European Parliament vice president quits PP over Rajoy’s policies

Alejo Vidal-Quadras says prime minister lacks ”passion” Claims party is drifting dangerously on Catalan sovereignty and ETA

Alejo Vidal-Quadras.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras.Tejederas (EL PAÍS)

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a vice president of the European Parliament, former leader of the Catalonia Popular Party (PP) and a member of the conservative group’s national executive, has announced he is to leave the party in protest at the policies of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Vidal-Quadras intends to join Vox, a right-wing grouping set up by former ETA kidnap victim José Antonio Ortega Lara and Santiago Abascal Conde, an ex-deputy for the PP in the Basque assembly and president of the Foundation for the Defense of the Spanish Nation.

Vox’s aim is to win votes from PP supporters who are disillusioned with the direction of the current hierarchy, and the party plans to stand in the European elections in May.

In an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1, Vidal-Quadras said it was a “painful but inevitable” decision.

“I am sincerely sorry, Mr prime minister, but I am leaving,” the radiation physicist wrote in a scathing letter to Rajoy, in which he accused the PP leader of “skeptical fatalism,” a lack of “passion” and “acceptance of risk,” especially regarding the question of Catalan sovereignty.

The crisis does not require painkillers. It requires major surgery"

“A political party is not a flock flanked by mastiffs that docilely follows its shepherd. One of the reasons I am leaving is my desire to contribute to the construction of a different model of party, in which effectiveness is not at odds with deliberation,” said Vidal-Quadras, who in recent months has called for more democracy within the PP.

In his missive he noted several historical gripes with the PP and former Prime Minister José María Aznar, but he reserved his harshest words for Rajoy and his handling of the economic crisis. “The crisis is within the system, not the functioning of the system, as the government believes,” he said. “The crisis does not require painkillers. It requires major surgery.”

Vidal-Quadras went on to attack a “brutal rise in taxes,” the way members of the CGPJ judicial watchdog had been selected, and what he alleged to be the “continuation of negotiations with ETA.”

“When even the honorary president of the party [Aznar] has questioned why Ortega Lara is not in the PP and [ETA kidnapper] Josu Uribetxeberria Bolinaga is in the street, something strange is happening that requires attention,” Vidal-Quadras said in reference to his new party comrade and the ETA terrorist who took part in his kidnapping.

Speaking on Monday, the leader of the Catalan PP, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, said she did not fear a mass jumping of the party’s ship. “The PP is in the same place it has always been; the person who isn’t, in my opinion, is Alejo Vidal-Quadras.” Of Vox’s chances in the European parliamentary elections, Sánchez-Camacho opined: “I don’t think they will achieve the results that they hope.”



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