Politics 11/03/2021

Arrimadas, caught between two sides: the PP launches a hostile takeover bid for Cs and the Moncloa demands more pacts from her

The 'Boletín Oficial de la Comunidad de Madrid' (Madrid Community Official Gazette) publishes the call for elections in Madrid

4 min
The leader of Ciutadans, Inés Arrimadas, yesterday Wednesday marching of the Congress.

BarcelonaWhile Inés Arrimadas accuses Isabel Díaz Ayuso of believing in the ghost of a non-existent no-confidence motion in Madrid, the PP leader is already on the campaign trail. And its first steps suggest that what until yesterday was a stable relationship based on coalition governments has now become an attempt at a hostile takeover bid against Ciudadanos. The attack is in the form of swallowing its electorate and its leaders. This Wednesday Teodoro García Egea, secretary general of the PP, already opened the door "to all the militants and leaders of Cs defrauded with Arrimadas", and this Thursday Díaz Ayuso herself has stated on esRadio that "if there is the possibility" she will try to "count on" people from Ciudadanos, the orange party, in her electoral list.

Arrimadas, however, continues to sail between two ships and is focused on reiterating that the disaster in Madrid was caused by the PP. The orange leader has insisted on the fact that the decision to ally with the PSOE in Murcia to remove the PP from the government responds to "ethical" reasons due to the Vacunagate, and that the change of alliances "is limited only to one territory". "Our team in Murcia could not sleep; the easiest thing is to cover it up, but they could not", Arrimadas said. For this reason, the orange leader has denied that the movement in Murcia is state-wide - she has said that she has not spoken or negotiated with Pedro Sánchez on the subject - and that Díaz Ayuso has been threatened by a non-existent no-confidence vote. To justify this, Arrimadas has confirmed that Cs will vote against kicking the PP out of the government of Castilla y León - yesterday the PSOE presented a vote of no confidence in this territory, where the executive is also formed by the Popular and Orange parties. "We will show that Ayuso is wrong", Arrimadas told Cope.

Meanwhile, the Moncloa is pressuring Ciudadanos to become a regular partner in Parliament as well. Spain's minister spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, has welcomed Arrimadas' turnaround in Murcia and encouraged her to become an important centre-right party that acts as a "hinge" between the PP and the PSOE, capable of making a bipartisan pact. In an interview with TVE, she pointed out that the PP has thrown itself into the arms of Vox with Ayuso's operation and called for elections in the middle of the pandemic "madness", when just a few weeks ago she defended elections in Catalonia despite the third wave of the coronavirus. According to Montero, the coalition with Unidas Podemos is not at risk, which she assured is "firm and stable", despite the fact that she has spoken little about the investiture bloc.

The government that is not in danger either is that of the Madrid City Council, of PP and Cs, since today the orange deputy mayor of the city, Begoña Villacís, has affirmed that her commitment to Almeida's mayoralty is still intact. "I called him to tell him that I was presenting a no-confidence motion, and we both laughed", Villacís ironised on Telecinco. Beyond the balance of power in the right-wing coalitions, if the elections in Madrid are finally a reality, a new uncertain scenario will open up. Who would Cs support? Arrimadas has not wished to comment on this aspect: neither has she ruled out that her new partner of choice would be the PSOE, nor has she denied that she could return to support Díaz Ayuso.

Elections called

Meanwhile, the elections in the Community of Madrid on 4 May are now official, although everything points to the courts deciding whether a vote will be held. This Thursday, the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM) published decree 15/201, signed by Díaz Ayuso, which dictates the dissolution of the Assembly of Madrid, the calling of elections on 4 May and the dismissal of all Ciudadanos (Cs) councillors. The electoral campaign, according to the decree, will begin on Sunday 18 April and end on Monday 3 May 2021 - the elections will be held on a Tuesday - and the constituent session of the Assembly will be held on 8 June 2021.

The legal impasse

Article 2 of Law 5/1990, which develops the power of the presidency to dissolve the Assembly, details that "the decree of dissolution shall be published in the BOCM and shall enter into force at the time of publication". Thus, this Thursday early in the morning the elections would already be officially called. However, the PSOE and Más Madrid registered two no-confidence motions to stop the appointment in the polls on Wednesday and were effective at 13 h yesterday, when the table of the Assembly registered them. The elections are now official, but the no-confidence motions are also official, although the official journal of the Madrid chamber has yet to publish them - a fact that is also expected to take place this Thursday. The elections, then, have entered into a legal mess that will be difficult to get out of without the conflict going through the courts. And the key to everything is in the law. Article 21.2 of the Statute of Autonomy of Madrid says that "the president may not agree to the dissolution of the Assembly when vote of no confidence is being processed".

Ayuso, however, is hiding behind the fact that the chamber is dissolved once the president signs the call for elections - she did it before the processing of the no-confidence votes. In turn, PSOE and Más País defend Article 21.2, which would give them the reason, since the admission of the motions was before the call was published in the BOCM. In turn, PSOE and Más País defend article 21.2, which would give them the upper hand, since the motions were admitted before the call was published in the BOCM. The current PSOE spokesperson in Madrid, Ángel Gabilondo, has predicted in an interview on Telecinco that everything will end up in court, although he stressed that the Socialists have not yet challenged anything.