Galicia is not Spain, by Astrid Barrio

The People’s Party is immersed in the deepest crisis in its history. It is a multidimensional crisis whose latest episode – the resignation of Pablo Casado and the convening of an extraordinary congress to elect a new president of the party as a result of the denunciation by the leadership of the alleged favorable treatment of the president of the Madrid’s community, Isabel Diaz Ayuso towards his brother in the purchase of masks in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic and Ayuso’s reaction accusing the management of espionage and foul play- has been nothing more than the fuse that has lit the flame of a long brewing conflict.

Since June 2018, due to corruption, Mariano Rajoy was suddenly ousted from power by the motion of censure which led to Pedro Sanchez to the Moncloa, the popular have not finished finding their place nor have they been able to define a coherent strategy, circumstances that are not only explained by the inexperience of the new batch of leaders with Paul Married to the head. There are at least two other explanatory factors. In the first place, the impact of the profound change that the party system has undergone in Spain in recent years, which has led the PP to be threatened, for the first time since its birth in 1989 with the refoundation of Alianza Popular, his electoral hunting ground due to the emergence of competitors. Already in 2015 the space in the center had begun to shrink due to the presence of Ciudadanos y since the Andalusian elections of 2018 Vox has become an electorally competitive rival to his right. The PP, consequently, and with the permission of the ephemeral UPyD, has ceased to be the only party to the right of the PSOE, the great achievement of the trip to the center undertaken by Jose Maria Aznar in the 1990s and culminated in the disappearance of the centrism embodied by the CDS. And on the other hand, because for the first time in the history of the PP the replacement of its leader, Rajoy, took place in a disputed manner and displaying a notable internal division. Casado was the first -and perhaps also the last- popular leader to gain access to the presidency of the party through a primary process and having done so only with the endorsement of 57% of the votes.

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A changing and uncertain environment, as well as a fragile leadership and very soon challenged by emerging figures like Ayuso, became an explosive combination that led to strategic lurches: from the photo of Colón that brought together the right and center-right to disassociate yourself from Vox in the motion of censure or to accept former members of Vox in the Government of Murcia to try to avoid the involvement of Vox in the future Government of Castilla y León.

In the midst of the current crisis, the territorial barons of the PP have turned their backs on Casado and have unanimously turned their gazes to the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. And they have surely done so because in their hearts they yearn for what Feijóo has in Galicia, that is, the reminiscence of a past that was but will no longer return to the whole of Spain. That is to say, a party system that has hardly moved, with no presence of the new parties and with an absolute hegemony of a PP that has been able to contain both Vox and Ciudadanos. But Galicia is not Spain. In fact, Spain is much more like Madrid, although perhaps not as much as Ayuso believes. But at least Feijóo raises internal consensus, which is already more than the starting point that Casado enjoyed, although his model cannot be extrapolated. The future leader of the PP will enjoy internal unity, which is very useful in terms of legitimacy and stability. But that will not prevent you from having to devise a strategy to compete in a party system very different from the one they are used to, highly fragmented and in which their political space is highly threatened, not by Ciudadanos, in low hours, but by Vox, the party that is on its way to becoming the right-wing party. And these parties that are very useful from a systemic point of view when they are not needed for the government are worse than a biblical plague, as has been seen in Catalonia with the CUP, if the governments depend on them. That is Feijóo’s challenge.

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