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Conservative parties strike deal to govern Madrid region

Isabel Díaz Ayuso from the Popular Party is set to become the next premier after Ciudadanos agreed to accept the demands made by the far-right group Vox

vox
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, of the PP, and Ciudadanos regional leader Ignacio Aguado.

After lengthy negotiations, Madrid is set to have its first coalition regional government led by the right-wing Popular Party and center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens).The news comes after Ciudadanos regional leader Ignacio Aguado announced on Thursday that the party would accept the new demands made by the far-right party Vox in exchange for its support.

We have found a common denominator, remaining loyal to our values, our programs and our principals

Ciudadanos regional leader Ignacio Aguado

As in the Andalusia region, the PP and Ciudadanos need Vox’s votes if they are to govern in Madrid. The far-right group initially said it would only offer its support if the conservative parties agreed to a series of demands that included repealing articles of laws protecting LGBT+ rights, working to repatriate undocumented migrants to their home countries, and passing on the medical bills of undocumented migrants in Madrid to their countries of origin. The far-right group also wanted to be part of the regional government.

But after months of negotiations, Vox agreed to discard these demands and presented a new series of conditions in a document on Thursday. In the document, the far-right party calls for lower taxes, the creation of a social affairs, family and natality department, and guarantees to protect the freedom of school selection. Vox also demands that security forces be given access to information regional authorities have on migrants in irregular situations, for a large part of development funding to go towards regional initiatives against depopulation, and for “all types of harassment, discrimination and violence” to be treated the same, without differentiating between victims.

The new demands were accepted by Ciudadanos, which has been heavily criticized for its dealings with the far-right group. “We have found a common denominator, remaining loyal to our values, our programs and our principals,” Aguado said on Thursday, after giving the green light to the document.

The PP has governed Madrid region uninterruptedly since 1995

Ciudadanos’ decision paves the way for Isabel Díaz Ayuso, of the PP, to be sworn in as the next premier of Madrid. “It will be the first time Madrid region is governed by a coalition government with the support of another group,” she said on Thursday.

The regional leader of the Socialist Party (PSOE), Ángel Gabilondo, described Vox’s list of demands as “disturbing.” According to Gabilondo, “the spirit of the document is conservative, right towards the extreme and moves the entire government proposal in this direction.”

At the May 26 regional election, the PSOE won the highest number of seats (37), but even with the support of the leftist groups Más Madrid (20) and Unidas Podemos (7), it did not have enough votes to defeat the right-wing bloc of the PP (30), Ciudadanos (26), and Vox (12).

A date now needs to be set for the investiture ceremony to swear in Ayuso as the next regional premier. The PP has won all regional elections in Madrid since 1991, and governed uninterruptedly since 1995.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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