The war in the PP of Vigo is without quarter. This week he knew one of his bloodiest episodes: the organizing committee of his imminent congress accused Senator Javier Guerra, aspiring to the leadership against the ruling party, irregular party affiliations. This assures that they are not and that, in any case, the new militants could never participate in the conclave as they were outside the already closed census. “They want to muddy, but I will defend myself,” says Guerra. The delicate organic situation of the popular in the first city of Galicia by inhabitants, which only ruled for eight of 42 years of democracy, is no exception. Feijóo’s formation is resisted by the urban fringe of the community.
The last popular candidate for mayor of Vigo was a personal bet of the president of the Xunta, his former councilor of Facenda Elena Muñoz. Went wrong. He crashed into the PSOE of Abel Caballero, which beat it with 20 councilors compared to four. He resigned almost immediately and found a way out of professional politics. She is now a senator. And in the PP of Vigo, after two years of interim, hostilities have been unleashed. The Galician apparatus wants to be led by Marta Fernández-Tapias, currently the territorial delegate of the autonomous government. The senator, and former Minister of Industry, Javier Guerra wants to lead him. The dispute rose in tone with the aforementioned statement from the organizing committee that blamed him for domiciling the militancy of 19 people on his account. Guerra insists that there was no bad faith, since they will not have the right to vote in the local congress on December 18.
Muñoz’s resounding failure was not the only one derived from Feijóo’s strategy to expand the urban power of his party in 2019. For A Coruña I send another regional minister, in this case for the Environment, Beatriz Mato. He did not stop doing opposition work to the Coruña municipal executive, then headed by Marea Atlántica, from the department. It didn’t go well either. The tide lost the consistory, but in its place the Socialist Party entered with Inés Rey as mayor. The PP has only governed the city -second in Galicia by inhabitants- for four of the 42 years since the first municipal elections after Franco’s death. Mato soon left, and signed for Greenalia, an energy company. His passage through the revolving door drew harsh criticism. At the head of the popular in the municipal plenary session was Rosa Gallego, who was already a spokesperson against Atlantic Tide before the frustrated Mato operation.
The parade of ex-conselleiros towards the candidacies of the PP to the urban governments also reached Santiago de Compostela and Ferrol. In the Galician capital, the former Infraestruturas, Agustín Hernández, obtained the lowest results in the history of the popular in the city. His four years of fierce opposition to Martiño Noriega’s Compostela Aberta ended up being made profitable by the PSOE, which returned to a mayor’s office that he has held for 30 years. The PP was only a convulsive mandate, between 2011 and 2015, and it needed three different regidores after Conde Roa resigned due to matters related to the treasury and Ángel Currás accused in two court cases. The fact is that Hernández immediately found a political alternative to his defeat, as president of the Economic and Social Council. The current municipal spokesperson is Alejandro Sánchez-Brunete, number two for Hernández.
The last candidate of the Ferrol PP was José Manuel Rey Varela, former Minister of Social Policy and in his day very close to the president of the Xunta. In Ferrol – where the council members do not usually repeat mandate – he also faced the then ruling local tide, Ferrol en Común, but the victory was taken by Ángel Mato’s PSOE. He continues as a mayor in the opposition, which differentiates him from his defeated colleagues, and as a deputy in the Galician Parliament.
The PP lost the mayoralty of the city of Mariano Rajoy in 1999. The nationalist Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores took control of the baton and, alone or in coalition with the Socialists, directed the pedestrianization of the historic center of Pontevedra through which the has become popular. In 2021 he maintains the position. Neither did the popular ones return to the mayor’s office of Lugo, which they lost that last year of the last century. It is governed by Lara Méndez’s Socialist Party, currently in coalition with the BNG. Neither in Pontevedra nor in Lugo do those of Feijóo have leaders settled less than two years before the next electoral appointment.
But it is in Ourense, the third city of the community by population, where everything is complicated for the PP. His government is in the hands of Gonzalo Pérez Jácome, from the right-wing populist Democracia Ourensana party, but only thanks to the support of the popular, who are currently part of the executive. This was not the case for most of the term. In August of last year, they abandoned him, amid loud accusations of corruption against Jácome. His objective was to overthrow him thanks to four councilors who left Democracia Ourensana. Against all odds, the mayor held out with only two other loyal councilors. The PP refused to seek a solution to the paralysis that gripped Ourense and did not want to explore the possibility of a vote of no confidence led by the Socialists, the most voted list. Last June, the PP re-entered the government.
The bizarre and ill-fated operation to expel took ahead the former candidate of the popular for mayor, the former Minister of Education Jesús Vázquez, who resigned. This Tuesday, A court charged Jácome with an alleged crime of prevarication. The PP has not spoken. In the background, the never resolved tensions between the Galician leadership and Manuel Baltar, president of the only one of the four councils that the PP controls, that of Ourense. The difficulties only active right in Galician institutional politics –Vox lacks representatives and Ciudadanos never finished taking hold– are not limited to the so-called seven cities of Galicia. Only three of the 20 most populated municipalities govern: Arteixo, Ribeira and Marín. And the metropolitan areas are not his strong suit either: the left and nationalism rule Culleredo, Cambre or Oleiros, in the surroundings of A Coruña; in Narón, close to Ferrol; Ames and Teo, together with Santiago; o Redondela, Porriño, Cangas and Moaña in the vicinity of Vigo.