The PP and democratic degradation
BarcelonaThe PP was already the first party to be convicted of corruption as a political organisation, and this Friday its third conviction has been confirmed, all three relating to the Gürtel case. In this case it was the plot that operated in the Madrid municipality of Boadilla del Monte which came before the court. Between 2001 and 2009 public awards were made by the Francisco Correa's cronies in exchange for commissions that PP officials and the party shared. The ruling certifies that this money part was used to pay campaigns in the municipal elections of 2003 and 2007, and for this reason the PP has been found guilty of profiting from the scheme and will be forced to pay a €204,000 fine. Among those convicted, the sentence imposed on the former mayor of the town Arturo González Panero stands out: 36 years and 11 months.
The sentence comes a few days after the changeover at the head of the PP, so that each of the three sentences has caught the party with a different leader. The first one provoked the motion of censure that finished off Mariano Rajoy. The second, that of the slush fund, broke out when Pablo Casado was trying to consolidate his leadership and, in fact, led him to promise that the party would abandon its headquarters in Génova street, since its refurbishment had been paid for with dirty money. And now the case of Boadilla del Monte, a town on the outskirts of Madrid, which is the place where it all began. In total, and not counting pending cases in Valencia, the High Court will still hear four more corruption cases, so the spectre of corruption will continue to haunt Núñez Feijóo.
Although it seems that the PP electorate has forgiven all these scandals after many of its voters took refuge in Ciudadanos for a while, Spanish democracy has not yet made a serious reflection on two aspects. Firstly, how to face the reality of a political party that was itself a corrupt organisation, as is the case of the PP. And secondly, how to assume that most of the elections that have taken place in the democratic period were doped by the opaque money that the PP had at its disposal. Without a clear answer to these two questions, Spanish democracy will continue to be flawed.
As for Núñez Feijóo, it would be good to hear a clear condemnation of corruption and a thorough cleansing of the party. But he will hardly do so because precisely those who have helped him up to leadership were in office during Mariano Rajoy's time, and, therefore, co-responsible for the darkest era of the party. When the PP asks itself why part of its electorate has abandoned it and taken refuge in the far right, it should answer that the party's corruption is one of the determining reasons. If the far right can today hold an anti-establishment and anti-political discourse today, it is because some politicians have plundered the public coffers. The PP is also, in this matter, responsible for democratic degradation.