The implosion that has just taken place inside Spain's Popular Party (PP), with the public duel between party leader Pablo Casado and Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso, may end up being the beginning of the end of the current party president. The thriller centred on the Calle Génova PP headquarters offers political scandal, espionage (it only needs some shadowy Villarejo figure to be hired and we'd see where it ends), corruption, Ayuso's brother being paid a commission of 283,000 euros by a company supplying face masks to the autonomous government of Madrid. In short, more than enough elements to make good a maxim that has been expressed by a number of politicians, and which reads, in the version of the Italian Christian democrat Giulio Andreotti: "There are close friends, friends, acquaintances, adversaries, enemies, mortal enemies and... party colleagues." And thus, as party colleagues, Casado and Ayuso are waging their war.
The Spanish right has always had this fratricidal tendency. It was and is authoritarian, it likes strong presidencies - hence its constant gaze towards Aznar and contempt for Rajoy - it is more madrileña than española and has a tendency towards significant political suicide. In this first assault, Ayuso is the victim and the Calle Génova apparatus, the executioner. She did everything but shed tears when she explained that it was very painful to her that the leaders of her own party, rather than supporting her, were the ones who wanted to destroy her. Meanwhile, Génova, caught with blood on its blade, opened an internal inquiry centred on her while also blowing up as much as it could the magnitude of the commission taken by Tomás Ayuso, the brother and intermediary.
We will have to wait and see how the series develops and what each episode offers, but the silence of many of the territorial barons of the PP is an unequivocal sign that they do not see Casado as the clear winner of the contest. Aznar, always ready to intervene and pour gasoline onto the fire, stated - during a FAES seminar and supposedly in private, but which the newspaper ABC elevated to the category of public - the following: "The situation in Ukraine right now is better than that of the PP, because in the former there are no nuclear weapons." Another detail, the always prudent Galician president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, came to Ayuso's aid and condemned the espionage organized from the Génova offices. The person allegedly behind the spying on Ayuso, a certain Ángel Carromero, someone trusted by both Casado and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has already resigned and left the party. The newspaper El Mundo headlined its editorial this Friday: "The PP cannot continue in these hands." A clear invitation to do the decent thing - perhaps even an assertion that Casado should close the door on his way out. The right-wing media will be aligned with Ayuso and the left against Ayuso, a seemingly uneven match-up.
In any case, the big difference is that Casado may not have a party, while Ayuso clearly has a pathway. Things have begun to get complicated for the PP president and now it is clear that the elections in Castilla y León, and their result, have been so damaging that the pyrrhic victory is difficult to manage. Either he makes a deal with Vox or with the PSOE, very poor options no matter which path is chosen. Feijóo, ever aspiring to act as a moderating force on the PP from conservative Galicia, may have his moment in the Cainite war between Casado and Ayuso. For this, too, the president of the Community of Madrid would need to end up ousted or seriously weakened. Ayuso will always have the Vox option if she loses the battle within the PP. And thus, perhaps it is possible that, without Casado or Ayuso in the PP, a coalition government between the PSOE and the PP after the next Spanish elections could be something more than a mirage. The grand coalition that is desired in the Madrid backrooms, but also by González and Rajoy.