Monday, June 16, 2008

Only One Monday From Valencia

If your politics are not right wing and you live in Valencia you might want to consider leaving the city this weekend. The long awaited Partido Popular (PP) congress begins in that city on Friday, and we wait to see whether Mariano Rajoy will leave Valencia looking like the king of his party or like a caretaker leader. Things have gone very quiet recently in the PP since Juan Costa announced he would not challenge Rajoy; disappointingly quiet for those of us who have enjoyed the spectacle the party has provided since March. Even El Mundo, which has been leading the charge against Rajoy, can do little more today than provide us with an opinion poll telling us what we more or less already knew; the only potential leader they have who reaches out to voters of other parties is Alberto Ruiz Gallardón.

None of this guarantees that there won’t be fireworks at the congress itself, it is still even possible that someone could emerge as a challenger for the leadership. However, that now looks less likely than it did a few weeks ago. If there is no other candidate then all the attention will focus on the number of delegates who refuse to give their support to Rajoy, anything less than 80% support will be seen as bad. There will almost certainly be some genuine debate for once at a PP congress both on the political principles statement and also on the rules for future leadership elections. Rajoy has managed to get this far without having to reveal who is on his team and which jobs they will get. All the betting is on Pio Garcia Escudero to be the new secretary general of the PP, it is unlikely to be Gallardón and Javier Arenas (who did the job under Aznar) seems to prefer life back home in Andalucia. I have seen speculation that Gallardón could head the PP list in the European elections next year, whilst remaining mayor of Madrid. Those who go to Brussels without maintaining a base at home tend to be forgotten within about 12 months. It’s probably a silly question to ask whether Gallardón would be able to perform both jobs, it assumes there is something to be done.

It is quite possible that those who were attempting to force Rajoy out now are simply going to join with those who are said to be waiting their chance to do the same in 2011 when the PP should hold their next congress. Rajoy invited Esperanza Aguirre out for lunch on Saturday. I haven’t written much about Aguirre recently and it shows because both and Notes From Spain have had to take up the challenge of monitoring the Lideresa’s activities. Accounts of Saturday’s lunch suggest that no food was thrown across the table, and we don’t know whether Aguirre left her chewing gum stuck underneath her seat while she was eating. Not much seems to have been resolved between the two but formal relations are being maintained. For those who are still not absolutely clear about the issues involved in the PP infighting let me recommend to you the following video (via NetoRaton 2.0). Esperanza Aguirre and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón debate their differences in a special pre-congress debate before a handpicked audience of PP delegates.


Colin said...

Graeme, I feel sure you can adapt this scurrilous joke . . .

A teacher in Elmira , New York asked her 6th grade class how many of them were Obama fans.Not really knowing what an Obama fan is, but
wanting to be liked by the teacher, all the kids raised their hands
except for Little Johnny. The teacher asked Little Johnny why he has decided to be different, gain.Little Johnny said, 'Because I'm not an Obama fan.'The teacher asked, 'Why aren't you an Obama fan?'Johnny said, 'Because I'm a Republican.'The teacher asked him why he's a Republican. Little Johnny answered, 'Well, my Mom's a Republican and my Dad's a
Republican, so I'm a Republican.'Annoyed by this answer, the teacher asked, 'If your mom was a moron and your dad was an idiot, what would that make you?'With a big smile, Little Johnny replied, 'That would make me an Obama fan.'

Graeme said...

I've actually heard a Spanish version of that joke Colin, but Obama and the Republicans didn't feature - instead it was about something more important, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Apart from that detail, the joke was identical.