Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aguirre Digs In For The Battles To Come

It's difficult not to feel some sort of admiration for the discipline showed by Spain's right-wing in the run up to the general election. Knowing what we do about their internal feuds and hatreds, it was impressive how all of this was buried until the Partido Popular had won the vote. The left doesn't generally show such determined single minded focus on the ultimate objective.

Then it only took a few days after Mariano Rajoy's victory for the cracks to show again. With Rajoy still clearly far away on some sort of spiritual retreat, Esperanza Aguirre took her chance to regain some media attention and to demonstrate in the process that the PP is not as united as it likes to pretend. She did this by sacking the secretary general of the Madrid PP, Francisco Granados, alleging a loss of confidence as the reason.

Nobody should feel too sorry for Granados, who was the organiser of the little band of spies that followed various other PP politicians around for a few weeks back in the not so distant days when Rajoy was not exactly everyone's favourite leader. But it seems that he lost the power struggle to be the Condesa's bag carrier to Ignacio González; who has already been appointed to replace Granados in the party position whilst maintaining his role as regional vice-president.

This is more than just a minor adjustment of roles in the Madrid party. Granados had not been hiding his unhappiness over losing the battle with González and in the process his position in Aguirre's administration. The word is that his dissatisfaction with the outcome had led him to commit that most heinous of all crimes in the eyes of Aguirre loyalists; he had become too friendly towards the loyalist Rajoy wing of the PP leadership. Nobody who has done this in the last few years has survived as a member of Aguirre's inner circle. 

What's more, the selection of González to control the Madrid PP is seen as a direct challenge to Rajoy and the start of the battle over who might succeed Aguirre as regional president in Madrid. González was one of the few PP politicians who openly spoke out against Rajoy after the 2008 election defeat, and this has not been forgotten by the Rajoy camp. One side effect of this was the decision by Rajoy to pre-empt Aguirre's attempt to put González in charge of Caja Madrid. Aguirre's ill fated move to displace Rajoy as PP leader continues to affect the stability of the party even as they (allegedly) prepare to govern.

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