Monday, May 19, 2008

Rajoy....I Don't Like Mondays

Monday has almost been declared the official day for things to happen in the Partido Popular these days. It’s a good day for stabbing your party leader in the back because the echo of what you have done can carry on in the media’s coverage throughout the whole week. Today created high expectations, because we had speeches from José Maria Aznar (who has been so quiet recently I thought – ever optimistic – that he had been kidnapped) and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón. In the end it’s all been a bit disappointing, Aznar made a few references open to interpretation but nothing that really stoked the flames of the inner party battle or which really let us know what he thinks. Gallardón pledged his loyalty to Rajoy at the same time as he modestly made it clear that he would also be at the service of his party should anyone wish to appoint him to a suitably important position.

The weekend saw an interesting event. The square in Madrid where several members of the Guardia Civil were killed in an ETA bombing some years ago became a sort of unofficial shrine for the intolerant right last year, in their attempts to present their opposition to the government’s negotiation with ETA as being some sort of popular uprising. Well on Saturday the shrine became official with the unveiling of a sculpture. All the usual suspects turned up from the AVT, the DENAES and other associated hard right front organisations. Also there were Esperanza Aguirre, Manuel Fraga and Gallardón. The whole event turned into something of a PP pillow fight with Aguirre getting loud cheers from those assembled, whilst Fraga and Gallardón were booed. Gallardón is used to this treatment from members of his own party, but Fraga – a former minister in Franco’s regime – has probably never experienced this from his own party supporters. The reason is that don Manuel is a big fan of Gallardón, and was his mentor in the past. Not much more than this is needed to enrage Aguirre’s supporters, so now the founder and honorary president of the PP finds himself on the ever larger list of traitors to the cause.

Now this may be a bit premature, but I think Aguirre has lost her battle. The conflict which she did so much to ignite is now raging out of control, and she may end up as one of the principal victims of it. Reports say that there is an almost desperate search in the parliamentary party of the PP to find a candidate around whom the whole opposition to Rajoy can unite. That candidate is not Aguirre, she has made too many enemies, and now the searchers are looking for a PP version of Zapatero. I don’t mean by that they need someone who constantly moves imaginary boxes around with his hands, or who has a particularly wide smile. The idea is to find someone younger, with a more appealing image to stand as leader at the next election. The current focus of much attention is Juan Costa who left his lucrative business interests to attend to Rajoy, and who now finds himself without any job that meets his requirements. Some think he could challenge Rajoy, many others believe he will be the next to walk out; slamming the door as he leaves. Costa is a big friend of another person who could gain wide acceptance as leader of the party, Rodrigo Rato. But he’s busy.


moscow said...

For the PP's next leader you'll be looking for someone in his early to mid-forties.

Graeme said...

And without a desire to live much longer.