11/03/2021

Arrimadas pushes the PP into the arms of Vox

2 min
Pablo Casado and Inés Arrimadas in an archive picture

SubdirectorIt is not at all clear that Inés Arrimadas was aware of the impact that her pact with the PSOE to dislodge the PP from the main institutions in Murcia would have, but the truth is that the earthquake completely changes the correlation of forces on the Spanish political map. From the outset, the fragile equilibrium that still existed in the party between the moderates (in favour of a rapprochement with the PSOE) and the riveristas has been broken. People like Toni Cantó, who negotiated the Valencian budgets with Ximo Puig following the new guidelines of Arrimadas and now denies them, can become the voice of internal opposition towards the leader of Cs and can make the party implode. Every time Rivera's successor takes a step towards the PSOE in exchange for power or influence, she loses votes on the right. And right now she risks being swept away in Madrid by the media steamroller that Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) and Rocío Monasterio (Vox) have set in motion. Words such as "traitor" or "Judas" were trending topic in the networks in reference to Arrimadas.

This is the other major consequence of the movements that took place on Wednesday. With Cs out of the equation of the triple right, the PP now has only one possible partner left, which is Vox. This forces Pablo Casado to abruptly interrupt his (timid and always partial) turn towards moderation and disassociation from Santiago Abascal's party, which he tried in the Catalan elections and which was to culminate in different State pacts with the PSOE (CGPJ, Ombudsman, etc.). Casado's PP, then, will be radicalized and will be, once again, hostage to Ayuso's Madrid core. Even in the event that the Madrid president loses the elections (if there are any), Casado will have a hard time making a difference with a leader who has built a mystique of the Madrid differential in opposition to the leftist government. "The Madrileños have to choose between socialism or freedom", she said yesterday.

Absorption of Cs

Everything suggests that the PP-Cs coalition will hold out in Madrid City Hall, Andalusia and Castilla y León, but it remains to be seen how the political leaders who are now in power but know that they are part of a losing party will move. The PP will try to co-opt values like Begoña Villacís to corner Arrimadas and force a merger in the face of the next elections. This will have to be followed in the coming days and weeks.

And as always, the big winner is Pedro Sánchez, who sees how the triple right is cracking and the opposition is clearly extreme right-wing. But he also loses the room for manoeuvre he had left to agree on state issues with the PP. Somehow, then, if Arrimadas' move pushes Casado into the arms of Vox, it also drags the president towards the left and his partners. There has been much speculation that Sánchez wanted to change the alliance with ERC for Cs, but the problem is the rest of the partners (Unidas Podemos, the PNV, EH Bildu, Más País, Compromís...) are incompatible with the oranges. Will Sánchez dare to step on the accelerator?