The Murcian fiasco has left the government baffled. What seemed like a perfect operation has become a major problem that disrupts Pedro Sánchez’s strategy. Ciudadanos, whom La Moncloa always looks for as an alternative to reinforce the majority, is left in tatters, it is likely that it will move away from the PSOE and may disappear in Madrid. We can also run this risk.
The coalition endures, but the scenario becomes very complicated unless the left manages to recover Madrid, a difficult objective, but one that La Moncloa does not see as impossible.
On paper, everything fitted. And it sounded great. The PSOE managed to remove the PP from power in Murcia after 26 years, and began a path according to Citizens that opened many doors. La Moncloa has been trying to attract the party of Inés Arrimadas for months.
In fact the Budgets were designed so that they could enter. But the tensions between Ciudadanos, Unidas Podemos and ERC, which pushed for them to be out, made it unfeasible. However, Félix Bolaños, a key man in La Moncloa, kept a very oiled bond with Carlos Cuadrado, Arrimadas’ right hand man.
And when on Tuesday Cuadrado called him to tell him that the motion of censure was being launched in Murcia , which the local leaders of the PSOE and Ciudadanos had already spoken about, the Socialists launched into the operation with a very clear condition: that the six Orange deputies signed the motion and left in writing that they were willing, to avoid surprises.
Cuadrado went to Murcia, obtained the signature of the six and transferred to the PSOE that everything was under control. Only then did the machinery start up.
But it was not so controlled. The Socialists now lament the foul play of their rivals, who have used defectors and even physical pressure on the deputies – some saw their doors being banged at night while they rested with their families – but the truth is that the feeling is one of fiasco absolute.
Especially because the collapse of Ciudadanos, which the Murcia disaster accelerates, has a direct beneficiary: the PP, and to some extent also Vox.
In some sectors of both the PSOE and United We can speak of a certain naivety of whoever designed the operation, for not having had the possibility of such an aggressive response from the PP, not only because of the Murcian case but also because of the direct consequence: the advancement of the elections in Madrid.
But at the top of the PSOE they answer that they cannot be blamed for having tried to change the Government of Murcia after having won the elections in 2019, and they assure that they have done so with a legitimate method such as the motion of censure and without defectors, agreeing with the national leadership. But the truth is that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.
The serious problem for the PSOE is not only Murcia, a community that it did not have. It is the implosion of Ciudadanos and the possibility that Arrimadas could fall or be forced by the critical sector to move away from the PSOE. Or worse, that the party enters a drift of fusion with the PP that would help Pablo Casado in the task of reunifying the right wing.
However, in this maddened policy that Spain is experiencing in the era of post-bipartisanship, everything changes in hours and the frying pan can turn again on the side of the Government. And here there is division of opinions.
There are leaders who believe that the electoral advance in Madrid comes at the worst possible moment for the Madrid left, and will mean the definitive consolidation of the right and Isabel Díaz Ayuso and the collapse of both Ciudadanos and Podemos, who run the risk of not exceed the 5% barrier. That is bad for the coalition government, since it will increase the concern of the formation of Pablo Iglesias.