Begoña Villacís climbs the glass stairs of the Urso hotel in Madrid at four in the afternoon this Wednesday.
A five star located in the center of the capital.
Of neoclassical elegance, colorful stained glass windows, marble floors, walls lined with wood.
And only 800 meters from the national headquarters of the Popular Party.
“This is a neutral place.
We have used it other times, ”clarifies a member of his team.
The expectation is maximum.
More than twenty journalists from different media are waiting to hear the future of the deputy mayor of Madrid after the worst week in her political career.
With nods to the Popular Party.
A meeting alone with the general coordinator of the PP, Elías Bendodo.
Dotted with messages to his friends where he tells them that she values integrating as an "internal current" in the popular ranks.
Villacís cannot wait any longer.
He understands that the time has come to put an end to “speculations”.
Despite being a woman who, according to a person of her utmost confidence, is characterized by defoliating the daisy at the last moment, she already reveals her intentions, pressured by the national leadership of her party.
She arrives at the hotel on time.
With a serious face.
She is dressed in a dark suit, and thinner than she was just a few days ago.
The chosen hall is a diaphanous space of 100 square meters that the hotel itself labels on its website as a "greenhouse".
The staging is very simple.
A black stand microphone next to a paper lined background with roses and green plants.
No Ciudadanos logos.
He clears his throat.
She is nervous.
But she is blunt:
—I do not stay in Ciudadanos because I have never left Ciudadanos.
Villacís discards the offer of the PP and announces that he is presenting himself as a candidate for CS: "I am not staying in Ciudadanos because I have never left"
And she announces, against all odds, that she is running as a candidate for the party's primaries to be head of the list for mayor of Madrid.
And yet... this is the unsuccessful end of Villacís' journey back to her own party, as if a few weeks ago she had not phoned any high-ranking Ciudadanos official in the capital to have a coffee after the primaries of the liberal training.
In a Madrid cafeteria, as EL PAÍS revealed last Friday, the deputy mayor confessed: "I value being an internal current within the PP."
It was not the first time.
Other Ciudadanos sources told this newspaper last week that this same sentence was said to more charges and members of her team just a few weeks ago.
What's more, this Friday, in a conversation with this newspaper, the deputy mayor herself explained herself like this: “Yes,
I have said it.
I said that I have valued this option, but we have also talked about creating other spaces and other options.
It is not a casual conversation, it is a conversation that they are having in many Ciudadanos sites throughout Spain.
For me, it has its risks.
This option and many others have been evaluated as well.
There are weeks that I think one thing and other weeks that I consider other options”.
Are you going to present yourself as a candidate for mayor for Ciudadanos in Madrid?
"It will be known in due time.
The opportune moment was this Wednesday after five days of speculation and meetings with his councilors and his own team.
What's more, last Friday, in the conversation he had with this newspaper, Villacís openly stated, and for the first time, that the Ciudadanos candidates for the next municipal and regional elections should be free when it comes to forming their lists.
“That they present themselves separately, together with other parties, with groups.
We defended joint lists in Catalonia with the PP.
I am not proposing the extinction of the center space, what I am saying is that this space must be defended”.
Two hours later, before the barrage of messages and the pressure that he received from the leadership of the party,
she was forced to publicly clarify her position with a video on her Instagram profile where she publicly acknowledged the news.
Villacís's political earthquake was already underway.
Villacís arrives at the press conference.Samuel Sánchez
The CS parliamentary spokesman, Edmundo Bal, the man with whom she laughed out loud and shared reeds and photos during the Madrid electoral campaign in May 2021, exploded against her on her Twitter profile: “We did not come to Ciudadanos for this.
Good luck, Begoña Villacís”.
The new secretary general, Adrián Vázquez, who herself supported leading the party just a few weeks ago in the primaries, also struck down her proposal for open lists: "We will be present throughout Spain offering an autonomous project."
Cornered, Villacís's proposal to join the PP had its days numbered.
"That image cannot be given," said other sources of the executive.
