What Would Sánchez Do In Casado’s Place?

PabloCasadoPablo Casado, PP's leader

Fernando González Urbaneja | It is a speculative but interesting question to take the political temperature of these liquid times. The Sánchez method in the face of government alliances is none other than to do what the mathematics indicate… apart from a German-style grand coalition. Sánchez made a pact with Unidos Podemos, with the addition of ERC, Bildu and others, contrary to all his repeated and emphatic statements of the previous day, because the arithmetic left no alternative options. The pact was fast-tracked, almost nocturnally, with a hasty drafting of a programme and with the scenography of Sánchez and Iglesias’ embrace.

If Casado adopts the same methodology, he would have to tell Mañueco to go ahead and embrace Juan García-Gallardo (Vox) with a shared document, form a government and we will see how the day dawns. The added advantage for the PP after such an agreement (which Casado has resisted with good reason) would be greater stability in the governments of Madrid and Andalusia. The disadvantage comes with what it means in terms of a change in strategy compared to that maintained by the leaders of the PP, specifically Pablo Casado.

The attempt to isolate VOX as dangerous ultras is part of the narrative constructed by the other political groups further to the left, in order to weaken the PP and nullify its chances of achieving a majority in government. The cordon sanitaire against VOX is of interest above all to the PSOE. It is more tactical than anything else.

The ultra and populist character of VOX is evident. There are more ultras. Comparisons with other parties at the extremes of the ideological spectrum do not help, but rather confuse. Comparisons reduce everything to absurdity. Who is more extremist and populist, whether VOX or ERC or Unidos Podemos or the rest of the parties in that area, is useless work. All these groups at the extremes are legalised, they are constitutional, although they want to do away with the Constitution. And all of them have voters and militants who support them by personal and free decision, by conviction or by tactics.

Sánchez would make a pact with his adversaries if it guaranteed him access to the government. What will Casado do? Today, perhaps even he does not know, he has to weigh up the consequences, the intended and the unintended, which are difficult to estimate. The hypothesis of another election in Castilla y León is dangerous, it would not please the voters, it would reveal weakness and impotence. An extremely uncertain adventure. The hypothesis of governing in a minority after reaching an agreement with the localists in Soria, Ávila and León to form an insufficient minority, sustained by the incompatibility between Vox and the left, is unstable and complicated.

The two parties of the two-party system are not strong enough to govern, due to their own mistakes. They have disappointed their base, which has punished them by supporting unproven alternatives. Instability is served and will last as long as the situation does not improve or worsen to the point of emergency. Sánchez would reach an agreement with anyone to govern, for Casado it is more complicated.

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.