The PP tries to neutralize the statements of its own president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, admitting specific differences with the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. “We don’t always agree on everything,” admitted the Galician politician in an interview with EL PAÍS. “But the one who bothers Isabel Díaz Ayuso the most is the Government,” he added, opening the door to interpret that some of the regional president’s statements have hurt her own party. “For the PP it is a political asset in Madrid,” he concluded, limiting Díaz Ayuso’s field of action to the region that she presides over. Although the environment of the regional president normally lives these declarations (“This is a party, not a religion”), and she has said this Monday that she feels that her formation “supports” her decisions, the conservative spokesmen face each other time to the same questions about the coexistence between the two politicians, which sometimes makes it difficult for the PP to focus the media agenda on matters of interest to them.
Thus, Javier Fernández Lasquetty, head of Economy, Finance and Employment in Madrid, was forced on Sunday to explain that Feijóo and Ayuso defend “exactly the same principles: freedom, lower taxes, contain authoritarianism and the pressure of the Government that gets into in everything, reduce the debt, control public spending”.
A line of argument that Pedro Rollán, national deputy secretary of the PP, had already had to lead in an interview with Europe Press: “There is no discrepancy or conflict between President Feijóo and President Ayuso.”
Once Feijóo’s statements were known, the Madrid PP reacted in the same way: “We laugh every time we try to read between the lines a statement from the national PP, or from Madrid, looking for a quarrel,” said a politician with gallons in the two structures.
And this is how a source close to Díaz Ayuso summed up the situation: “The government campaign [de Pedro Sánchez] to confront them is absurd”.
However, the situation is more complex than these statements imply. Feijóo came to power in April, with the mission of closing the crisis unleashed by the clash between the outgoing leader, Pablo Casado, and the Madrid baroness, and promising this “freedom” of action.
Since then, the PP has tried a triple distribution of roles to attract as many voters as possible with the aim of winning the next general election. Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, the president of Andalusia, represents moderation. Díaz Ayuso, the president of Madrid, is the constant opposition against the proposals of the central government. And Núñez Feijóo, who accumulated one absolute majority after another in Galicia, aspires to embody the experience of management in times of uncertainty.
However, some of the controversies that Díaz Ayuso is the protagonist of have left the national leadership of his party offside. It happened with the regional educational scholarships to which families earning more than 100,000 euros are eligible (“You can discuss what is the appropriate income threshold to be able to have a scholarship,” said Feijóo). Also, with Madrid’s appeal to the Supreme Court for the Baccalaureate curriculum, which was not seconded by any other region governed by the PP, no matter how much the national leadership endorsed it a posteriori. Something similar happened when Díaz Ayuso complained of having to “hold out for a month” with Pride. Or with the controversy generated around the application of the energy saving decree sponsored by the central government, which has put the party in a bind for several days.
Thus, this Monday, just a few hours after Núñez Feijóo explained that the PP would comply with the new rules, even if he considered them “an act of authoritarianism”, Díaz Ayuso stressed that the two politicians agree. “The president of the PP and I agree on this, that this decree portrays the government as authoritarian, arbitrary and sloppy,” said the president of Madrid during the acts of the festivity of the Virgen de la Paloma, patron saint of firefighters. “Madrid is not going to be turned off by decree, it is going to be turned off because Sánchez imposes it that way, in an authoritarian manner and without consensus,” she continued. “We are going to go to the Constitutional Court to appeal with all the tools provided by the Rule of Law to show that we have not acted correctly and in accordance with the law,” she added. “I feel supported by my party, of course it is not in mine where there are, right now, neither strong disputes nor internal problems, quite the opposite. We respect each other and we are aware that each region is different ”, she closed, referring to the fact that Madrid is the only community governed by the PP that has shown an intention to go to the high court.
In the middle of the August holidays, those phrases showed that nothing has changed in regional and national politics. The Madrid government will continue to be the battering ram of the PP opposition against Sánchez, no matter how much this sometimes produces discordant notes within the conservative formation.
“Sánchez’s time is exhausted (…) And he wants to drag us down with him,” said Díaz Ayuso, who came to power for the first time three years ago now. A time marked by constant clashes with La Moncloa: from economic and fiscal policy, through the management of the pandemic, the discrepancies have been constant. This is how Pilar Alegría, Minister of Education and spokesperson for the PSOE, has summed it up: “[Madrid] he usually poses on repeated occasions a position of revolt”.
subscribe here to our daily newsletter about Madrid.