The pulse that the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, threw at the president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, just 24 hours after going to La Zarzuela to participate in the King’s round of consultations, apparently resulted in the victory of the second. Abascal informed the Monarch that his deputies would vote in favor of the popular candidate and that allowed him to appear before Felipe VI with the endorsement of 172 seats, only four away from the absolute majority. Without Abascal’s transfer, Feijóo would only have been able to display the support of 139, 13 less than the 152 of the PSOE and Sumar, which Pedro Sánchez already had insured. With the support of Vox, Feijóo will not be president; but without him I wouldn’t even be a candidate.
In return, Feijóo read before the journalists a few words of praise for the ultra party that he carefully brought measures and had written that same morning, after speaking with Abascal. He expressed his recognition of the Vox leader, with whom he said he maintained “a relationship of democratic normality with the shared objective of protecting our Nation and defending the Constitution.” “This is how we are doing it in different communities and town halls where we govern together and we will do so in defense of a constitutional government for Spain, of a PP government alone,” he added. Feijóo insisted that it was “support without demands, without conditions”, contrary to what Abascal himself had assured in an appearance before journalists in which he did not admit questions.
In reality, the conditions that he had set were so gassy —that the PP “do not collaborate in any way, by action or omission, in the sanitary cordon” against his party; to give “an unequivocal sign of respect” towards their voters or to “publicly value” the coalition governments they share—that it was impossible to verify their compliance.
The truth is that, until Feijóo came to the fore, no PP leader had wanted to respond to Vox’s order. Abascal acknowledged that the trigger for his irritation was the exclusion of his party —which in the previous legislature had a vice-presidency of Congress— from the new Board of the Chamber elected on the 17th. The ultra leader did not hesitate to blame the PP for not having ceded one of its four seats, while the popular ones claimed that they had never committed to it and that they limited themselves to voting for their own candidates, without this being interpreted as a gesture of hostility towards Vox. That is what Feijóo was referring to when he said that he had “clarified misunderstandings” in his conversation with Abascal.
These misunderstandings reflect, however, the deep mistrust between the two parties of the right, despite the fact that, as both leaders stressed, they govern together in five autonomies (Castilla y León, Comunidad Valenciana, Extremadura, Aragón and the Balearic Islands, although in this The last Vox is not in the regional Executive, but it is in the island councils) and some 140 municipalities. In his ultimatum on Monday, Garriga went so far as to ask the PP for explanations for an alleged pact with the PNV to exclude Vox from the Congress Table, despite the fact that the peneuvistas did not support the popular candidate, Cuca Gamarra, but rather that of the PSOE, Francina Armengol.
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Abascal was satisfied with Feijóo’s words, which, according to what he said in a tweet, responded to “Vox’s fair requests.” But he added something else: “I hope that, from now on, the enemies of the government agreements between PP and Vox refrain from jeopardizing the construction of the alternative again.” He was alluding to the leaders of the PP who have been publicly critical of Vox —such as the Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno, who criticized his positions on gender violence, the LGTBI collective or Catalonia— or to those who in the leadership of the party have advised to Feijóo to flee from the pacts with the ultras. Vox sources warn that, for “the collaborative relationship” between the two forces to be maintained, as Feijóo said yesterday, or for “a new stage to open” between the two, as Abascal added, it is necessary that the leader of the PP silence those who, within your party, “assume the discourse of the left and demonize Vox”.
I am pleased that Mr. Feijóo has responded to the fair requests of VOX.
I hope that, from now on, the enemies of the government agreements between PP and VOX refrain from jeopardizing the construction of the alternative again.
Therefore, a new stage of… https://t.co/TubBtzjESO opens
– Santiago Abascal 🇪🇸 (@Santi_ABASCAL) August 22, 2023
It is already too late to repair the exclusion of Vox from the Table of Congress, since the Governing body of the Chamber is elected only once for the entire legislature, but the litmus test of this new stage is the Region of Murcia. After the ultras deputies voted against the investiture of the popular Fernando López Miras, at the beginning of July, the clock has started to tick and the deadline to invest the new regional president is September 7. If this is not achieved, the Assembly elected on May 28 will be dissolved and elections will have to be repeated.
Vox remains firm in its demand to enter the autonomous government —with a vice-presidency and two councils—, while López Miras alleges that he is only two seats away from an absolute majority and claims his right to govern alone. According to the regional leader of Vox, José Ángel Antelo, the last time he spoke with the acting regional president was on July 8. The PP offered him a senator and a place on the Regional Assembly Table, but Vox is not satisfied with less than entering the Government. Sources from the ultra party affirm that it would not be logical for their deputies to vote in Congress for the investiture of Feijóo while López Miras slams the door in their faces. If Feijóo yields in Murcia, Abascal’s pulse will not have been in vain.
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