The clock marked almost eleven o’clock at night on Monday when Macarena Olona banished hopes in the PP with a stroke of the pen. The Vox candidate had that message very well prepared and she stared at the Andalusian president to warn him: “I want you to remember it, because what Vox says during the campaign, Vox does after the elections.” Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla endured with an undaunted gesture. “If you just need a seat from Vox,” Olona continued, “if you just need an abstention from Vox to be president, it will not be if Vox is not in the government.” The announcement, launched in a solemn way in the second and last electoral debate around 19-J, was a jug of cold water for the PP.
The popular can no longer be deceived: the extreme right is going to demand the toll of a joint government, just like in Castilla y León. The PP now trusts that Citizens will manage to get two or three seats that will complete them until they reach an absolute majority and try to corner Vox. But the option of an Executive with the extreme right, with a pact that safeguards social policies, is also on the table. Although Moreno Bonilla ignored it over and over again during the second and last televised debate between the six candidates.
After Vox’s ordeal, the PP is bustling looking for a way out of the labyrinth. The popular do not want another autonomous government with the extreme right, which is already a headache for Alfonso Fernández Mañueco in Castilla y León and who know that it compromises Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s strategy to reach La Moncloa. But they have few alternatives. “Whether you like it or not, when they say something, they do it. What Olona has said is going to be carried out to the last consequences”, analyzes a leader of the PP of Castilla y León who was in the kitchen of the negotiation with the ultras and verified that there was no way for them to get off the donkey. “Everything seems to indicate that whatever the result on Sunday, we are going to a PP-Vox confrontation,” he anticipates. “And that can only end in a deal or a breakup. From experience, Vox only contemplates that we give in ”.
deal or breakup
Agreement or rupture with Vox? That is the dilemma that the PP is going through, knowing that it is fright or death, because the rupture would imply an electoral repetition with uncertain consequences. With five days to go before the elections, at Moreno Bonilla’s campaign headquarters they bet everything on a last-minute carom. “The key now is not the PP, but Ciudadanos”, point out sources close to the Andalusian president. If Cs gets “three or four seats” and the sum puts them “in fifty-odd deputies”, they calculate, then it would be possible to force Vox not to block the investiture of a candidate who is running close to the 55 seats of the absolute majority . That is the first option that is considered to try to avoid Macarena Olona becoming vice president of Andalusia.
But that scenario is not guaranteed. On the one hand, because it remains to be seen that Cs will not be swept off the map as in Castilla y León -where he won a seat- or Madrid -where he was extra-parliamentary-. But, on the other hand, nothing guarantees that Vox will give in to this challenge. “If you just need a Vox seat…”, Olona threatened during the debate, you will have to put them in the Government.
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What neither the Andalusian president nor the main leaders of the PP come to contemplate seriously in private is an electoral repetition. “The problem with repeating the elections is that it does not guarantee that the result will eliminate the problem of needing Vox,” defends a member of the Feijóo leadership. Andalusia could repeat the elections and the extreme right could once again be decisive. The same thing happened to Pedro Sánchez in the 2019 electoral repetition with Podemos. In the end, Pablo Iglesias managed to bend his arm and become his vice president.
The possibility of a coalition government with Vox is, therefore, on the table in the calculation of PP scenarios, according to the sources consulted. The candidate, who neither in the electoral debate nor in the interview last Sunday in EL PAÍS ruled out an agreement with Vox, is clear that he would be firm and refuse to agree with the extreme right on a setback in social policies, such as the fight against gender violence or against climate change, according to sources from their environment. During the debate, however, Moreno Bonilla avoided responding to repeated requests from Olona and the PSOE candidate to reveal who he wants to agree with. He also did not reveal that if he has to make Olona vice president he will raise the red lines on him. The Andalusian president has a direct line with Santiago Abascal and believes that he could achieve an agreement without the most controversial measures of Vox. It is, in the opinion of many in the PP, the least bad option.
Moreno Bonilla could still be saved by the useful vote campaign, which is always activated in the last days of the campaign. For that, he needs that neither the heat wave nor the overconfidence of his people due to the good polls detract from his support. Oddly enough, it is also a risk that voters make a mistake when taking the ballot. They are the side effects of jibarizing the initials of the PP in the campaign. The popular ones had to broadcast a video yesterday to remember that if you want to vote for “Juanma” you have to choose the PP ballot. The problem is that her name does not appear in all of them, but only in the Malaga one, whose list she heads. And that the Juanma brand has distanced itself too much from the PP brand.
The popular have also placed posters along the coastal areas calling to vote, taking into account that Sunday is expected to be a fantastic day of heat and beach. “There are many beach days, but only one to keep moving forward,” say the billboards. In spite of everything, in the campaign headquarters they do not fear a general demobilization, because they detect their “very activated” voter. But in the messages they call not to be trusted, because “you have to keep your people tense”, they say in the PP, a classic in electoral campaigns. And because all the votes count to try to escape the cloud of Vox.
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