With the goal of “beating Sánchez” and governing, the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, will take over the reins of the PP in April and begin a path full of challenges, including sewing up the wounds opened by the conflict between Pablo Married and Isabel Diaz Ayuso, define the relationship with Vox and relaunch the opposition to the Government, with which it is willing to agree.
Although no one doubts that Feijóo will be the new leader, he will not formally take office until April 1 and 2, when he will be elected at a national congress in Seville, to which he arrives by acclamation because the heavyweights of the PP see in him the remedy to stop the internal bleeding and rescue the party.
There are several open fronts even before the conclave and with the PP in the interim; the most important is war. Russia’s attack on Ukraine threatens the world order and Before arriving in Genoa, Feijóo has already offered “unity of action” to the Government.
In parallel, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco must negotiate the formation of the Government of Castilla y León, where he has a free hand to agree with Vox, and the party organizes its congress.
To Feijóo, who this Thursday has admitted that chairing the PP will mean leaving the Xunta, the tasks accumulate.
Rescuing the PP after the implosion is the first. Although Feijóo has considered it settled, the crisis is deep and the party is going through a trauma. Casado’s accusations about Ayuso were the turning point that has practically led to the dismissal of Casado, who will leave at the party’s congressbut it is the frontal fight between Genoa and the territories that explains this outcome.
The tensions were known and the complaint came from various latitudes: without Casado preventing it, his number two, Teodoro García Egea, tried to control the autonomies from Genoa by imposing people related to the apparatus.
In private, leaders denounce strong pressure and now they do so in public as well. Juanma Moreno, Andalusian president, spoke this Thursday of the “discomfort” that there was due to the “interference” of a party “more concerned with controlling the territorial structures” than “with winning the next general elections.”
Feijóo, who leaves the “non-delegable” decisions about his future in the hands of Casado and Egea, has sought to appease the conflict with the territorial structure and when announcing his candidacy he already pointed out that he would have the regional presidents. The barons expect maturity from him, to overcome a time in which they felt mistreated and to resurrect the real PP, the one who sees beyond the M-30.
In addition, he will have to deal with the leadership of Díaz Ayuso. In the clash with Genoa he stood by him and has defended his honor, but while Feijóo has sought to reconcile and has recognized Casado’s work, despite his mistakesAyuso has chosen to request expulsions for the operation that, he denounces, sought to destroy it.
Where you won’t find trouble is in the primaries. There may be minor candidates -such as the one announced by the Valencian transsexual student Alexia Herranz- but it is assumed that Feijóo will sweep and arrive at the Seville conclave as the only candidate.
Define relationship with Voice and stop lurching
Although they acclaim him, in the PP they admit that Feijóo’s landing is full of intrigue. Madrid is not Galicia and in national politics there is Vox. Feijóo’s ideology is a mystery to many. It is assumed to be moderate, but other voices question it. He is mostly recognized as a technocrat.
Feijóo himself has denied this Thursday that his ideology is confusing and to resolve doubts he refers to his political career. in his own words Feijóo believes “in politics in which there is party ideology, but also managers and management”, in the “public system” and in a united Spain where “the autonomous communities are not a threat, but an opportunity to enrich and strengthen”.
Autonomist, has marked differences with Vox. But, although he rejects his populism, he is not closed to agreeing with the party of Santiago Abascal. He respects, he has said, his voters. An “immense majority” voted for the PP before and aspires to recover them. Nor does he rule out a Mañueco pact, open to a coalition, nor Moreno Bonilla, who does not want to close that door before the elections in Andalusia.
Faced with possible criticism, the popular ones, including Ayuso, bring up Pedro Sánchez’s pacts, its “socialist communist and nationalist multiparty” in the words of Feijóo.
In any case, Feijóo wants to leave behind the lurches that Casado was blamed for and promised a PP that “says no when you have to say no” and “yes when I have to say yes”, “a mature, responsible, reliable alternative and above all with a sense of State”.
A new opposition to Sánchez
The how is yet to be defined -everything points to the spokesperson in the Senate-, but a new one is expected from the Galician leader style of opposition to Sánchez, more prone to pact and different in tone.
“I don’t come here to insult Sánchez, I come here to beat Sánchez”he said in the announcement of his candidacy, a maxim that contrasts with that “felon” that Casado dedicated to the Prime Minister.
Feijóo, who publicly opted for abstention in the labor reform, has been in favor of trying to reach agreements with the state Executive “if it is to protect the constitutional principles of our country” or reach “European pacts” and has offered “unity of action” with respect to Ukraine.
There is speculation about the possible unblocking of the General Council of the Judiciary and, with the war in the background, it returns to the scene of pacts with the idea of a grand coalition, but on this hypothesis the popular people repeat as if it were a mantra: “With Sánchez it is impossible.”
Recapture the bases
The challenge that will define whether or not there is a path to La Moncloa will be to win back the voters. The most repeated diagnosis in the PP is that Casado did not make it. His team assumed that he had eaten Ciudadanos, but he could not unseat Vox.
The crisis of the party has led the PP to go back in the polls and has baited those of Abascal, on the rise. In this context, it remains to be seen if the demonstrated electoral success of Feijóo in Galicia after four absolute majorities has an echo throughout Spain.
The first test will come soon, with the Andalusian elections. The future electoral poster will also come out of the conclave in Sevillel: Feijóo as leader and Moreno as candidate. The question remains as to how much the acronyms will occupy.