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Open warfare has broken out between leadership rivals in Spain's Popular Party (PP) this Thursday, after months of simmering tension between party leader Pablo Casado and Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso. Publication by several media of alleged corruption cases linked to Ayuso's brother, Tomás Díaz Ayuso, as well as news of attempts to spy on the Community of Madrid president, prompted her to go on the attack today at midday, in a press appearance from the regional government seat at the Puerta del Sol. Not only did she deny the irregular contracts, but she has also fired back at the PP leadership at Spanish state level, accusing the party of manipulation: "It is very painful that leaders of my party, instead of supporting me, are the ones who want to destroy me." The objective, she said, was to invent a "dossier" to discredit her "personally and politically" to remove her from the race for the presidency of the party in Madrid. 


According to published information, Ángel Carromero, director general of coordination for Madrid city council, allegedly tried to obtain details of a contract awarded by the Madrid regional government to an alleged businessman friend of Ayuso for the purchase of face masks. It is alleged that Carromero, very close to PP secretary general Teodoro García Egea and right-hand man of leader Pablo Casado, sought information about the contract awarded to Tomás Díaz Ayuso and the funds movements linked to it and the company, in case commissions were paid. As the attempts to obtain information failed to work out, a quote was requested from a private detective agency. But this did not go ahead either, it is reported, due to the price of the service and the difficulty in not raising suspicions.

In a statement from the regional government headquarters, visibly upset, Isabel Díaz Ayuso said that "I could never have imagined that the national leadership would have acted in such a cruel way." She went as far as to say that it was "the worst that could be expected of politicians," because there is not a single piece of evidence against her; only the "fabrication of alleged corruption." She attributed the manoeuvre to her plan to become president of her party for the Madrid region, a development that Pablo Casado's PP leadership would like to avoid. "I just want the members to be heard and for people to act in accordance with the law, because party law is being broken," she said.

"The statements being published come from circles close to Pablo Casado," said Ayuso, who demanded that "if they wanted to clarify a contract, they only had to ask for it, because they are all on the transparency portal." Thus, the president of the Community of Madrid called for the responsibilities over the supposed dirty tricks to be revealed, both in the hierarchy of the Madrid regional party and at Spanish state level. The Madrid leader ended with a barb against current PP leadership: "I have shown my commitment to Casado by passing from the 22 seats to the absolute majority that I think we have today. I would like to know how many votes all those who have been attacking me for months have won for the PP”.

"Nothing illegal"

Ayuso, who made public the contract for the mask purchases, assured that "there is nothing illegal" in the matter, that "it is a contract from the first wave of the pandemic when all administrations were looking for medical supplies" and that it had been officially audited. She also recalled that her brother had been “a salesperson in the healthcare sector” for 26 years, and that she had never helped him to “achieve absolutely anything.” "I am waiting for the national management of the PP to prove that I obliged some contract to be signed, there has been influence peddling, for them to prove that I am not honest," she challenged.

Resignation of Carromero

Later this afternoon, after PP secretary general Teodoro García Egea had responded to Ayuso's challenge by opening an internal inquiry on the Madrid regional president and reserving the right to take "appropriate actions" in response, it was reported by El Confidencial that Ángel Carromero, the Madrid city council figure at the centre of Ayuso's complaints, had resigned. "Following the new information that appeared this afternoon in El Confidencial and after holding a conversation with the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martinez Almeida, Ángel Carromero has submitted his resignation with immediate effect from today," reported the digital newspaper.