Iván Espinosa de los Monteros announces at a press conference in Congress that he is leaving his seat, this Tuesday.Claudio Álvarez
Iván Espinosa de los Monteros (Madrid, 52 years old) and Santiago Abascal met in January 2012, at a lunch organized by Alejandro Macarrón, director of the Demographic Renaissance Foundation, concerned about the drop in the birth rate in Spain. The two had very little in common; The first is the son of Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, Marquis de Valtierra, former president of Iberia and Mercedes Benz Spain. He had grown up in Chicago and spoke English with native fluency. He graduated in Economics and Business from ICADE and obtained a master’s degree in business management from Northwestern University (USA). Until then he had dedicated himself to business, with mixed success. Abascal was the son of a shopkeeper from Amurio (Álava) and a long-standing PP militant who had sought refuge in the Madrid government of Esperanza Aguirre after a political career in the Basque Country that had come to a premature end.
Despite this, the crush was immediate. Abascal explained to him that no one from the PP was going to accompany him to the trial in the National Court against 19 nationals from Llodio who, nine years earlier, had tried to boycott his inauguration as councilor with shouts, shoves and kicks. Impressed by the abandonment of the PP, Espinosa went to the room as an audience so that Abascal would not feel so alone. His lawyer was Javier Ortega Smith.
From that trial came the team that would lead Vox to become the third political force in Spain. First in Denaes (Defense of the Spanish Nation), the foundation that served as an incubator for the future party, and, as of December 2013, in Vox. They formed a triumvirate under the leadership of Abascal, joined by Espinosa’s wife, Rocío Monasterio, daughter of a Cuban landowner whose sugar mill was seized by the revolution.
In 2014, Vox’s first leader, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, resigned after failing to win a seat in the European Parliament, and Abascal was promoted to party president. Espinosa succeeded him as Secretary General. In 2016, after several electoral setbacks, he left politics to take care of his private business; among others, the sale of ships fitted out as homes by his wife, who is an architect. In 2019, after Vox burst onto the political scene by winning the Andalusian Parliament, he returned to Vox’s leadership, but this time not as general secretary, a position already held by Ortega Smith, but as head of international relations.
However, what would catapult him to the forefront of Spanish politics was his role as spokesman for the Vox Parliamentary Group which, as of November 2019, with 52 deputies, would be the third in the Chamber. For more than two years, he formed a tandem with Macarena Olona. Both became the whip that lashed the Government with the greatest viciousness, against a PP that had not quite found its space.
Olona’s departure, first as a candidate for the Andalusian elections and then as the protagonist of the party’s biggest rupture to date, left Espinosa defenseless in front of the party apparatus, which had always been suspicious that the parliamentary group was managed as a kingdom of taifas. He defined himself politically as “economically liberal, understand that”, but even that economic liberalism, compatible with conservatism in matters of morals and customs, began to be suspected in a party increasingly leaning towards protectionism and anti-Europeanism.
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This Tuesday, Espinosa wanted to say goodbye to Congress and the Vox leadership as a gentleman, attributing his departure to personal and family reasons and trying to avoid any criticism of his party, although he did so by paraphrasing a cult film, The Exotic Marigold Hotel , to ensure that, “in the end, everything will work out and, if it does not work out, it is not the end.” It has been his way of saying that at Vox, today, things are not going well at all.
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