Diana Morant, Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities in the new government of Pedro Sánchez, announced this Monday, is emerging as the successor of Ximo Puig, former president of the Generalitat Valenciana, at the head of the PSPV, the Valencian brand of the PSOE, as OKDIARIO announced, once the latter has run out of options to also be a minister.
However, the option of a cover-up is also open in the event that the climate of this replacement of Diana Morant by Ximo Puig becomes hostile, which is unlikely given the tight control of Pedro Sánchez in the Socialist Party, right now.
Mayor of Gandía, a town located in the Valencian region of La Safor, between 2015 and 2021, Diana Morant has also been a provincial deputy in the Valencia Provincial Council between 2015 and 2017. And she is the general secretary of the PSPV, the Valencian brand of the PSOE, in the aforementioned town of Gandía.
Right now, Diana Morant has everything in her favor to replace Ximo Puig, because her inclusion in Pedro Sánchez’s Government places her among the core of the president’s closest political collaborators. What weighs against her is that, as published by OKDIARIO, this October, the Investigative Court 3 of Gandía has opened proceedings for the alleged crimes of prevarication, fraud against the administration, influence peddling and embezzlement against her.
A ‘covered’ to relieve Ximo Puig
This newspaper already announced on November 6 that Pedro Sánchez intended to place in relevant positions those who will be the replacements of the barons who had lost the regional elections in their territories. And, precisely, this is the case of Ximo Puig, as a defeated baron in the Valencian Community, and Diana Morant, as a minister who remains in Pedro Sánchez’s ministerial cabinet.
For the replacement of Ximo Puig there is a range of names on the table, but currently, the one with the greatest institutional relevance is that of Diana Morant. However, according to the sources consulted, there is a third option, which will only be activated in the event that Ximo Puig’s replacement results in an open conflict, although this does not seem to be the case, at least in principle.
The other possibility that would activate this option of covering is that Sánchez finally considers that he cannot have a minister in his government for four years as a candidate to preside over the Valencian Community, away from the future of the daily debate. In that case, the cover door would be opened again.
Disagreements between Sánchez and Ximo Puig
Although the relationship between Pedro Sánchez and Ximo Puig has never been the best, there are episodes that describe keys to the failed outcome for Ximo Puig to become minister.
On the one hand, they are related to the enormous loss of territorial power of the socialists in the Valencian Community. Until last May 28, they governed the Generalitat, the Castellón City Council, the Valencia and Castellón councils and held the presidency of the Valencian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.
In addition, they also controlled the third city council of the Valencian Community, Elche, from the Mayor’s Office. A traditional fiefdom of the left, which is now directed, also from the City Council, by the PP and Vox.
Another factor must be related to the episode of the lists of the last general elections in the Valencian Community. Initially, the Minister of Innovation Diana Morant was number 1 for Valencia in the Congress of Deputies. In Alicante, the head of the list was Alejandro Soler. And, in Castellón, Susana Ros. All related to Pedro Sánchez.
Ximo Puig’s Executive did not approve those lists, emanating from the three provincial directorates, and included adjustments to them. Only two days later, the Federal Committee of the PSOE, which Pedro Sánchez controls, amended the changes in the direction advocated by critics of the aforementioned Ximo Puig. Among them, the general secretaries of the PSOE for Alicante and Valencia: Alejandro Soler and Carlos Fernández Bielsa.
Nor has the result of the negotiation with the formation of the former president of the Provincial Council of Valencia Jorge Rodríguez so that Carlos Fernández Bielsa was president of that council. PP and PSOE aspired to govern it, but to do so they needed a key deputy. Precisely, the representative of Rodríguez’s formation.
Finally, the latter opted for the PP, after some harsh demonstrations in which he made it clear that he did not trust Ximo Puig. The one who was then left out of the presidency of that Provincial Council was, precisely, Carlos Fernández Bielsa. That was the only loophole for the Valencian PSOE to obtain a space of power in this territory.
The last episode also occurred in the new legislature, when Ximo Puig reserved all the relevant positions in the group of the Valencian Cortes for his supporters.
He himself chairs that group, in which two of his former advisors are spokespersons: Arcadi España and Rebeca Torró. And the only socialist on the Board of those same Cortes is Gabriela Bravo, the former Minister of Justice and a person very close to Ximo Puig.
This decision also occurred at a particularly turbulent time in the Valencian PSOE due to the aforementioned loss of territorial power. All of this has taken its toll on Ximo Puig, despite the fact that in recent weeks he has devoted himself to Sánchez. In fact, Ximo Puig has even recorded a video asking yes to the internal consultation that the now President of the Government promoted on the investiture pact with Sumar and other parties.
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