When Alberto Nunez Feijoo left Galicia to lead the PP, his replacement promised that things were not going to change. And if you can’t be accused of something Alfonso Rueda It is to have lied about that. Such is the degree of continuity in the Xunta de Galicia in the 106 days that have passed since Feijóo’s dismissal that even gives the impression that his successor is still vice president, and not president of the Galician Executive.
Alfonso Rueda has always maintained a very low profile. Councilor in Pontevedra, his hometown, since he was 27 years old, and Feijóo’s right-hand man since 2003, he has held a position uninterruptedly since 2009 in all the governments of the Xunta, which he took over as second in command as of 2013. But in the polls he has always appeared as a perfect stranger for the Galicians. In February of this same year, shortly before the fall of Pablo Casado and the rise of Feijóo, barely 50% of the population identified him as his vice president and councillor.
Friendly, neat and even photogenic, with the fair point of shyness and very little capacity for imposture and to get out of the courtesy in public debate With his opponents, Rueda’s problem is that, despite all that, he doesn’t love it. And not just for lack of charismathat too, but because that follower strategy which he has embraced is sowing the idea that he has no other project for Galicia than to follow Feijóo’s trail.
It has kept the last government of the former president intact with the same ministers and ministers, with the sole incorporation to the Second Vice Presidency of Diego Calvothe trusted man of the leader in the province of A Coruña, and the promotion to the First Vice Presidency of Francis Counthead adviser to Feijóo in economic matters and who already occupied the Ministry of Economy.
Rueda’s changes have only consisted of replacing the people closest to Feijóo and who worked for him on the second and third rungs of the regional structure and who have gone to Genoa with him.
“It’s a accidental president who is on his way to becoming insubstantial president“, affirms Ana Pontón, national spokesperson for the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) and leader of the opposition. “And the problem is that with everything that is happening, Galicia cannot afford a transitional legislature,” he adds.
Galicia is the second community with the lowest pensions and salaries and with the worst demographics, the first in relative data of young people who drop out and the sixth in which unemployment has grown the most. The health is collapsed with doctors on strike denouncing an unsustainable situation; the course is going to start again with fewer teachers and more schools closed and with families still not knowing at this point what books they should buy for their children. And the municipalities that are not from the PP continue to denounce that the Xunta forces them to provide social services that are not within their competence without providing them with the necessary money to finance them.
When Rueda turned a hundred days at the head of the Xunta, the PP celebrated it by assuring that he had led a “model transition”, in the words of Paula Meadowgeneral secretary of the party in Galicia, collected by Europe Pres. Prado is absolutely right because Feijóo’s departure hardly caused internal movements or debates, although it seems logical given that that sudden departure It was not a bump, but, on the contrary, a promotion. Would anyone dare to question the succession designated by who is in charge now in the party?
Faced with the power of the personal profiles shown by the regional leaders of the communities governed by the PP, such as Isabel Diaz Ayuso (Madrid), Alfonso Fernandez Manueco (Castile and Leon), Juan Ramon Moreno Bonilla (Andalusia) and even Aurelio Lopez Miras (Murcia), Rueda, however, and despite the fact that he governs with the highest percentage of votes of all, he seems to have given up the idea of earning the title of baron.
During this summer it has been lavished on acts shared with Feijóofrom the Festa do Albariño to the popular pilgrimages of the PP, supporting the leader’s state speech against the policies of the Government of Pedro Sanchez Y Yolanda Diaz but without offering tangible alternatives for the community he presides over. The Galician Official Gazette of the last two months, in the midst of the inflationary and energy crisis, it seems work of a government in office more dedicated to solving current affairs than to proposing, legislating and executing strategies and own ideas.
The opposition, of course, takes advantage of the gap left by Rueda’s inaction. The Pontón BNG has presented a plan to invest 1,000 million euros of unused items from the Xunta budgets to support families and companies to overcome the crisis with direct aid, pension increases and free public transport services . The PSdeG, which leads Valentin Gonzalez Formosohas demanded to recover the free textbooks with which Feijóo finished and has made Rueda ugly inanity in the face of this summer’s fires and the collapse of healthcare.
The only response from the Galician president has been follow Feijóo’s state speech and blame everything on the Government and Pedro Sánchez, even in matters that are the exclusive competence of the Xunta: yes there are not enough doctors It is not because the Xunta has been cutting the health budget for thirteen years, but because Moncloa summons few oppositions to cover internal and resident doctor positions (MIR). If Galician schoolchildren do not know what and what are they going to study with this course, the responsibility lies with the Ministry of Education. If Galicians are forced to defray the cost of transporting out of Galicia on their electricity bill the electricity produced in Galicia, the fault is also Madrid. In the Rueda’s speech It does not matter that the Xunta has transferred all the competences in the field of industry, including energy, for years.
The latest debate has occurred around the Government’s decision to promote free public transport, whether it is in the hands of the State, the autonomies or the municipalities. Measure is working, it seems that it enjoys citizen acceptance and the decree that collects it allows the communities to participate in it by co-financing 20%. In Galicia, Rueda has refused to apply it alleging that the norm is “confusing”, and has only lent itself to finance it in those cities where public transport depends on the Xunta and not on the municipalities that, curiously, they are not in the hands of the PP.
Maybe it’s coincidence. Or not. Because precisely the first flying goal that Rueda will have to overcome if he wants to stay at the head of the Xunta are the local electionss scheduled for within eight months. Feijóo left Galicia without a single mayor of the PP in the seven large cities of the community. Vigo, A Coruña, Ferrol, Santiago and Lugo are in the hands of the PSOE, Pontevedra belongs to the BNG and Ourense, to the independent sui generis Gonzalo Perez Jacome. The largest municipality governed by the PP does not exceed 30,000 inhabitants, and of the four provincial councils it only has one, that of Ourense, also sui generis Manuel Baltar.
It would seem that Rueda has it easy to improve that poor performance. But in the game he begins to spread some alarm. beyond the personal promotion of the president in the public media, subjected to blatant manipulation in his favour, and in the private media spread with public money, there is no strategy that distinguishes Rueda with a profile, project and own policies.
“The municipal elections of 2023 are going to be the thermometer to really measure how we are,” says a source from the Galician PP, who considers that Rueda has been ruled out advance the general elections planned for 2024 to make them coincide with the general ones. “He himself is aware, like the entire party, that without Feijóo’s pull he is not going to revalidate the absolute majority,” he concludes.