The tensions surrounding the ongoing negotiations in the Madrid and Murcia regions to choose a new premier, and the pressure on far-right party Vox to support the candidates chosen by the conservative Popular Party (PP), exploded on Wednesday on social media, with one tweet that even contained personal insults aimed at the leader of the center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) party.
The controversy was sparked by a message posted on Twitter from the official account of Vox, an ultra-nationalist group that picked up considerable support at the recent national, regional and municipal polls. “The height of nerve,” read the post, which was aimed at the Ciudadanos party. “Tell that scared, shameless boss of yours to forget about a cordon sanitaire, to stop kissing [French President Emmanuel] Macron’s ass and to let you sit down at a table and reach agreements with normal people. And if not, go and do a deal with the PSOE [Socialist Party], which is what you want anyway.”
El colmo de la jeta. Dile al acojonado y sinvergüenza de tu jefe que se deje de cordones sanitarios, de lamerle el culo a Macron y que os permita sentaros en una mesa y llegar a acuerdos como gente normal. Y si no, pactad con el PSOE, que es lo queréis. https://t.co/UcBaS4a9MG— VOX 🇪🇸 (@vox_es) July 3, 2019
“The height of nerve. Tell that scared, shameless boss of yours to forget about a cordon sanitaire, to stop kissing Macron’s ass and to let you sit down at a table and reach agreements with normal people. And if not, go and do a deal with the PSOE [Socialist Party], which is what you want anyway.”
The message referred to the unwillingness of Ciudadanos to enter into direct talks with Vox, despite both it and the PP needing the votes of the far-right group in order to form a government in regions such as Madrid and Murcia, thus keeping the left from taking power. Vox has already lent its support to the PP and Ciudadanos in Andalusia to form a government, and in Madrid City Hall. But talks are going nowhere in both Madrid and Murcia, with the clock ticking to the moment when fresh elections will have to be called.
The controversial tweet was sent in response to Ciudadanos’ organization secretary, Fran Hervías, who had criticized Vox for starting to “paralyze institutions by aligning itself with [left-wing] Podemos and the PSOE,” in allusion to its vote against the PP’s candidate for regional premier in Murcia, Fernando López Miras, and its refusal to support Isabel Díaz Ayuso for the same role in Madrid. “Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias must be delighted with their new partners,” the message added, in reference to the leaders of the PSOE and Podemos, respectively.
Shortly after the message was sent, Ciudadano sent a light-hearted reply. “Wow, classy. Congratulations, you are now a summer hit,” the Twitter post read, accompanied by a music video from a group called Locomía, singing their song Loco vox (or, “crazy vox”).
How about we stop insulting each other and we work to see that socialists don’t get into power in Madrid? Wouldn’t that be what Madrileños want?
Now-deleted tweet from the PP
The PP decided to intervene, posting a tweet that it later deleted, reading: “How about we stop insulting each other and we work to see that Socialists don’t get into power in Madrid? Wouldn’t that be what Madrileños want?”
Vox did not respond to calls from EL PAÍS aimed at finding out whether the party would distance itself from the insults aimed at Rivera. However, late last night, the group’s official Twitter account sent out another message saying that “it is not easy to keep quiet given the contempt of Ciudadanos toward our voters and the lies it peddles to its own,” adding: “Our summer CM [community manager], while being right, should watch their language.” The message may have sounded like an apology, but was actually far from it, concluding with a threat. “We can’t guarantee that if Ciudadanos insists on handing over the governments to the PSOE, this won’t happen again.”
The refusal of Ciudadanos to sit down and engage in talks with Vox, and sign a pact with the far-right group, is the biggest obstacle in the way of forming governments made up of the three right-wing parties. It appears that these insults are not helping to create a climate that foments understanding.
English version by Simon Hunter.