Politics 07/05/2021

New wave of departures in Ciudadanos: a former councillor in Madrid and four Valencian MPs leave party

Marta Rivera resigns from Cs as Ayuso plans her new government

3 min
An archive photograph of the Valencian Parliament

BarcelonaCiudadanos' slump in the Madrid elections, in which it was left out of Parliament, has only intensified internal discontent in the party, which this Friday has manifested itself in a new wave of departures. After former Ciudadanos leader in Valencia Toni Cantó defected to the PP, four more deputies of the Valencian Parliament have taken the step of leaving the party. These are Cristina Gabarda, Jesús Salmerón, José Antonio Martínez -who had just been appointed deputy spokesman- and Sunsi Sanchis -who had just entered the Parliament replacing Cantó-. In parallel, former Minister of Culture in the Community of Madrid Marta Rivera has also left the party. During the election campaign she already participated in an event with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has to plan the structure of her new government after doubling her seats in the Madrid Assembly, and Rivera may be included.

The four Valencian deputies have announced it in a statement published on social networks, in which they express their dissatisfaction with "the new direction of the party" and say they consider that "Cs has been abandoning the liberal principles" that they defend. "We see how the ideological turn of Cs to become a Sánchez's crutch is confirmed," they say. The four MPs explain that they have taken the decision after "long reflection". "We present ourselves before all Valencians saying no to Sanchismo, saying no to populism, saying no to nationalism," they insist in the text. "We cannot be in a party that is capable of governing and supporting the policies of those who are the opposite of our principles and values"

They are also critical of "the lack of self-criticism" of the leadership after the bad results in the Catalan and Madrid elections and the fiasco in Murcia: "The same leaders who led Cs to lose 90% of its votes in Catalonia or to disappear in Madrid are still clinging to the position without taking any responsibility". They say that they leave the party with "sadness", despite the fact that they will stay on as MPs. Therefore, the group of Cs is now left with 14 seats, and the party thus becomes the fourth political force in the Valencian parliament, behind Compromís (17).

As well as the MPs, local councillors such as Paula Archelos in Castellón and María Jesús Sanchis in Borriana have also left the party. They made their decision known on social media.

Albert Rivera reappears on the scene: "The last thing someone can do in life is to lose themselves".

The former president of Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, has greatly limited his assessments regarding the course taken by the new party after he resigned over the bad results in the last general elections, in which the party lost 47 seats. This silence has been interpreted internally as resounding criticism of Inés Arrimadas's management. In addition, Rivera's secretary of organisation, Fran Hervías, defected to the PP. This Friday Rivera has reappeared in an event in which he has made a studied assessment of the electoral results. He avoided censuring the current executive but he did not offer support either.

"Of course I have an opinion, of course I have seen the results in Catalonia, Madrid, Murcia. I have seen it all," he said. "That's why it's better that I don't speak in public". "The last thing anyone can do in life is to lose themselves", he continued. "It's not for me to give my opinion on a political project that I founded and presided over for thirteen years". However, he has boasted of his "work" at the head of Cs and has claimed that "he has friends who have left Cs" but also has them "inside Cs": "I do not distinguish between good or bad people depending on whether they are inside or outside". With these words he has also avoided criticising those who have moved to the PP's ranks. In fact, the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, appointed him a member of a university board of trustees in the Community of Madrid in April.