The resignation of the leader of Spain’s conservative party, the Partido Popular, now seems to be only a matter of time, after he picked one fight too many.
Pablo Casado has been written off as “politically dead” by senior party officials, commentators and voters, after he criticised the head of Madrid’s Regional Government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who has been called Spain’s Thatcher.
Rumours about his immediate departure have been circulating throughout a day that has seen a number of resignation from his trusty lieutenants, as well as an increase in dissenting voices, many of whom, until now, have been fervently loyal to Casado, He is certainly not expected to last beyond Wednesday evening.
The first to go was his good friend and mentor, Ángel Carromero, who went late last week, even before Sunday’s mass demonstrations outside the doors of the PP headquarters, in a show of support for Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso while simultaneously demanding Casado’s resignation.
And now, as the conservative leader is getting pushed further into a corner: the pressure from the grassroots, territorial leaders and the media for him to resign is almost at fever pitch.
Months of tension between Pablo Casado and Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the woman seen by many as the party’s leader-in-waiting, have led to accusations of corruption and espionage.
Casado, 41, opened an investigation into allegations that Ayuso’s brother received illegal commissions on a €1.5 million public contract for facemasks awarded by her government during the pandemic. He publicly accused her of corruption as he entered a spiral of personal and collective destruction.
Ayuso claimed that Casado’s allies had spied on her and that he was trying to destroy her. “I could never imagine that the national leadership of my party would stoop so low,” she said.
It would seem that the only decision still being negotiated is how the PP can provide it’s outgoing leader with an honourable exit, something that will not be afforded, they say, to his second in command, the Murcia politician Teodoro García Egea.
And already the PP Community Presidents are engaged in a frantic exchange of calls and messages in the face of the unfolding events with almost all of them looking to the Galician Alberto Núñez Feijóo to take up the reins of the party.
Although, to date, he has been fairly non committal, Feijóo was quoted this morning as saying ‘the party needs change, new ideas and new policies” and that he will make “any decision” based on what the party asks of him. “We must all rise to the occasion and make decisions, me among them,” he said.