The relationship between Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s options to be president of the Government and the hardening of the PP’s discourse is inversely proportional. As the former decrease, the latter increases. The foreseeable fiasco of the investiture at the end of September, recognized by the candidate himself, and the possibility that Pedro Sánchez will be re-elected president, has inflamed the most extreme wing of the right, with Ayuso and Aznar at the forefront. But Feijóo himself, with different language, insists on his strategy of delegitimizing State institutions and preventively attacks the Constitutional Court, in addition to calling for street events to cover up his defeat.
Feijóo encourages the conspiracy about the Post Office and asks the postmen to “distribute all the votes” despite “their bosses”
Knives are not flying, for the moment, within the PP. The party supports Feijóo in the attempt to investiture him and, in a majority, in his plan to lead the opposition to a hypothetical Government of PSOE and Sumar. The idea, rather the wish, is that the complex arithmetic of support for Sánchez’s investiture becomes unviable over time, and the Executive declines within two years.
It is the deadline given at the national headquarters of the PP, and shared by the regional leaders consulted by elDiario.es. These two years are the duration of the hypothetical Government that Feijóo proposed to Pedro Sánchez in his meeting a few days ago in Congress and that the general secretary of the PSOE rejected.
Two weeks before his own inauguration, Feijóo is preparing to lead the opposition or, in the best case scenario for him, for a repeat election after next Christmas, and in which the PP hopes to improve the result of 23J , very far from their expectations, but above all from having options to govern.
The confirmation of the fiasco has thus changed the strategy of the PP, where an increasingly harsh discourse, of frontist rhetoric, and a deepening of the continuous delegitimization of the democratic institutions of the State, are taking flight. A strategy undertaken at the time by Pablo Casado and squeezed by Feijóo himself, which has already targeted the Constitutional Court.
The court of guarantees has rejected the PSOE’s claim to recount the thousands of invalid votes cast last June 23 in Madrid. A victory for the PP, which thus guarantees seat 137, which has served Feijóo’s party to attack the body that ensures compliance with the Constitution in Spain.
“Not even this Constitutional Court has been able to agree with the PSOE,” said the PP in a statement in which they denounce an “institutional assault perpetrated by Sánchez in recent years,” despite the fact that Genoa has blocked the Judiciary since more than five years ago.
In public statements, many PP leaders have suggested that the unanimous decision of the Constitutional Court is part of an alleged plan to “whitewash” a future and hypothetical decision on the amnesty. “The PP of Madrid is satisfied with the Constitutional Court’s rejection of the PSOE’s appeal, but we hope that this resolution does not serve to whitewash possible and future pronouncements of the Constitutional Court,” said the general secretary of Isabel Díaz Ayuso and senator, Alfonso Serrano.
Ayuso, the “sides”, the “combat” and Felipe VI
The most belligerent speech is once again led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso. The Madrid president had returned from vacation with a lower profile than she is used to. She has shown her support for Feijóo on different occasions, and she only slightly criticized the empty attempt by her leader to approach the PSOE. About the approach to Junts, not a word.
But all the complacency that the ‘leader’ showed with Feijóo turned her into a harsh speech towards her political rivals. With his president sitting in the front row, Ayuso resorted to rhetoric from 100 years ago.
“We find ourselves with a front for the first time in many decades. A front that operates against, not in favor of, Spain,” he said at an event to begin the political course of the PP in Madrid. “Whatever they do, it’s their side. As in the 20th century, they take us into combat,” he added. “That front does not need to win elections. It is enough for all of Spain to lose. They break coexistence throughout the country, they take the problem of coexistence that has existed in Catalonia to all of Spain. So that we cannot understand each other among friends, families, brothers. The worst of all is not that they want to disagree, they deny others. They deny the other supposed side,” he concluded.
Spain is “increasingly closer to a secular and plurinational federal republic,” he also said. Two weeks later, Ayuso went to the Zarzuela Palace for an audience with the king. As she later revealed, she told Felipe VI that she was “very concerned about coexistence, that people from the left are not listened to.”
“I am very worried that they will divide us into two sides,” she said. Those sides that she herself had encouraged a few days before. “It would be a sin if coexistence were broken,” she added. “Madrid has a historical and moral obligation to Spain,” she told journalists waiting outside the head of state’s residence.
elDiario.es has tried to confirm with the King’s House whether Ayuso really spoke in these terms before Felipe VI, and what his opinion is regarding that opinion. Zarzuela has refused to comment on either issue.