The final slam on her integration into the PP, however, came from the Community of Madrid on Friday afternoon.
"There is no space here"
sources from the presidency of the region pointed out.
The only option was to wait for the tidal wave to dissolve: a chimera.
Villacís did not give his arm to twist.
On Monday he gave an interview to the newspaper
, despite the fact that it was scheduled for this Wednesday.
Time was pressing her.
"Citizens have to take risks, sometimes you have to sacrifice acronyms," she said.
Villacís did not count on another definitive blow.
He also recounted on Monday that only seven days before he met with the general coordinator of the PP, Elías Bendodo, at her request and with the idea of negotiating his entry into the popular ranks.
"She asked to go to the PP without further ado," sources from Genoa explain to EL PAÍS.
On Monday morning she still hadn't finished.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso spoke for the first time about the possible signing: "The best of Ciudadanos has already come with me."
Another public slam.
Later, in the meeting with the barons in the executive committee, the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, made it clear that he left the territories free to draw up their lists.
Without the support of Ayuso, Villacís only had two options: either explicit support from Almeida favored his integration or the national PP opted for incorporation into its lists for the general elections in December.
Secret meeting of Villacís and his 10 councilors: “I am not sure.
Don't believe the press."
Villacís then summoned his 11 councilors at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.
The municipal group of Citizens is not going through its best moment.
There are councilors who do not speak to each other, others who feel like Villacís and some who hold regular meetings and through intermediaries with the PP environment.
Internal surveys predict that, except for a miracle, everyone's days are numbered.
There, as this newspaper reported, Villacís went to listen, but it was not clear either: “I am not clear about my future.
Don't believe the press."
During the 60 minutes that the meeting lasted and despite the fact that the talk was relaxed, several of them asked:
-Begoña, are you going to present yourself for Ciudadanos?
I have to talk to more people.
I have not made the decision.
- Is there an offer from the PP?
Villacís did not answer.
If from the outside it was not blunt, neither was it from the inside.
He also did not make it clear what he was going to do to the two national leaders of the party -Patricia Guasp and Adrián Vázquez-, whom he stood up on Monday afternoon and with whom he only spoke on the phone.
On Tuesday, during the monthly plenary session of the City Council, Villacís ruled out attending to the media.
He was very aware of the mobile, with talks with his mayors.
"Is better to wait.
He is going through a bad time ”, stressed a person from his circle of confidence.
Yes, the mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, expressed his opinion: "I have no news or knowledge of any intention of the vice mayor [to join the PP]."
However, after the plenary session on Tuesday, Villacís telephoned Almeida around five in the afternoon and asked him to come up to his office.
The meeting lasts 15 minutes.
Not even she asks to go to the PP.
He doesn't even ask me to step forward.
22 hours later, at 2:18 p.m. this Wednesday, the Villacís team called an urgent press conference without explaining the reasons.
The matter was obvious: to reveal his future.
“I have never proposed to the PP.
Nothing has changed from a week to now.
I do not stay in Ciudadanos because I have never left Ciudadanos.
I have not moved one iota from my party.
My circle has said many things, but today I speak."
He announces that he is running for the Ciudadanos primaries in Madrid.
He transfers the idea that everything has been a strategy to bring it down, without mentioning names.
“In the mud I don't move well.
This week has been covered with speculation.
I wanted to wait for the right moment."
He also does not notify all his councilors of his decision.
"It's as if the meeting on Monday had not happened," says one of them by phone.
“It's as if he intended to leave the rest of us as liars.
And the meeting on Monday passed, and at the meeting on Monday he did not know how to answer the question of whether he was going to run for primaries ”.
Another is more emphatic: “He has left a question unanswered.
'Will you go to the PP at some point?'
The deputy mayor, after finding herself trapped, tried to sell the story that the Popular Party had gambled and become her victim.
In the national leadership of Ciudadanos they had to justify her decision and endorse it with a lukewarm statement, which does little to show off what was defended during the refoundation.
"They are killing us from within," says a senior official.
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