On 13 November last year, 200,000 people packed the streets of Madrid to protect public health. It was a cry of protest, but also for help: an expression of fear of the collapse of the system after two years of pandemic with 20,000 deaths, 7,000 of them in elderly homes. A day later, the regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, downplayed the mobilization, linking it to an alleged “dirty game” by the leftists to come to power. And she blushed: “An essential piece to beat Madrid.” This dual image paints a region full of radical contrasts, where inequality is as much wealth, and which has experienced the past four years from earthquake to earthquake.
One earthquake is that Díaz Ayuso has gone from being the first PP candidate in three decades to lose regional elections in Madrid – that of 2019, when he had to resort to a deal with the Ciudadanos to govern – to a landslide victory in 2021. In 2023, he also touched absolute majority in the elections to become the favourite. The earthquake is that the Ciudadanos have experienced an earthquake in the opposite direction: as a partner of conservatives in the government (between 2019 and 2021) until disappearing from the autonomous parliament. And a quandary is that the PP’s relationship with Vox has been plagued by setbacks, to the point that the executive has approved only one of four potential budgets since 2019 (the ones for 2022 have just been extended). .
“It is clear that there is no stability and PP has this feeling Strike Summarizes the political scientist Pablo Simón on the frequent disintegration of the executive authorities of the coalitions formed by these two parties in Madrid, Castilla y León and Murcia. “Ayuso has been able to build up his own political persona and has sharpened Madrid’s argument as an antithesis to the central government, which has been greatly helped by the management of Covid-19, in which he has isolated himself and which Kept her a diva pop on the right”, she continues. “He has benefited from the punishment of Pedro Sanchez’s government.”
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In these four years, there has been continuous confrontation between the regional executive and the centre. Madrid has taken a dozen of Sanchez’s decisions to court, and Ayuso has filled his interventions in the context of national politics. Meanwhile, between 2019 and 2021 the government of PP and Ciudadanos approved no new major legislation (only appealed to the Constitutional Court to reform the land law and promote a new private university) and not even a budget project did not present Between 2021 and 2023, a color executive of the PP managed to approve 28 laws with the support of Vox, but it was abandoned. four others Along the way, including the 2023 budget, which has now marked the 28-m elections because of the tussle between the two parties.
“Too many election posters and zero management”, summarizes PSOE regional leader Juan Lobato, who points to housing, health and education as Madrid’s big problems, because of the PP’s policies in these three areas, he maintains. Yes, we are deepening the gap of inequality in the society.
“The most important thing that has happened in Madrid since 2019 is the community’s self-identification as a place of freedom,” replied Pedro Muñoz Abrins, the PP’s spokesman in the assembly. “Madrileños have internalized the importance of Madrid as a necessary counterweight of power against the excesses of Pedro Sánchez,” he defended. “Madrid has woken up,” he says, ignoring the many controversies that surround the president.
The first reason was that the popular leader contacted Avalmadrid, a semi-public institution that finances SMEs and companies, in 2011, the year of his debut as a deputy, a company owned by his father, to obtain credit. of 400,000 Euros to inquire about the guarantee given to. By the time the business was destroyed and defaults began, the current president had already accepted the donation of his father’s apartment, which thus remained out of reach of creditors. Neither the prosecutor’s office nor the Supreme Court recognized that there was anything to investigate in this regard.
Diaz Ayuso then became part of the limited epidemic after being infected at a luxury aparthotel owned by businessman Enrique Sarsola, who he said paid out of pocket.
And the auction was the case of the masks, which started a civil war in the PP and ended the leadership of Pablo Casado: Díaz Ayuso’s brother charged the Privet company more than 55,000 euros to provide the masks, which he used during the pandemic. was sold in between. 200,000 euros for the community of Madrid, according to the account made by the company and Tomás Díaz Ayuso before the prosecutor’s office, and for alleged attempts to win other contracts, which did not succeed. Neither Spain’s Ministry of Public Affairs nor the European Public Prosecutor’s Office found any problems with the deal.
A resolution favorable to their interests on all these matters has allowed the executive to turn the 2021–2023 biennial into a protracted election campaign. The Ayuso government claims that Madrid is the community where more companies are created, the region absorbs most foreign investment and has active population records It also claims that, in 2022, it was the autonomy of the common tax regime with the highest average annual income (15,695 euros per capita). The victorious and vibrant Madrid hides, however, another Madrid in which 40% of households barely make ends meet, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics in 2022.
After the glow of the festivities and their confrontation with the central government, the Conservatives have delved into their most ideological propositions. There have been 20 tax cuts worth more than 700 million since 2021 alone, with cuts deemed irresponsible when public services, primarily health, need more resources, in their opinion. Organized education (private but supported by public subsidies) has been protected by AYUSO with a law, the first two transfers of land to build these centers since 2013, and a decree that allows schools to receive public funding until 2027. will be allowed to be maintained. Whatever has come of the promise to build 15,000 public homes between May 2019 and May 2023: until the vote is held, none will be completed.
“There have been changes, yes. But to go back”, lamented the leader of Más Madrid, Mónica García. “There is less public housing, youth liberation has collapsed, thousands of youth have been left without a FP place and 35% of our pediatricians have been fired,” she comments.
Health has been the biggest work area of the AYUSO government. Firstly, due to the management of the pandemic and the construction of the Zendal hospital, which cost 150 million euros and went practically unused after the peak of the coronavirus. Then, due to plans to reopen to extra-hospital emergencies, the rate was revised three times. Later due to the strike of primary care and emergency doctors. and, as a climax, by two demonstrations in defense of public health, the largest in Madrid in recent years.
“There have been treats Thatcherian “, Angela Hernandez, general secretary of the Emites Medical Union, expressed her regret. “During the pandemic we gave up and there was hope that the government would see the need for a strong health system, but there is more interest in brick and mortar trade, in technology, than in service.”
“The main social change has been the awareness of citizens to protect public health,” says Agustín Moreno, Podemos deputy in the previous legislature and also linked to Sumar, Yolanda Díaz’s platform. Alejandra Jacinto, the candidate of Podemos for the presidency, agrees with him: “If mass mobilization in defense of public health has taught us anything, the demands of the residents of San Fernando de Henares for the taxi sector (por las demoliciones de sus casas A causa de las obras del Metro)Se Cañada Real (que viven sin electricidadita), or relatives of the 7,291 elderly people who died in the residences, is that an alternative sector model already exists. The only thing lacking is for the institutions to finally commit themselves to their service, ”he insisted. That’s what 28-M is deciding: if the PP, which has ruled since 1995, retains power or if the left controls it.
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