The PP has had a change of leadership. As predicted, this has involved the sidelining of Angel Acebes and Eduardo Zaplana. The new members of what Rajoy is calling his ‘own team’ are to be
la niña de Rajoy, Francisco Camps (president of the Comunitat Valenciana) and Esperanza Aguirre (president of the Comunidad de Madrid). Both Camps and Aguirre lead PP strongholds which gained seats in the recent election,
This isn’t a shift towards the centre, mind. Aguirre and Camps are both plenty right-wing when they want to be. Check out Graeme’s
obssesive enlightening series of posts about Aguirre if you want a better idea of how she ticks.
Meanwhile, the final final final (pero que finales, eh?) results are in and CiU lost a seat to the PP. This is apparently due to the postal vote taking ages to arrive (what?! in Spain?! surely not!). This leaves CiU on 10 seats in the parliament. They’re still talking about a pact between CiU and the PSOE but I somehow doubt it. That would mean alliance in Madrid but opposition in Barcelona, which would be a pretty unsatisfactory situation for everyone, parlicularly the electorate. By the way, check out this post (in Spanish) about the peculiarities of the Spanish electoral system and how it encourages a sort of bi-partisan situation. This image in particular is interesting, as it shows how many seats the IU might have if a different system were adopted. Give you a clue: it’s seven times as many as they have now.
Shock-jock from the Catholic radio network La Cope, Federico Jiménez Losantos, is being sued by Madrid mayor Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón over accusations the radio personality made concerning the mayor’s attitude to the victims of the 11-M bombings in Madrid. Apparently (and I have to trust El País on this, as I never listen to El Cope), Losantos repeated various accusations against Gallardón, especially that he “didn’t want to know who killed 200 people in his city”.
In a slightly odd move, Losantos is trying to call some top PP officials including Comunidad de Madrid premier, Esperanza Aguirre, Eduardo Zaplana and Ángel Acebes to his defence, I assume as character witnesses. These people represent the right-wing of the PP and they recently won something of a power-struggle in the party against Gallardón’s slightly less extreme wing. They’re also well known for strongly disliking Gallardón, despite (or because of?) his popularity among voters in the capital.
So either these people will stand up and defend their mate, Losantos (the same guy who openly claimed that “Zapatero has an enormous, and growing, responsibility for 11-M”), or they will leave him in the lurch and risk his ire on the airwaves. For the PP, one would think that their obvious choice would be to call Losantos and say something along the lines of “Sorry old chap, election’s coming up dontchaknow, can’t have this nonsense… firm friend… you’re best off on your own…” (at least that’s what the Tories would do). But might this not be difficult for the PP leadership? Could it be risky for them to alienate the far-right sector of Spanish society so close to an election? Or… could they use this as an opportunity to finally twist the knife they stuck in Gallardón and show their strength?
Actually, the court proceedings start after the election, but I suspect that journalists will be keen to know just what the PP’s leadership plan to do with Losantos (and if they’re not, they bloody well should be). If they can avoid this serious question in the run-up to the election (and they certainly shouldn’t), what does it say about a party which desperately wants to wrest power from the Socialists? Either they’re with Losantos or they drop him: time to decide.