There is a date marked on fire in the agenda of the acting president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras: March 18, 2021. That day, the popular leader was successful in a motion of censure registered jointly by the PSOE and by Ciudadanos, a formation with which the PP had governed in coalition since 2019. López Miras surpassed that milestone —which immediately turned the national political map upside down— thanks to three defecting CS deputies and three other wayward Vox, the party with which he it also maintained tensions throughout the last legislature. But that battle won by López Miras has conditioned his strategy since the May 28 elections: the PP leader has shown total resistance, not only to the ultras entering his future government, but also to having not even a post at the Assembly Table. He doesn’t want ties, he doesn’t want alliances or coalitions like the ones that caused him so many problems in the recent past. A position that clashes with that of other popular barons, who have signed agreements with Vox in three other autonomous communities —Castilla y León, Extremadura, Aragón and the Valencian Community— to be invested.
But López Miras will have to forget the past if he wants to avoid an electoral repetition in the Region of Murcia: the deadline for the PP and Vox to agree on an investiture expires on September 7, in just 12 days. If neither yields, the call for the electoral repetition would take place in the middle of the talks for the investiture of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who needs the support of Santiago Abascal’s party.
And the situation is still on the wire. The regional representatives of Vox again demanded this week a joint Executive agreement. “The polls have spoken on 28-M and have said that a coalition government must be formed that respects the electoral result. We are still waiting for the call from López Miras to sit down to negotiate without red lines”, wrote José Ángel Antelo, leader of Vox in Murcia, on X (Twitter) this Wednesday, a day after Alberto Núñez Feijóo was designated a candidate for the presidency by the king. In the national leadership of the popular they had so far endorsed López Miras without fissures, but the current scenario has different ingredients.
Feijóo and Abascal spoke on Monday to calm the waters and bring positions closer after the PP also left Vox out of the Congress Table —which in response did not vote for the PP candidate for the presidency of the Chamber, Cuca Gamarra—, and before the round of contacts with the King, in which Abascal gave his support to the president of the PP. A gesture that Feijóo thanked him for, recognizing the strength of his 33 seats, in public and with a clarity that he had not done to date. But that approximation at the national level also had Murcia as a backdrop, where the governability of the Region depends on the will of both parties, the only community in which the Executive still does not conform. In Murcia, the popular ones obtained 21 seats and 42.87% of the votes, the best result of the five autonomies where they needed Vox and two seats for an absolute majority, although they require the abstention of the ultras to be able to govern. Vox also obtained the highest percentage of votes there, 17.72%, and nine seats.
The popular leadership insists that López Miras has the last word. In the environment of the acting president, however, information silence reigns and the same answer is repeated: “There is nothing new.” With the pressure on his shoulders, the popular leader limited himself to saying this Tuesday, to questions about a hypothetical meeting with the Vox spokesmen: “We have to see it.”
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The remoteness of both formations at the regional level clashes with the understanding reached in several municipalities where they govern in common, such as Molina de Segura, Torre-Pacheco, Yecla, Totana and Cieza. In Lorca, its mayor, the popular Fulgencio Gil, assured this Thursday his conviction that “soon” there will be “some kind of contact and movement.” “Right now I believe that there is a general dynamic of collaboration between the two parties in this context, and I am convinced that in the coming days there will be contact,” he stressed.
Vox demands a coalition government in which the ultras have a vice-presidency and two councils. Some aspirations that in the Murcian PP brand as disproportionate considering the electoral result. Although the popular left Vox off the Parliamentary Board at the beginning of June, over time the PP has been giving up positions and made a counter-offer in mid-summer to reach an agreement: a posteriori entry into the Board, a senator regional and other institutional charges. Vox rejected “the armchairs”.
At this point, the only option remains for López Miras to back down or for Vox to relax its demands to nothing or, at most, to just a council. Even in this case, the agreement is not guaranteed, because the resistance of the regional leader of the PP to govern in coalition is enormous.
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