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REGIONAL AND MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 2015

Aguirre seeks pacts with all parties to keep Podemos out of Madrid City Hall

PP candidate goes as far as to offer role of mayor to Socialist politician Antonio Carmona

Esperanza Aguirre
Esperanza Aguirre during Tuesday’s press conference.

The Popular Party mayoral candidate in Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, announced on Tuesday evening that she had spoken to the Socialist Party and emerging political force Ciudadanos in order to forge an alliance that would keep Ahora Madrid from taking control in the Spanish capital.

Aguirre won 21 seats at Sunday’s municipal elections, leaving her nine short of an absolute majority. Ahora Madrid, meanwhile, a new group backed by anti-austerity party Podemos, secured 20 seats. With nine seats, the Socialists (PSOE) – normally the arch-enemies of the Popular Party (PP) – hold the key to who will become mayor.

I wanted to return to politics to stop Podemos, and if I am the problem, there is no problem”

“I would like to announce that I will never be an obstacle to reaching agreements [on a coalition],” she told reporters. “I wanted to return to politics to stop Podemos, and if I am the problem, there is no problem,” she said, implying she would step aside if that would stop Ahora Madrid from taking power in City Hall.

Aguirre, who is also the regional leader of the PP in Madrid, admitted that the party had suffered serious setbacks at Sunday’s polls, which saw the conservative group lose its absolute majority in most regions and many municipalities. During Tuesday’s press conference she stopped short of calling for the resignation of PP Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, but stated that she thought he would be “very worried and trying to find the best solutions, because it is true that the electorate have shown us that we need to change course.”

I propose a complete regeneration, the PP needs new foundations and I propose that I am the person to do that in Madrid”

“The results are very bad and we are not going to hide that fact,” she continued. “This will be an incentive to implement all of the changes and reforms needed in the party, and which we will start to make once governments and councils have been formed. On my part there will be no limits to the changes and reforms, we need to begin a process in which everyone, party members or otherwise, can participate.” She continued: “I propose a complete regeneration, the PP needs new foundations and I propose that I am the person to do that in Madrid.”

If Ahora Madrid candidate Manuela Carmena – a left-leaning former judge – can reach an agreement with the Socialists, she will be able to be voted in as mayor of the capital. That would see the PP lose power in Madrid after 24 years.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Aguirre explained that she was intent on stopping that from happening, and as such had offered a power-sharing deal with the Socialists and Ciudadanos in City Hall. “I am inviting the Socialists and Ciudadanos to open dialogue,” she said, explaining that she was “completely in favor” of an alliance between the PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos to stop Ahora Madrid from securing power. She said she was even willing to vote Socialist candidate Antonio Carmona in as mayor to stop Carmena – “That wouldn’t be so strange,” she said.

For Madrid to have a mayor who wants to use City Hall as a springboard to destroy the western democratic system should make us stop and think”

Aguirre’s “principal conclusion,” she continued, is that “a million Madrileños voted for the different centrist options: the center left of the PSOE, a key party in the construction of Constitutional Spain; the center-center option of rising party Ciudadanos; and the center right of the PP, which has been the choice of Madrileños.” As for Ahora Madrid, she had this to say: “The option of the radical left is now the legitimate choice of half a million Madrileños. But for Madrid to have a mayor who wants to use City Hall as a springboard to destroy the western democratic system, and to become the main political force in Spain, should make the PSOE – and then us – stop and think. Madrileños do not deserve the punishment that perhaps [the PP] deserves […].”