A civil war has broken out in the last 24 hours within the Partido Popular after accusations that the Madrid regional leader (and party darling) Isabel Díaz Ayuso was 'spied on' and accused by Pablo Casado of nepotism - of giving a 1.5m€ contract for surgical masks, while her brother took a juicy commission (from the provider, a childhood friend) – which she denies, well, sort of (‘there’s nothing wrong in that’, she says). The ‘juicy commission’, says Casado, was for 283,000€.
Ayuso reacted to the accusation by publicly berating Pablo Casado and his lieutenant Teodoro García Egea of trying to poison her reputation 'I would never have imagined', she said, 'that the national direction of the party would act in such a cruel and unfair way against me'. In a statement on Friday, Ayuso says her brother has worked in the health sector for more than 26 years and there was nothing improper in his activities. She also showed surprise that she should be attacked by her own party in this way. She further reminded Spaniards that what is needed is a strong PP to rule the country against the ‘disaster’ of the current government. ‘I might make mistakes’, she says, ‘but never illegalities’.
The party leadership has now said that Ayuso will be officially rebuked by the party as 'we won't tolerate any disloyalty'.
Ayuso and Casado are in a struggle at the present time for the popular leadership of the party, with Ayuso apparently being the militants' choice. Casado is meanwhile asking PP mayors and regional leaders to support him publicly. Few are doing so quite yet (although the Almería local paper showed fervent support for Casado on Friday). ‘In times of war’ says one editorial, ‘one must choose a side’. One’s political future could depend on making the right choice…
A modest demonstration on Thursday night outside party headquarters in Madrid showed pro-Ayuso supporters with their ‘Casado out, Ayuso in’ placards. A second one is planned for Sunday. In a question for the conservative ECD readers – which one do you prefer, Ayuso scored over 96% against Casado with just 2%.
Casado will expel Ayuso from the party (hello, Vox!) if she is proven guilty. We read that the headquarters considers that the historic corruption of past regional Madrid leaders should no longer exist. Ayuso and her followers are more concerned about the spying operation (a senior PP official in the Madrid town hall – and Casado strongman – has already resigned) which, they say, was engineered to dent her popularity.
Imagine! Corruption in the heart of the PP! No wonder they are appalled.
Pablo Casado effectively lost the election in Castilla y Léon, while Ayuso most certainly won the election in the Community of Madrid. Already, the dice are in her favour…
Something not entirely dissimilar had happened in the PSOE a few years ago - with the people's choice Pedro Sánchez winning out over the party apparatchik (Wiki).
*By Monday, things had gotten worse. A quiet meeting on Saturday between Casado and Ayuso ended with Casado dropping his accusations of misdoing against the Madrid leader and Ayuso saying that there was no spying against her after all. Friends again. The Party saved.
But it was not to be... (more later)