A pitiful week in Spanish politics

2 min

Murcia has thrown Spanish politics into disarray in the space of a week. The attempted no-confidence motion against the PP president of the community by Cs and PSOE has accelerated the recomposition of forces and balances within both the right and the left. The most damaged has been Inés Arrimadas, who in a few days has seen how her strategy of starting to seek equidistance between PP and PSOE in Murcia has ended in a great fiasco that, in fact, calls into question the viability of Ciudadanos, a party now affected by an unstoppable flight of positions. The waning trend of the orange party is nothing new, it has simply been precipitated and leaves the party's leader on the ropes. The winner of the week is the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has not hesitated to take advantage of the occasion to throw herself back into the electoral arena with the undisguised aim of recovering all the space on the right for the PP, leaving Cs as residual traitors and embracing the far-right Vox without qualms. If Ayuso triumphs on May 4, she will be in a position to set herself up as the natural successor to a blurred Casado, who has wanted to turn the page on Rajoyism without fully embracing either Aznarism or moderation. With Ayuso, there is no doubt that the hardest and most ideologically uncomplicated PP is returning: neoliberal, and ultra-Spanish. In any case, the triple right may soon be a memory.

Nor is the outlook on the left peaceful. The week in Murcia has served to unleash the first major crisis within the PSOE-Podemos coalition government with the announcement by the leader of the podemite party, Pablo Iglesias, that he will leave the Cabinet to run for the presidency of the Community of Madrid in order to challenge Díaz Ayuso. Iglesias has thus managed to distance himself from a PSOE that is not making things easy for him in the Moncloa in order to set his own profile. Podemos does not want to be absorbed by the socialist shredder and, in fact, aspires to establish itself in Madrid as the useful option for the left-wing vote. Thus, the partners in government will compete on May 4 at the polls for the anti-Ayuso vote. For Sánchez it has certainly not been as disastrous a week as for Arrimadas, but it has been a disappointing one. He has practically run out of the wild card of Cs, he is beginning to fear that his government partners will grow and, moreover, he sees how the PP, which was at a low ebb, with Ayuso all of a sudden has the possibility of strengthening itself and mobilising and concentrating the right-wing vote.

Even in the midst of the pandemic and economic crisis, with the European funds at stake, Spanish politics this week has been devoted to the everlasting spectacle of irresponsible partisan squabbling, with floor-crossing included. The spectacle of this new shake-up is depressing.