It seemed unlikely that the Community of Madrid would once again have a president on the verge of a forced resignation after the episode of two years ago, when we watched with astonishment as her predecessor, Cristina Cifuentes, shoplifted some cosmetic creams in a supermarket. Cifuentes left via the window the same day the videos were released and thus ended a political career that had seemed promising, having also failed to overturn accusations of fraud in a master's degree she had been credited with from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. If this happened in April 2018, in May 2020 her replacement Isabel Díaz Ayuso is embroiled in a scandal that implicates her directly in which she made use of two luxury apartments in the centre of Madrid with a supposedly fraudulent contract.
What has Madrid done in order to reach a situation where all of its presidents are pursued in one way or another by the shadow of corruption? Because before Cifuentes it was Ignacio González, for whom the prosecutor is now demanding eight years in prison as the ringleader of the Lezo corruption case. And, before González, Esperanza Aguirre, imputed in another corruption scandal, the Punic case. They are two entire decades of leaders who either made hasty exits or subsequently have found themselves in highly compromised legal situations.
Now it's the turn of Díaz Ayuso, who, for now, will take little succour from compliments paid to her the other day by former Spanish PM José María Aznar. The scandal of the luxury apartments comes on top of her management of the coronavirus crisis, much criticized even within her own government and hit last week by a sensitive resignation: that of its public health director, dissatisfied with her boss's hurry to move Madrid into Phase 1 of the lockdown deescalation process. The Community of Madrid's poor management along with the Spanish government's negligence in placing the capital in lockdown at the crucial moment has had serious consequences for the spread of coronavirus in Spain. Socialist MP Rafael Simancas even said on Wednesday that the reason that Spain has so many deaths from coronavirus is because the Community of Madrid is in Spain.
The fact that Simancas should put it like that, in an attempt to pressure Ayuso into resignation, does not stop it being a truth known to everybody - even if it is anathema to say it out loud if you are not from Madrid. I don't know if Ayuso will stand up to the pressure of a left which is baying for her head, but the truth is that being at the head of the institution with a track record like hers makes it advisable for her to walk before she is pushed.