Moreno Bonilla: “I am going to try to avoid the pact with Vox”

Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla was not born in Andalusia, but in Barcelona, ​​52 years ago, because his parents emigrated to Catalonia to look for work. He is the grandson of day laborers and he mentions it before the interview to say that part of his family is on the left and that they looked at him “strangely” when he joined the PP. Now, the popular candidate for the presidency of Andalusia has moderated himself so much and has jibarized the acronym of the PP so much, that he has found an unexpected problem, as he confesses: that some voters do not know that to vote for “Juanma” ―that’s how the name on the billboard – they have to take the PP ballot. Despite this, he is confident that he will win the Andalusian elections, as all the polls say. In Malaga, where he grew up, Moreno affirms that he does not see the Vox candidate, Macarena Olona, ​​for vice president, but avoids committing not to govern with the far-right party.

Ask. Do you feel dizzy at the possibility of not meeting high expectations?

Response. Of course I have vertigo. The surveys will condition the feeling of the result in positive or negative. The paradox can be that I win the elections and go up 14 seats, an outrage, and yet there is a kind of disappointment.

P. What is your goal in seats? 47, 50?

R. Have one more seat than the entire left put together. That, in political and strategic terms, is very important. The closer I get to 55 seats [mayoría absoluta] I will have more possibilities to govern alone, which is my great objective.

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P. Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox, said on Friday that you still have to repeat the elections, that you are not going to “blackmail” them. How are you going to convince them?

R. I do not intend to blackmail anyone. The only thing I have said is that I think there is a majority of serene Andalusians and that, if the Andalusians decide that there is no majority, I want a viable government. If they say to me: “To be president you have to put the inheritance tax”, then I say that I am not going to be president. Or “you have to close the RTVA [la televisión pública andaluza]Well, I’m not going to be president. I am not going to pass even an inch of the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia.

The president and candidate of the PP to the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, in a hotel in Malaga.
The president and candidate of the PP to the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, in a hotel in Malaga.Alexander Ruesga

P. Why, if he achieves more seats than the left, is Vox going to give him the investiture for free?

R. The scenario for Andalusia can be complicated, because it can be impossible. To avoid this, what do we tell the voters? That the only viable option is the PP.

P. And if not, are the elections repeated?

R. If the government is unviable… I don’t want to repeat the elections. It will be a failure of all the political forces, because if they are repeated we would not be able to have a budget in 2023, which was the objective, and we would exhaust the citizen, who is fed up.

P. Is it preferable to repeat the elections or form a coalition government with Vox?

R. It depends on which government.

P. A Government with Vox that respects the Andalusian Statute of Autonomy.

R. I want to rule alone and I think I can rule alone.

P. Do you agree that in no case will you form a government with Vox?

R. I can repeat it 100 million times. When I get to the river, I’ll cross the bridge.

P. In other words, it does not commit.

R. Right now we have not reached the river and I am not committing myself because I do not disregard the will of the Andalusians.

P. What would you say to an undecided person if he trusts you, gives you his vote and then ends up in a coalition with Vox?

R. Nobody can be afraid of my Government, because I will never do things against my nature. When I say that the limit is the Statute of Autonomy, what does it mean? That the RTVA continues, that the policies of gender violence continue. That the fight against climate change continues.

“Public television and the fight against gender violence will continue”

P. He was the first regional leader of the PP who agreed with Vox for his investiture. He has agreed to three budgets and the key laws of his mandate.

R. And has something happened?

P. Are you going to avoid that pact now?

R. I will try to avoid it. I see it on the street, PSOE and IU voters tell me: ‘Mine are not going to come out, and so that you are in bad company, I vote for you.’ This reflection has been made by Andalusia.

P. The formula of trying to avoid leaves a loophole so that it can happen. Why don’t you rule it out?

R. We can be two hours of interview and they will not get anything else. Citizens have to decide what they want and they still want a three-party agreement and they are not wrong. What they do I will like more or less.

P. Do you see Macarena Olona as vice president?

R. I can not see me.

P. Is it possible to speak of an Andalusian economic miracle when the 12 poorest municipalities in Spain are still in Andalusia?

