To understand why Ciudadanos decided to stand before the PP in Murcia with a motion of censure agreed with the PSOE, we must go back to the night of the regional elections on May 26, 2019. In the hotel where Ciudadanos followed the count, the PSOE seat number 17 was celebrated as the goal of Spain that was worth a World Cup, recalls Juan José Molina, one of the six deputies of Cs.
They added an absolute majority (23 seats) with the Socialists and were going to throw the PP from power in Murcia after 24 years . They were exulting. But the all-powerful party leader had other plans. Albert Rivera was then surfing on polls that elevated him above the popular ones. Leaving Murcia in the hands of the PP was a lesser evil if La Moncloa was on the horizon.
Cs reached a pact with the PP, negotiated directly between the Murcian Teodoro García Egea (PP) and Rivera’s right-hand man, Fran Hervías . The confusion among the PSOE was total.
“From the first formal meeting with Cs we perceived that he was a paripe and that they were negotiating with the PP”, remembers the regional secretary of the PSOE in Murcia, Diego Conesa, that on the election night he looked president.
The deputies of the Assembly of Murcia and the councilors of Citizens in the City Council of the capital sealed coalitions in which they did not believe and several of them acknowledge having felt completely cornered these two years: “They considered us tenants, amateurs,” says Molina .
Until they said enough this week with a vote of no confidence and between accusations of corruption to the Popular Party. Ana Martínez Vidal, the coordinator of Cs Murcia, was also president . It only lasted 48 hours. On Friday the PP announced a pact with three defectors from Cs (half of the entire parliamentary group).
These are some of the keys that led Cs to gamble everything in Murcia despite not having tied the result.
Irregular vaccination. “In a city where the bishop sneaks in and gets vaccinated, much more should be put together, but here as long as there are flowers in the gardens and Holy Week processions, all is quiet,” says university professor María Carmen Sánchez Rojas. In the midst of a trickle of cases of public officials who had skipped the vaccination protocol throughout Spain, the Region of Murcia highlighted.
More than 400 officials and senior officials of the Ministry of Health were vaccinated irregularly, a scandal that ended with the resignation of the Minister of Health, forced by Citizens .
Ana Martínez Vidal maintains that the “real scope” of the fraudulent vaccinations is still unknown and anticipates that there will be many more. “That has been one of the fundamental reasons why we decided to present the motion of censure,” says the coordinator of Cs.
Permanent transplants. The malaise had been brewing for a long time. The rudeness was constant. The inauguration of a Citizen Councilor took place in a corridor and a simple piece of paper with zeal announced during the entire time that the Government lasted that the Executive spokesperson was hidden behind that door, in the hands of Martínez (Cs).
The vaccinations embarked the deputies of Citizens in a trickle of information, which still lasts, about new people vaccinated irregularly. Either they were unmarked or they would be “accomplices”, they argue.
Head-on collision at City Hall. But the finishing touch to a difficult relationship between the partners came from the capital. Mario Gómez had already been an uncomfortable opposition councilor.
Obsessed with the number of minor contracts (of less than 5,000 euros and subject to less supervision) that were made in the City Council of the capital, when he entered the city government, in addition to being deputy mayor, he assumed the powers to monitor and control hiring. He quickly realized, he says, that there were far more smaller contracts than necessary and began to study them diligently.
He discovered, according to his version, that the municipal police motorcycle maintenance service was always assigned to the same three companies. “I verified that the City Council always paid all bills to the same account number,” he explains to EL PAÍS.
It was the same workshop that presented three estimates in the name of a father, a mother and a daughter. That happened with other contracts: companies that turned out to be the same, finger awards or large works chopped up into numerous invoices to escape his control.
Gomez says he spoke to the mayor and asked for a change in his general services director and an audit, to no avail. They accused him, through a press release, of having paralyzed all the maintenance of the City Council. He began to feel harassed.
One morning, when leaving his house to take his daughter to school, he saw a graffiti addressed to him. He went to file a complaint with the National Police. Gómez said that he had been auditing municipal contracts for a few months and that this could have bothered someone.
The Police Economic and Fiscal Crimes Unit (UDEF) contacted him that same afternoon and asked for evidence. Gómez delivered more than three gigabytes of documentation, which are being investigated. It was the month of October 2020.
The case did not come to light until a week ago. The PP filed a criminal complaint against the deputy mayor for revealing secrets. “Infidelity in the custody of public documents is a serious crime,” say municipal sources, who respond that there is no open judicial process against the council nor is there any defendant.
“The minor contracts you are talking about are not a crime,” they say. Gomez defends himself: “It’s surreal.”
The situation became unsustainable. The regional coordinator of Ciudadanos-Murcia, Ana Martínez Vidal, urged the national leadership of Madrid to act now. A week later the motion of censure was presented.