Ciudadanos has decided not to stand as a candidate in the July 23 general election. The agreement, ratified on Tuesday by the national CS committee, is motivated by the disastrous results obtained on Sunday in municipal and regional elections. Adrián Vázquez, secretary general of Ciudadanos, made the decision official in a press conference after the meeting of the national committee. “The message of the elections was very clear. The offer from the liberal center in Spain has not been strong. (…) We have come to the conclusion that the Spaniards do not see us as a good transformation alternative. It is not good news for us, the national committee has decided that we will not run this election cycle as we prepare for the new political scenario,” he said.
The announcement does not imply the immediate dissolution of the party, as the intention is to compete again in future electoral processes. “We have started a process of organic and intellectual rearmament”, added Vázquez, very serious, surrounded by the other members of the executive. The formation intends to hold a “big meeting” in July in which the steps that the party will have to follow will be defined. Management sources specify that they will have to “shape” a party that represents the “liberal centre”, but “with other wickerwork”. There have been “discrepancies” within the executive over whether or not to appear on 23-J, amid “intense debate.” Finally, there was “virtually unanimity”.
This Sunday, the formation obtained just 1.35% of the vote in municipal elections – it was canceled by important places such as the Madrid City Council – and obtained no representation in any of the 12 regional parliaments of communities that also held the elections . The next day, and after the progress of the general elections announced by Pedro Sánchez, the executive held a meeting lasting several hours which ended in the afternoon. At the meeting they concluded by proposing to the national committee, convened on an extraordinary basis this Tuesday, that the best option was not to go to the polls on 23-J. During the conclave there were “members with serious doubts” that this was the most opportune move, as this newspaper learned from authoritative sources.
On Tuesday morning, the agreement was ratified by the national committee —made up of the hard core of the party and the regional presidents (50 members in all)—, including the outgoing deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís , who was not represented in the City Council of the capital. A meeting that lasted longer than expected. Other CS leaders, such as the lawyer and former vice president of Castilla y León Francisco Igea, or MEP José Ramón Bauzá, were also summoned to contribute their opinion.
Among the leaders who chose not to participate in 23-J were the former president of the party, Inés Arrimadas, and Villacís, according to some present at the conclave. Igea asked to “dissolve the party” in case the decision was not to appear at the polls, and that the leaders of CS, Patricia Guasp and Adrián Vázquez, assume “responsibility”. Other sources in the formation directly accuse Vázquez, himself a MEP, of “using” the electoral advance “to entrench himself” until the European elections.
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Shortly after the executive’s announcement, some Ciudadanos executives criticized the decision not to participate in 23-J through social networks. This is the case of the deputy Edmundo Bal, who faced Guasp in January in the primaries of the party leadership. “I won’t say anything yet, but I won’t shut up in the face of this outrage. What a great shame I feel right now,” censured Bal. Another of the nine CS MPs, Juan Ignacio López-Bas, joined the complaints. “Article 1 of my party’s statute says that ‘as an expression of political pluralism, it contributes to the formation and manifestation of the popular will and is a fundamental tool for political participation’. It seems obvious that this will not happen if we do not present ourselves to the polls,” defended López-Bas, who backed Bal’s candidacy in the primaries.
Ciudadanos plummeted on Sunday from the 1,989,566 votes (8.73%) collected in 2019 to 28-M’s 301,166 votes (1.35%) in seventh place. The collapse of its support can be seen throughout Spain, to the point of remaining in an almost testimonial presence: of the 2,787 councilors obtained four years ago, CS retains only 392. The party obtained its best results in Aragon, where it presented in coalition of localist formation, and in very small towns, where the vote is usually more linked to the person who presents himself than to a specific acronym.
The management’s idea was to participate in the general elections scheduled, in principle, for the end of the year. But the early election announced by Sánchez upset his plans, given the results at the polls. The final straw to the CS crisis, which has been weighing down for months, was given by the Andalusian elections last year, in which Ciudadanos went from 21 regional deputies to zero. A new debacle that prompted the then president, Inés Arrimadas, to speed up the process of re-founding the party.
The renewal has disrupted the lineup, with muddy primaries and the entry of a new management, led by Patricia Guasp and Adrián Vázquez. The new executive, who had previously speculated on a coup on Sunday, had privately let it be known that they “didn’t have time” to reorient the situation with just five months of maneuvering. The formation now retains only the nine deputies from Congress, the six from Catalonia, five MEPs and the lawyer Francisco Igea in Castilla y León.
Igea disagrees with the leadership and announces a political platform limited to Castilla y León
VM / JUAN NAVARRO
The lawyer of Cortes de Castilla y León and former vice president of the community, Francisco Igea, criticized, in a press conference, the announcement of the management of the CS not to participate in the 23-J. During the meeting, which he attended as a guest, Igea asked to “dissolve the party” in case the decision was not to go to the polls, and that the leaders of CS, Patricia Guasp and Adrián Vázquez, assume ” responsibility” how to resign Faced with the refusal, Igea showed up hours later in Valladolid, in the corridors of the autonomous courts, to advance that he will launch “a political platform” that brings together the center-right and with the aim of ousting PP and Vox from the government. In principle, this platform would be limited to Castilla y León, although Igea, in a telephone conversation with EL PAÍS, specified that it is possible, in the future, to export this platform to the rest of the country. “Nothing is excluded,” he said. The lawyer launches an appeal to “all those who have passed” through the party “that provided information”. The brand is unviable right now,” he said over the phone.
During her appearance before the media, Igea censured “mistake after mistake” made by her party, accusing its leadership of not making decisions despite its virtual demise after becoming third force four years ago. “Either a party shows up or it dissolves, it can’t hibernate to keep the resources for another call,” rebuked the former senior official, annoyed that Ciudadanos’ top management did not accept their decisions. “They insist that the winds are not favourable, but politics is about knowing how to navigate them,” he compared, and reiterated his opposition to indirectly encouraging his constituency to end up in the PP and his potential partner Vox. Igea alluded to the president of his territory, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP), as “ahead of his time” and to the vice president, Juan García-Gallardo (Vox), as “no longer an anecdote but a category” alluding to the fact that they are the only leaders of their parties who govern in coalition, but in the coming months the situation could be repeated in various regions.
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