R. What would be miraculous is that after almost 40 years of socialist governments, we, in three and a half years, would have managed to reverse the poverty rate that certain policies have generated. That is pure heritage of socialism. Andalusian miracle means that in Andalusia for the first time the GDP fell less than the average for Spain during the covid. We have grown more than average.

P. Andalusian GDP fell less due to the lower weight of the industrial fabric and the great weight of agriculture, which are not elements of a first-class economy.

R. Are you saying that the third largest economy in Spain is underdeveloped? Then I would have to ask socialism. Who has destroyed the industry in Andalusia and with 16 pending court cases?

P. After almost four years ruling, you can’t put all the blame on heredity…

R. It cannot be asked that the structural problems of decades be resolved in three and a half years.

“I do not see myself with Macarena Olona as vice president of the Board”

P. Andalusia continues in the last positions in health expenditure per inhabitant.

R. We were the last and now we are the penultimate, we have gone from 1,146 to 1,500 euros (per inhabitant). We have invested 2,000 million euros and 30,000 new workers. We still have a lot to do, but it is unquestionable that in terms of health, education and dependency, we are much better than in 2018.

P. Many covid funds have arrived.

R. But we will maintain it over time with our own funds. Why has the left never managed to reach 7.4% of investment in health or 5% of education? (Figures provided for in the 2022 Budgets that were not approved) We are managers and they are not. This debate cannot be tolerated by the left.

P. What do you think when you listen to the conversations recorded by Villarejo that demonstrate the maneuvers of the PP to prevent the Bárcenas papers from coming to light?

R. It makes me embarrassed. But you have to be very cautious because there is a judicial process. Of course, I ask that those responsible pay.

P. If the Andalusians go well, has Alberto Núñez Feijóo made the generals?

R. No. These are Andalusian elections, but predictably they will have an effect on national politics.

P. If her result differs from that of Isabel Díaz Ayuso in Madrid, could the PP think that the most valid strategy is hers, that of the “cultural battle”, instead of hers, the moderate one?

R. Madrid has a different strategy for its sociology. In Andalusia there is another economic and social reality. We can only grow politically and generate large majorities if we are a focused and moderate party. I understand that due to the existence of Vox there are people in the PP for whom that criterion may not be the most reasonable.

The delayed double winner

Natalia Junquera

The Andalusian president and candidate for re-election, Juan Manuel Moreno, was born in Barcelona 52 years ago. His parents, immigrants from Malaga, returned to his land when he was little to set up a business. His grandparents were day laborers from the Guadalhorce Valley. At the age of 19 he joined the PP. With 25, he was a councilor of the Malaga City Council; with 29, deputy in Congress —for Cantabria—. With 41, Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Equality. With 44, president of the Andalusian PP. With 48, president of the Junta de Andalucía with the support of Ciudadanos and Vox.

During the 2018 regional election campaign, he thought about his departure, aware that the PP’s national leadership had a manager ready to relieve him in anticipation of a bad result. He was -he obtained almost half the support of his predecessor, Javier Arenas-, but the blow from Vox, which premiered in the Andalusian Parliament with 12 deputies, gave him the keys to San Telmo. Today, according to the polls, he is close to the absolute majority in the old socialist fiefdom and has shared the PP with Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the other intellectual author of the expulsion of Pablo Casado. Moreno Bonilla, who once opted for Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría against Casado as the successor of Mariano Rajoy, not only won the 2018 Andalusian elections on a deferred basis: he also won the PP primaries.

In the 2018 campaign, with the attitude of one who has nothing to lose because she already senses defeat and manager, she was seen whispering to the cows —to ask for their vote— and singing taste of love. These days she returned to visit Fadi, the smiling ruminant of 700 kilos. He says it is her “talisman”; and the probes, that the only thing he has to do to hit the final blow is not to wake up the left. He has already achieved the most difficult: blowing and sipping at the same time, being the first of the PP to agree with Vox and maintaining the image of the party’s moderate baron. He who laughs last…

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