On the electoral night of 19J, Javier Arenas was in Seville’s Calle San Fernando, the headquarters of the Andalusian PP –the same one where he served as the party’s factotum for many years, more than 20 in fact, between periods of presence and absence– together with the team closest to Moreno, and celebrated with all of them the victory that he could not obtain –despite the fact that he was the first to win an election in Andalusia for the PSOE, in 2012– because he could not govern [PSOE e IU formaron un cogobierno]. Now, Arenas is going to repeat again as a senator by regional appointment, according to what the number three of the PP, Elías Bendodo, advanced this week. There he will continue another four years, eternal.
Javier Arenas is thus again a prophet in the Andalusian PP. He has survived another convulsive stage: after a few years of winter quarters during Pablo Casado’s years at the helm, his theses, which were committed to a PP located in the center, and, above all, his last minute decision to support the reform of the Statute of Andalusia that the PSOE and IU had piloted in 2007, somehow, have been imposed and have given the current president Juanma Moreno a ground on which to sow his alleged moderation and alleged Andalusian ecumenism.
Today Arenas gets along well with Alberto Núñez Feijóo – he is the deputy spokesman for the PP in the Senate – and also has his share of influence over Moreno and in the Andalusian Government – the deputy minister Antonio Sanz and the minister Patricia del Pozo are included among his sponsored –, according to the PP sources consulted by Público. Arenas could be seen, in the front row, speaking confidentially, as people who take each other seriously talk, with Bendodo at Moreno’s last rally in Seville in this electoral campaign. “I’m not going to come back because I’m not going to leave, I’m going to be a deputy and I’ll be a senator for Andalusia with Javier Arenas,” Bendodo said this week.
Arenas never had to return either, because he never really left, even in his absences, when he was in the Government of Spain and in the state leadership of the party with José María Aznar. “I am Andalusian and I work as an Andalusian, I am from Olvera (Cádiz), although I was born in Seville. An Olvereño from Seville, a Sevillian from Olvera. I have always lived in Andalusia, I have never lived outside Andalusia. From the most exciting stage of my political life, which was that of a councilor in the city council of Seville, until the ministerial stages, I always continued to live in Seville”, stated Arenas a few years ago.
Arenas has, in fact, spent his entire life in institutional politics, in the official car, to use a common expression, since in 1983 – 39 years ago – he entered as a councilor in the Seville City Council. Since then, he has chained charge after charge. Arenas has alternated the Andalusian Parliament with the Congress until 2015, when he moved to the Senate, a house where he moves like a fish in water, where he has been in up to seven different legislatures –the V, the VI, the IX, the X, the XI, the XII and the XIII–.
Arenas was also, during José María Aznar’s years in office, a very influential man in national politics. He was first Minister of Labor, between 1996 and 1999, then Aznar put him in charge of the party, as General Secretary, and later, in 2002, he recovered him for the Government as Minister of Public Administrations, then as Presidency and finally as Second Vice President.
The corruption of the PP
Who knows him says that today without the foil of politics he cannot live. “He has the virus,” they say. In the PP his contacts and his personal sympathy are appreciated, which opens doors. Arenas’s contact list acquires legendary proportions, like the stories of all kinds that are told about him and that usually begin with a smile. He also keeps relevant secrets, according to his political rivals, which make it impossible for any PP chief to send him to the galleys if he does not want to leave. And he doesn’t want to.
The years of investigation of the Gürtel and the financing of the PP left him politically very affected, but the case, despite the opening of hostilities with the then general secretary of the party, María Dolores de Cospedal, an intimate enemy, included an alleged attempt of espionage, it did not end with him.
Since then, he has worked from the second or third line, depending on the moment in the political chiaroscuro. Arenas, in a miraculous way, managed to come out unstained in the official file -not so in the unofficial one: he was called to testify as a witness and this same legislature, the left He asked for the act of senator for his alleged links with the Gürtel–, while his fundamental rival, the former president of the Board, Manuel Chaves (PSOE), with whom he had it stiff for many years and who won three electoral duels, waits today a sentence of the Supreme, that exonerates him or confirms his sentence for prevarication for the case of the ERE.