Faced with this royal silence, Ayuso tweeted a message in which he showed his “trust” in Felipe de Borbón.
Aznar, terrorism and the independentists
Ayuso’s speech has been complemented by José María Aznar. The former president of the Government took advantage on Tuesday of the start of a session of the foundation he presides, Faes, to demand in Spain a social mobilization like the one that shook the country after the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco by ETA in 1997: the “Enough is enough!” The ‘Campus Faes’ is dedicated almost monographically to the war in Ukraine, but Aznar did not even mention it in the inauguration speech. On Friday, the closing will be carried out by Feijóo.
“An operation is underway to dismantle the Constitution, to destroy its legitimacy,” he said. “Secessionism driven by the PSOE believes it has found its moment,” he added. “Spain accumulates civic energy, institutions and national critical mass to prevent this project of constitutional deconstruction,” he noted. A phrase that Ayuso collected on his social networks.
Aznar used very harsh language. “It will not be the first time that the strength of Spanish society has been tested,” he said. “Spain cannot and will not return to a system based on exclusion, sectarianism, or the programmed destruction of the nation,” he noted. And he added, as a slight historical context, that this “return” referred to the “grotesque and ridiculous cantonalism”, to some vague “politics of sectarianism” and, finally, a reference to the Civil War of the last century: “Not even the “Spain of winners and losers.”
“The danger does not come from outside; “It is induced by a political force, the Socialist Party,” said Aznar. And he concluded: “Some want to confirm our worst story, confirm that, indeed, in Spain sooner or later the evil of division and failure ends up emerging.”
The reference to the social mobilization against ETA, assimilating the Catalan independence process with the terrorism that caused the death of almost 900 people, was not gratuitous. That same morning of September 12, Catalan Civil Society called a demonstration in Barcelona for October 8.
The ghost of Columbus photo
Many PP leaders ran to sign up. Among the first, Ayuso. Also the leader of the Catalan PP, Alejandro Fernández, confronted with Feijóo for control of the party. And Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, picked up by the PP leader as a deputy for Madrid in the recent elections. Vox later joined the march.
But, for now, the national leadership of the PP has not said that it will attend. What’s more, at the moment the indications are that they prefer not to do so. This has been leaked from the top to some media this Wednesday, and was confirmed by the general secretary, Cuca Gamarra, who defended in an interview on Antena 3 the battery of motions for city councils and regional parliaments that Feijóo announced on Monday in his speech before the National Board of Directors.
Gamarra left attendance at the October 8 march up in the air. In the morning, the secretary of the Congress Board for the PP Guillermo Mariscal was also unable to say whether he or someone from the leadership would support the march.
The ghost of the 2019 Columbus photo (and its fateful replica of 2021, at least for Casado) flies over Genoa. So far, Feijóo only has two photographs with the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal. The first, in an official act of the Armed Forces. The second, in Congress during a meeting for the Galician’s investiture. Both images have a certain institutional character and are based on his public position.
But a photo of Feijóo and Abascal on the street, demonstrating against the Government is something else. And in the PP they do not seem to have decided what to do on October 8.
What the PP does plan is an “open event” in Madrid on September 24, the weekend before Feijóo’s investiture. The call was launched this Wednesday by Gamarra herself in her interview on Antena 3, which led many to think that it was a reaction to Aznar’s words and the Barcelona march scheduled for October.
The reality, as confirmed by elDiario.es, is that last Monday Feijóo informed his regional leaders about the celebration of the event, and in fact the PP of Madrid has also already received the task of finding a location to do so.
Feijóo’s rhetoric and his direction, far removed from that of Aznar and Ayuso in form, have thus gone from that of a candidate to be appointed President of the Government to someone who is preparing to lead the opposition.
The deputy secretary of Territorial Organization and Feijóo’s ‘right-hand man’, Miguel Tellado, assured this Wednesday at a press conference in the Basque Country that “there is a popular outcry in the streets against Sánchez’s claims.” “We represent that clamor, we are obliged to give an outlet to that citizen fatigue that is fed up with concessions, concessions and blackmail. We will take to the streets to vindicate our democracy and our Constitution,” he concluded.
Feijóo himself, in his defense of Aznar when the acting Government called him a “coup plotter” for his speech in Faes, tweeted: “The same Government that, before losing the elections, called the amnesty inadmissible, is now negotiating it with independentists while insulting the former presidents who rebel over this.”
And he concludes: “They did it with González and now with Aznar. Spain will not remain silent in the face of its immorality.”