to opening a "listening" period, in which both public and organic officials of the party itself as well as personalities from the civil sphere have participated. Specifically, between July 16 and 23, debates were held at the party's headquarters that they described as "hugely fruitful", together with a hundred councilors and mayors from Ciudadanos.
The first results of these sessions were presented by Villacís and Díaz last week and consist of a decalogue of ideas made in sections: freedom, equality, truth, middle classes, Spain, growth, environment, seriousness and Spain and Europe in the world. As explained by the deputy from Malaga, it is "a declaration of principles, not of intentions", which will serve as the basis for political action in the coming months with "absolute solemnity".
Supported by some slides, the spokesman explained what some of these principles consist of. As he said, the "only dogma" of Ciudadanos will be "freedom, understood in its broadest sense, from civil liberties in the face of any arbitrary threat, sheltered in emergency speeches." In addition, and in the face of "the permanent dilemma between right and left", the party will always bet on "individual freedom", according to Díaz, acting with "seriousness" and responsibility" in politics with the "always defense of the truth, Although sometimes it's uncomfortable.
That ideology includes "support for the middle classes" and the birth rate, "which should be a priority"; "the defense of Spain" and its unity; a clear "commitment to the environment"; and a reaffirmation of the "European vocation of the project". Along with this, the deputy pointed out the need to "promote tourism" and provide "greater protection of heritage with traditional uses." "There is nothing more patriotic than taking care of heritage," said the Malaga deputy.
This Friday the party communicated to the 2,000 militants who are registered to participate in the refoundation that they would be informed in a digital meeting of the first phases of that listening process and the decisions adopted.
But while the party works to try to convince its supporters and citizens that it is possible to revive the project, as the German liberals managed, in which they look to take an example given that they came to disappear from the Bundestag and are now part of the government coalition with Social Democrats and Greens, the leader herself continues to sow doubts about its continuity.
In the last interviews he has given, he has revealed that he has been tempted to throw in the towel several times. "I have a three-month-old baby at home, from whom I have only taken a six-week maternity leave, and a two-year-old boy whom I see much less than I need," he recalled, noting that his future is already It does not depend on her but on the militancy. "My leadership, the brand, the program, the teams and the management have to submit to the support of the bases", he has stressed on several occasions. But afterwards she always adds that she still feels "with strength" and "sufficient support" to move forward if the militants so decide. "I don't want to be a problem for the party, not even leaving when I shouldn't be leaving people lying around or staying", she has also said, ruling out a jump to the PP, where they have offered "everything".