The PP, a broken and rudderless party

2 min
Ayuso and Casado, this January

BarcelonaThe People's Party (PP), the party that governed Spain with an absolute majority during the 2017 Independence Referendum and suspended Catalan self-rule, is today a shadow of its former self. Today it is a smaller party, anxious about Vox, without a clear position on the far right, without a strong leadership and, as of this Thursday, totally fractured into two irreconcilable halves. The internal war that Pablo Casado has started against Isabel Díaz Ayuso, beyond the motivations for either side, is a political suicide for the PP. Spanish president Pedro Sánchez sees with satisfaction how the opposition is bleeding to death in internal fights and that, even when the Socialists lose, as they did in Castilla y León, they end up winning because it is the PP who now has the problem of forming a government with Vox.

It must be stressed that the political culture of the PP is that of strong leadership and internal discipline, and this has been the recipe that Casado has tried to apply through his strongman, Teodoro García Egea. The problem is that Casado is in the opposition and has no institutional power, and that is why Ayuso, who controls a budget similar to that of the Generalitat, had seen the opportunity to consolidate her position and become president of the PP's Madrid branch. Casado must now regret having handpicked Ayuso to be a candidate in Madrid when she was unknown, and not having seen that he would not find in her anything resembling loyalty or even less discipline. Especially since the moment Miguel Ángel Rodríguez became the main adviser to the Madrid president.

Ayuso has become a problem for Casado because she is an electoral phenomenon that appeals far beyond the PP's base, as was revealed in the Castilla y León elections, where PP candidate Mañueco was only able to repeat his result from three years ago. But, instead of trying to take advantage of it for their own benefit, the PP has tried to discredit the Madrid leader. The solutions, after yesterday's harsh exchange of accusations between Ayuso and García Egea, are all bad for the PP. Expelling Ayuso from the party would leave it without its main electoral stalwart and, in addition, would open the door for the Madrid president to set up her own platform. A split by the Madrid PP would be lethal for Casado and his aspirations to reach Moncloa.

The other solution, trying to get along, will be absolutely nightmarish. What will they do every time Ayuso and Casado coincide in an event? What will happen if, as everything suggests, the Madrid party members vote for her as president of the regional PP? A war of attrition would hurt Casado more for the simple reason that he is only currently only aspiring to a position, while Ayuso actually holds one. Either one of the two will back down, which is difficult, or there is no possible way out.

Finally, it is interesting to note that, after Aznar predicted the fracture of Catalonia due to the independence bid, it is now the PP that is breaking into a multitude of pieces, a broken mirror which will be very difficult to put back together again.