There are five minutes left until the first campaign rally of Juan Marín, vice president of the Junta de Andalucía and regional coordinator of Citizens in that community, and one of the 11 candidates who have appeared in the party’s primaries to preside over the autonomous government. At the gates of the Valentín de Madariaga y Oya Foundation, in Seville, Antonio Sánchez, a member of the formation, was waiting to enter this Saturday. He comes from listening to the proposals of another of the applicants, Antonio del Pozo, at the headquarters of the Seville capital and on Friday afternoon he attended the event organized by Fran Carrillo, regional deputy for Córdoba and Marín’s main rival. “I will go to all the events that I can or to the ones that the candidates invite me, to be that they give us for dead, apparently we are very alive,” he warns.
Around fifty people have attended the Marín event. Some militants, convinced of their vote, others waiting. Most of those consulted by this newspaper were, like Sánchez, the day before at Carrillo’s act and are attentive to notifications and messages from the rest of the applicants. They are aware that in Andalusia a good part of the future of Cs is at stake in the rest of the country, and although they are critical of certain attitudes of the training leaders, they are not resigned to disappearing. “We are in the ICU, but we have not died yet,” acknowledges Francisco Serrano, an affiliate who has traveled directly from Osuna. The noise generated by the provisional inadmissibility of Carrillo’s candidacy has further opened the rift between the so-called critical sector of the party and those closest to the leadership, evidencing the internal division. “These primaries do not favor us because they only represent particular interests and the diversity of opinions within the party,” laments another affiliate who prefers to remain anonymous.
Ciudadanos Andalucía has 2,589 affiliates who between next Monday and Tuesday are entitled to choose their candidate to preside over the Board. It is not the first time that this type of internal election has been held and not even this is the time when more contestants attend – in 2018 there were 13 – but, what is a fact is that the internal situation of the party, both At the national and regional level, and the spirits of the rank and file, both plunged into a spiral of confusion and defeatism, pose a reality that is far from the scene of euphoria and optimism of three years ago.
Then the party aspired to the sorpasso to the PP in that community, and although it was five deputies to achieve it, it did manage to form a Government, removing the PSOE from power, after 37 years. Now it has sunk into dangerous irrelevance, unable to monetize its presence on the Board. “What our advisers have done should have been better sold, but one might wonder what would have happened if [Juan Manuel] Moreno would have ruled alone, I don’t think he would have kept a moderate profile, look at [Pablo] Married, ”says Amalia González. She attributes the free fall of her party in Andalusia to the strategy adopted by the national leadership. “The noise from outside in Andalusia always works,” he says. Another party comrade, who does not want to give his name either, thinks, however, that Cs in the community has known how to “encapsulate” themselves in the face of what is happening outside and is satisfied that there are so many candidates. “That is a symptom of internal democracy, now, the experiments with soda,” he warns.
Domingo Castillo also came on Friday to listen to Carrillo. You have not decided your vote yet. “In all the games there are criticisms, but in the end the important thing is the substance and deep down there are not so many nuances either,” he points out. Although many of those present at the Marín ceremony recognize that the controversy of the last hours on account of the validation of Carrillo’s candidacy – which he himself has been in charge of stoking on social networks – does not benefit the image of the party, too they agree, like Castillo, that there is not so much distance in the proposition. “Carrillo was very correct yesterday. The proposals are very similar, they want to do the same, so it seems that there is some interest behind partisan to promote a division that only hurts the party, “says an affiliate who does not want to give his name because, curiously and as in the case of the deputy Cordoba, you have just been notified that you are not up to date with all payments.
The militants who have gone to see Marín demonstrate that they are aware of what they think and the proposals of the rest of the candidates, although they confess that many do not know them and that they follow their initiatives on social networks. There are some more clueless. “I thought there were only three showing up. Yesterday I was with Carrillo, but if it turns out that there are up to 11, it is clear that in three days I will not be able to find out everything “, explains one of the youngest attendees who, in addition to not revealing her identity, does not want to value the two applicants. you have heard: “My assessment, as my vote I keep to myself.”
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Little remains of that somewhat naive illusion that prompted the beginnings of Cs. Its militants do not shy away from reality, but neither do they resign themselves to disappearing. “As much as we see the game over, we have to hold on to something so that it doesn’t die. We are necessary ”, assures Serrano. This teacher knows what he is talking about because he started in politics at UCD and then continued at CDS. “I see that the path is similar, but I cannot die politically three times,” he smiles wryly.
Call for unity and requests for debate
In his first official campaign act – on Friday afternoon he was in Jerez (Cádiz) and on Sunday he goes to Malaga, where he will coincide with his main opponent from three years ago, Elena Bago – Marín has also made a special effort to call the unit of the party and in convincing of the need for the project to remain alive in Andalusia to relaunch it at the national level. Visibly moved – he burst into tears at the start of his speech – Marín has questioned those who “question the structures of his party.” “I present myself to preside over the Board, not to change the party,” he pointed out in a veiled reference to Carrillo, his main opponent who, in this newspaper, expressed the need to “regenerate and change those who have plunged the party into irrelevance ”And that in the last 24 hours he has questioned the cleanliness of the primaries after the Guarantee Commission had not accepted his candidacy because he was not aware of the payment of more than 4000 euros in installments due to his status as an organic position.
Once rehabilitated, after having deposited the amount in Cs’s account, Carrillo continues with his strategy of hand-to-hand confrontation with Marín – on Friday he demanded that it be published whether or not he was up to date with his payments between 2015 and 2021 – and has asked on Twitter for a debate on Sunday at 12 at the headquarters of the partyor in Seville with all the candidates, although he only expressly mentioned the vice president of the Board. On Friday, the candidate for Renovadores, Carmen Almagro, requested the same – even in time and place – from the party leadership. He communicated it through social networks, but his message went unnoticed.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.