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Shoemaker vs. Aznari: Duel of presidents after 20 years

“I ask citizens to vote against deception and fraud. The phrase, about José María Aznár, may have been uttered by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on the eve of the 2004 general elections. But he said it this week during a Socialist Party rally in Valencia amid a 28 million campaign. Both former presidents returned.

The clash between Sapatero and Aznar took place over some of the latter’s statements, in which, following his party’s electoral strategy of once again addressing terrorism as an issue of political controversy, he assured that if the PSOE wins the elections again. Produces ETA’s “general release of prisoners”.

“This is the new big lie,” replied the former socialist president, who pointed to the 11M attack to condemn the PP’s deception. “ETA is gone, this attack was not by ETA as they told us. “In this election, the vote is between truth and defending an end to violence as a collective success or deception and hubris,” he emphasized.

The use of political references, such as former presidents, is a common trend among the major parties, although the involvement of each tends to vary, mainly on the degree of alignment with the political line of the current leadership. Over the years, under the mandate of Mariano Rajoy, José María Aznár played the role of witness in the campaigns and often criticized his own party. Something changed with the arrival of Pablo Casado in the presidency of Genoa, who was sponsored by Aznar and who now remains on the stage of Alberto Núñez Feijoo.

In the case of Jose Luis Rodriguez Sapatero, the situation is different. Despite not being one of Pedro Sánchez’s supporters in the race for general secretary of the party, the former president has always shown his support and loyalty to both Sánchez and the coalition government as a whole, a formula that even he himself followed until the realization. .

In Ferraz, they appreciate the fact that Zapatero is “a great asset of the PSOE” and that, in addition, “he does not stop demonstrating his loyalty”. “They ask for access from the party and it always offers everything,” they point to the socialist direction, where they admit that the former president continues to have high appeal among the militants and, therefore, he continues. be one of the main socialist values ​​in campaigns today.

“You are an example to all and a source of pride for the PSOE. You have always built coexistence and promoted harmony. I want to thank you for peace and ending violence. You have created a better country,” Pedro told Sánchez. Sapatero at the closing rally of the campaign in Barcelona this Friday.

In a direct line to both Ferraz and Montclois, the former Socialist president stresses in his party that “always go for the job”. Although for this, sometimes, and from the authority that the status of the president confers, he deviates from the official discourse and the strategic lines drawn up by those in charge of the campaign.

“For me, the decision that distinguishes the president in terms of leadership and vision is the decision that Pedro Sánchez made, courageously and with great success, in the use of pardons,” he said recently during the PSOE municipal convention. per month and in front of hundreds of socialist candidates who did not fully understand that one of the most delicate heads was raised before the voters.

But neither did Sapatero hesitate to put Alberto Núñez Feijoo on the front line of fire against the PP during the campaign. With a busy schedule of rallies across the country, the former Socialist president lashed out at the opposition leader during a rally in Vitoria in the first week of the campaign. “Some days he’s like Casado when he doesn’t seem to arrive, and some days he’s like Rajoy when he doesn’t understand,” he said to the cheers of those present.

The president, who led the political management of the end of ETA terrorism, also took a position, of course, on one of the issues that he campaigned on. The inclusion of candidates with terrorist backgrounds on the EH Bildu lists (seven of them resigned from office with criminal records) became a key asset for the right as an element of wear and tear on the PSOE and Pedro Sánchez. And Sapatero once again came to the rescue.

“I’m on the side of those who feel sensitivity or concern because there are people who did what they did, but democracy has its rules, we like it sometimes in some cases or other,” he previously told Bildu About lists. Addresses: “We fought terrorism together, we defeated terrorism together and we should remember it together as a good example of coexistence and peace.” On the day that the Basque Independence Party confirmed the resignation of seven candidates with a past in ETA, Zapatero marked it as “the right decision”. “I hope this will also serve as a lesson so that terrorism and ETA’s past are never again used in political confrontations between democratic parties,” he added.

Despite a crushing performance by the PP, which saw the party win the municipal elections in total votes, in addition to being able to capture several regional governments now in the hands of progressive options, Feijo opted for Old Glory. Spanish right wingers: Jose Maria Aznar and Mariano Rajoy.

The PP leader has already managed to bring them together, in an almost historic photo, for an internal act held in Valencia last February. There, the former presidents met for the first time after many years, except for institutional events, they practically did not talk to each other. Despite the expectations surrounding Feijoo after landing in Madrid, the opposition in the PP is surprising not only from the PSOE and Pedro Sánchez, but also from the political space expressed around Podemos.

Dozens of regional and municipal governments are up in the air, with the PP mobilizing Aznar and Rajoy, although they have not matched any act. The most prolific was Aznar, who also fought for the most extreme discourse of his party. His job: try to connect the ultra-vote, which may be suspicious between PP and Vox, or another formation that leans too far to the right.

The former president of the Azores photo was one of the main electoral assets in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha. Aznari attended both regions to deliver a “Trumpist” speech. “Madrid cannot be the capital of waste,” he said in Ayuso’s fiefdom, where he has made several speeches this campaign. Its aim: to attack a government made up of “Mr Sánchez’s party” along with “socialist radicalism, communists and supporting separatists and ex-terrorists”. “There will be consultations in Catalonia and the Basque Country,” he said, ignoring that 1-O was held under the PP government.

The popular party in EH Bildu found the leverage of the campaign, which it broke after so much coercion. The same Aznar who negotiated with ETA in 1998 while the terrorists were killing (and who said: “Owning a place is always preferable to taking up arms”) is now attacking political options that support independence but reject violence. While Feijo said there was no place to ban Bildu, Aznar said in Bilbao that Pedro Sánchez was planning a “general release” of ETA prisoners.

Rajoy, much more restrained in his words, does not contradict the PP’s strongest argument. In fact, she was seen with the mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, who is known for his wealth. The former president, who accused Zapatero of “betraying the dead”, nevertheless said Podemos’ campaign against Ayuso was the most “brutal and undemocratic” he had ever seen.

Source: El Diario





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