Esperanza Aguirre has struck first blow in the campaign for regional and municipal elections in May by calling on all parties to respect a revolutionary new code of conduct for the campaign. "Voters are sick and tired of politicians abusing their position by using public money and resources to subsidise their own party's campaign" said Aguirre this morning. The measures proposed by the Madrid regional president and lideresa of the Partido Popular include the following:
- an end to bogus inaugurations of unfinished hospitals or other public works where all that currently exists is a hole in the ground and a fence around it.
- no use of fraudulent foundations to conceal electoral expenses from public view. Aguirre has suggested that such practices might lead voters to suspect that favours were given in return for hidden donations from companies working for the administration.
- ending the use of institutional advertising budgets as electoral propaganda by using the money to make unsubstantiated boasts about supposed achievements.
- a deal on Telemadrid respecting plurality and ending the practice of using the regional television channel to portray all opposition politicians as Nazis or clowns. Nor can the television services offered in Metro stations be used to bombard passengers with images of regional presidents going about their "work".
Asked if the new code included a ban on employing people on the public payroll to spy on other politicians, Aguirre said that it probably wouldn't because this was just a bit of "harmless fun" and was in any case an internal party matter. Several members of her party are said to have fainted in shock when told of the new proposals. National PP leader Mariano Rajoy wouldn't comment on the new code of conduct, advisers said that he was "thinking about it".