-It is done.
“No, you can’t be heard.”
José Luis Martínez-Almeida has been spending his last days of the year at home, infected with the new pandemic variant for more than a week. This Thursday he closed his second year in office through a camera connected from a corner of his home. Looking good, but after a few days of high fever, he answered all the journalists’ questions dressed in a brown sweater and a blue shirt with a flowerpot in the background:
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“Right now I have a viral load and some symptoms.
The mayor asked the people of Madrid to respect the New Year’s Eve festivities at Puerta del Sol, along with the necessary precautions. And he entered politics, the subject that he likes so much. “If we have shown something in this Government, it is that, regardless of what can be said, we put the people of Madrid ahead,” he observed in reference to the harsh accusations that he is receiving these days from Vox both publicly and on social networks towards His person. “Yesterday Vox accused me of running into the extreme left,” he continued. “As well; I am mayor thanks to the votes of Vox. We have been able to get the budgets with them before, but who has moved away has not been the mayor, but Vox. They will find me with the policy that is useful, regardless of personal attacks. And he completely distanced himself from a sanitary cordon towards the extreme right as they ask from the bench of the left-wing blocks: “I am not going to cut with Vox when I understand that it is beneficial.”
The mayor of the capital of Spain closes the year with the compass of his disoriented political direction. After two years of continuous messages of support for Vox, to whom he owes his investiture, he had to turn the tide at the turn of the summer. At stake was the approval of the new mobility ordinance, the new Central Madrid. With Vox’s no to this measure, the extreme right has taken advantage of any act, plenary session or press conference, to remind it that with this guideline it is failing to fulfill its main electoral promise day after day.
They do not forget that Almeida appeared in May 2019 with posters announcing the withdrawal from Madrid Central and he has not done so. The far right now believes they are at the perfect time to further divide the Conservative voter. “It’s not like Ayuso”, they continuously launch from Vox. Even more so when he managed to get this new mobility ordinance with the new Mixed Group, the four new tenants of the City Council who left Más Madrid in April of this year due to disagreements with the party and now call themselves Recupera Madrid. Seven months later, the Mixed Group is also divided. And Almeida has also managed to carry out the 2022 Budgets with three of his votes. A fact that also affects Abascal’s formation: “Almeida is not like Ayuso, he makes a pact with the communists.” A few days ago, even the spokesperson for Vox in the City Council, Javier Ortega Smith, published an electoral wink on his Instagram account: “Communism or freedom.” Comunismo had an image of Almeida stamped with Manuela Carmena and a mayor of the Mixed Group. Libertad was a photograph of Smith himself. Almeida tries to combat these powerful images with data: “Vox has voted numerous amendments of Más Madrid in plenary sessions”.
Ayuso’s turn of the wheel
It is not being an ideal closing year for Almeida’s team. 2021 began for him with a popularity through the roof. Bust audiences in The Hormiguero, where he was hailed as the “mayor of Spain.” However, in their environment they assure that a week after sitting down with Trancas and Barrancas on Antena 3, everything took an unexpected turn. “Ayuso’s overwhelming victory changed his pace and everything has led us to a phase of confusion,” Cibeles sources assured this newspaper just a few days ago. Ayuso overlapped his unstoppable media rise on May 4. All the conservative media began to give less space to their actions to give the new leader of the right greater. Their social media data also came to a halt. They no longer grew as before.
Almeida, unlike in Puerta del Sol, where Vox has always been roared and praised above any party, did manage to reach an agreement with the entire parliamentary arch in 2020. Left and right. That was the slogan of his team at the beginning of 2021. Expand the electorate on both sides, take advantage of the weakening of Más Madrid after the departure of Manuela Carmena and the exhaustion of Ciudadanos. Thus, he would line 2023 with an absolute majority with Vox or alone, and all, without great works or emblems of draft in the city. “His sympathy with the public is undeniable,” a person of his utmost confidence pointed out a week ago as his main bulwark. The opposition could not find a way to get their hands on such a success of popularity. Being nice as an electoral asset, very much in the style of the also popular mayor of Madrid José María Álvarez del Manzano.
The hypothetical transversal mayor, deep down, has always been more comfortable with Vox, whom he has defended even in the hardest moments such as international days against gender violence, where the extreme right tries to take seconds and photos to get out on the news. Now, after Vox’s rejection of the City Council’s 2022 accounts, Almeida’s team tries to lessen the impact on their voters with a large round of interviews with conservative media. Five in less than 48 hours. To them, they explain in their team, an explanation is owed, as they also assure in an editorial in the newspaper The world. 2022, without a doubt, is expected to be stormy on the right wings of the City Council and in the Madrid PP, where in the internal war with Ayuso, the also spokesman for the national PP has not yet decided his last word.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.