Cs and PSOE present a motion of censure to kick the PP out of the government of Murcia

Together, the two parties have over half the seats and the goal is for Ciudadanos to preside over the region

Mariona Ferrer i Fornells
3 min
The parliamentary spokesman of Cs in Murcia, Juan José Molina, and the socialist deputies Francisco Lucas and María de Carmen Fernández registering the motion of censure against the PP to the parliament of Murcia.

MadridDeep maneuvering between the PSOE and Ciudadanos in Murcia with important implications at state level. The two parties have filed a motion of censure against the PP to unseat it from the presidency of the autonomous community, where it is part of a coalition government with Ciudadanos and the external support of Vox. The motion, however, is not limited only to the Regional Assembly, but also to the City Council of Murcia. The aim that the current spokesperson of the executive and regional coordinator of Ciudadanos, Ana Martínez Vidal, become the new president to replace the PP's Fernando López Miras. In turn, it also seeks to end the government of Murcia's mayor, José Ballesta, also supported by Ciudadanos, and that the current deputy mayor, Mario Gomez, become the new mayor.

Both the orange party and the Socialists have enough votes to oush forward the two motions of censure, in a move that could be repeated in other communities governed by the PP, such as Castilla y León. In fact, the spokesman for the Socialists in the Senate, Ander Gil, recently told TVE that he was surprised that talks with Ciudadanos in Castilla y León were going "better than they thought". Specifically, the PSOE has 17 deputies in Murcia and Ciudadanos six, and together they add up to just ocer half the seats in Regional Assembly with 23 seats, while the rest of the parties, including Podemos's two representatives, add up to 22 deputies.

The consequences at state level

If consummated, the manoeuvre will mean a hard blow to the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, and would give Ciudadanos a regional presidency for the first time, at a time when Ciudadanos has only 10 seats in Congress. The censure motion seeks to create a cordon sanitaire against Vox, a party that was necessary for the investiture of López Miras in Murcia and which has demanded the implementation of parental veto in exchange for the approval of the budget. Socialist sources in the Spanish government remember that they won the elections in Murcia and that Pablo Casado's PP wanted to stay in power whatever it took. What the PP has experienced is a "mirage", they argue.

Podemos says that they have no intention of entering a government with Ciudadanos because it would be an "inconsistency" right now, although they consider it good news that the PP (and especially Vox) no longer control Murcia. PP sources, in turn, point out that it is an agreement between Ciudadanos, PSOE and Podemos, something that the latter denies. Podemos also highlights that their support is not required for the motion. "The agreement allows radicals to govern in Murcia," the PP adds, and considers it a "great irresponsibility", and more so amidst a pandemic. "Arrimadas breaks her word. She said the agreement would last four years," they add.

At state level, the gesture may involve a rapprochement between Pedro Sánchez and Inés Arrimadas, after the president already flirted with Ciudadanos for the approval of the general budgets of the State. The Spanish president considers the scenario an opportunity at least for the next year and a half during which voters will not be called to the polls.

During this time Ferraz has devised a shift towards the centre. According to the parties that voted the current government in, the PSOE's clashes with Podemos are a strategy to win more moderate votes and, although they insist on maintaining ERC and EH Bildu's support, they hope this move will allow them to seek different alliances at different moments, allowing agreements with Cuidadanos, PDECat or PNV.

Possible replicas in Castilla y León and Madrid?

The main unknown is to what extent this is a coordinated movement at state level. Socialist sources point out has been a long negotiation, which has lasted months, and which culminated last Tuesday night. However, they point out that right now it is only limited to Murcia, although they are willing to negotiate also in Madrid to unseat the president Isabel Diaz Ayuso, although in this case they would need the help of Más Madrid.

Ciudadanos points out that it is an "exceptional" agreement and only limited to Murcia due to a series of events in the region: Murcia's Minister of Health had to resign after he jumped the queue to get vaccinated, there were corruption problems in the capital's City Council and there have been many crossed accusations.

But other socialist sources, this time from members of the Spanish government, predict that the motion of censure could be replicated in other territories because it is a good time because Ciudadanos "has to aspire to become a center-right party that weaves agreements with the PSOE and the PP". "I predict that this way they will surely have better results," the same sources points out.

Given the situation, Vox believes that it is necessary to immediately call snap elections in Madrid, Castilla y León and Andalusia to avoid new motions of censure which would Ciudadanos to hand the regions over to the "public policies of the worst of the left".