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The last attempt of Ciudadanos to survive: goodbye to "Coupist Sánchez" and return to the origin


Almost two years after the failed motion of no confidence in Murcia, which further deepened the party's crisis, the newly arrived leadership is trying to change the discourse and appeal to the middle-class voter between 35 and 45 years old before the May elections

On the agenda of fateful days for Citizens, March 18, 2021 occupies a special place.

Almost two years ago, Inés Arrimadas tried to overthrow the Executive of the Region of Murcia, where she governed in coalition with the PP, to seize power together with the PSOE thanks to a joint motion of no confidence.

But the strategy ended in a fiasco: three Ciudadanos councilors backed down and remained faithful to the PP as defectors.

Also three wayward deputies from Vox.

"Today the reconstruction of the center-right begins here," proclaimed the former leader of the popular Pablo Casado, present at the vote.

The attempted motion caused a tsunami in the rest of Spain that further plunged CS into a crisis weighed down until now, when the party faces the May 28 elections for life or death.

The brain behind the Murcia plan was Carlos Cuadrado, former CS deputy secretary general, who had strengthened ties with Félix Bolaños, then secretary of the Presidency, when negotiating the states of alarm.

"Cuadrado said that a corrective had to be made to the PP, which had become very belligerent in the governments we shared," says a position of the former executive.

But that "corrective" was not limited to Murcia, but was the starting point for a new direction.

“The idea was to change the preferred partner.

Putting aside that they saw us as a crutch for the PP ”, adds another source from the previous leadership.

Also amend the "error", as Arrimadas stated in EL PAÍS in 2021, of having "gifted to the PP" all the regional governments that were in the hands of Albert Rivera.

A PP that refloated thanks to the pacts with CS.

In February 2021, shortly before the Murcia motion, the CIS granted Ciudadanos 9.3% to Congress.

Therefore, during the previous 15 months, CS had overcome the 6.86% achieved by Rivera in the ruinous general elections of November 2019, after which he resigned.

“When we said yes to the alarm states, people saw us as useful;

and that we could agree on one side and the other according to the interests of the citizen”, other sources continue.

Ciudadanos not only was not falling even more, but it was also sticking its head out in the polls.

More information

Ten executives of Pablo Casado supported his complaints before the betrayal

But Murcia cut short the promotion.

In September of that year, the CIS again granted him 6.5%, below the percentage obtained by Rivera.

“In Murcia we did absolutely wrong and he went to waste.

From then on, they began to see us as failures, others as traitors, and people began to leave”, continues another exalted official.

Arrimadas, accused by former members of the "sanchista" party, she clung to a speech of frontal opposition to the President of the Government.

Around 5% of CS positions have been transferred to the PP since the start of the crisis, according to data from the formation, in a trail of names that already brings together some 200 leaders.

In the parliamentary group of Congress, in which several deputies do not even speak to Arrimadas, one person is considering leaving one of the nine seats before the May elections.

The new address arrives

The failed motion had consequences in Madrid: the president of the Community, the popular Isabel Díaz Ayuso, brought forward the elections.

Since then, all the elections that have been held have been a new setback for CS: Madrid, Castilla y León and Andalusia.

And in all the communities, as in Murcia, he had governed in coalition with the PP.

After the Andalusian elections last June, Arrimadas activated the re-founding of the party, which culminated in January with the holding of the sixth general assembly and the entry of a new leadership.

The political spokesperson, Patricia Guasp, is now the leader of the party;

and Adrián Vázquez, the general secretary, a “plumber” who has restructured the internal organization.

“The teams were uncoordinated.

The previous management did nothing to change things ”, they point out from the top,

who on Thursday completed one month in command.

However, in the last CIS, Ciudadanos has dropped to 2% compared to 2.9% in the previous barometer.

February has been "a black month" with new casualties, more PP signings and the controversy surrounding the deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís, who valued being "an internal current" in the PP.

“The game is very bad and people make mistakes.

She got nervous ”, they acknowledge from the executive, aware that they had to swallow toads in the face of her greatest “political asset”.

After the internal restructuring, the new management is now starting a "cycle change" in its messages.

Arrimadas is no longer in the hard core of decisions.

In Ciudadanos —which still has 11 million euros in cash to stay afloat—, they are aware that resources must be optimized in the campaign and also that in May they only aspire to “not disappear”.

So they will focus the shot: "We cannot appeal to all citizens as we are."

His message will seek to penetrate among the Spanish of families with children (or with the idea of ​​having them), of the upper middle class, and between 35 and 45 years of age.

"We are going to be the speaker of the silenced and cheated Spain that nobody defends, the shield of that squeezed Spain that gives so much and receives nothing," Guasp said this Saturday in Madrid, at the presentation of the candidacies for the elections. May, under the motto

For yours

, in front of some 300 people.

But that niche is not new in Ciudadanos.

Rivera already addressed that electorate at the beginning.

In the general elections of April 2019, in which Rivera rose to heaven by winning 57 deputies, almost 30% of the party's ads in that electoral campaign were aimed at the age group between 34 and 44 years, for above the rest.

Several sources agree on this "return to the origin" that the new directive intends by exhorting the family model that Jorge Dioni López portrayed in

La España de las piscinas

(Arpa, 2021), and who lives and invests his time in residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of cities.

In fact, one of these areas appears on the CS pre-campaign poster: the PAU (Urban Action Plan) of Valdebebas (Madrid).

“It is true that it is our typical electorate.

But we had abandoned it and we had turned to following current issues”, explains another senior official.

This is our pre-campaign motto for #28M

We are here to be the voice and shield of those who matter most to you and for whom no one defends.

We are here for the same reasons that the middle class gets up every day: to bequeath a better country to those who come.#PorLosTuyos

– Citizens 🇪🇸🇪🇺 (@CiudadanosCs) February 18, 2023

In this new era, Arrimadas will continue to play an important role by being the spokesperson in Congress and the recognizable face behind doors, facing the unknown Guasp.

“Patricia is not Inés.

She doesn't have that much impact.

She doesn't get that deep ”, they point out from the executive's team, and add that Guasp “will learn”.

Change of tone

But Arrimadas will have to change the tone and that is how they have transferred it to him.

“Inés has to stop saying 'Coup government and Frankenstein.'

It is necessary to take advantage of its political potential but with the messages and the strategy of the new direction”, sentence other sources from the Guasp environment.

The former president will be at "the party's disposal" in "whatever she can help", according to what she herself said on Tuesday.

The leadership will claim her for the campaign, but she did not attend the event this Saturday for "personal reasons," she added at the same press conference in Congress.

Arrimadas, in Congress, in the control session on Wednesday. Eduardo Parra (Europa Press)

Catalonia will remain at the


of CS, but the defense of the "unity of Spain" will cease to be a central issue, with a change of discourse "more purposeful" and abandoning the center right.

As examples, Guasp did not mention anything related to nationalism in the pre-campaign kick-off at the Saturday event.

In addition, the new leadership does not support the motion of censure that Vox is considering presenting, nor did it attend the demonstration promoted, among others, by the ultra formation on January 20, where Arrimadas was.

It will also be to grind the "egalitarian" health in all the autonomies and the opposition to the homogeneous increase in pensions.

For the new direction of CS, the PP will no longer be a preferred partner, as happened in the stage prior to the Murcia motion.

Neither the PSOE.

The executive hopes to achieve representation in the Balearic Islands, the Valencian Community or the Region of Murcia.

And in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Ciudad Real, Burgos or Salamanca.

But surveys indicate that there is hardly any room for survival anywhere.

“There is a very good chance that we will die in May.

But you have to try," says a member of the executive.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-20

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