A year after the electoral advance that ended the coalition government of PP and Cs in the Community of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado (Madrid, 39 years old), wants to tell his truth about a crisis that has ended him, Ángel Gabilondo (PSOE) and Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) out of politics. He defends the management of his party in the Madrid Executive. He shows no resentment. And he considers himself a victim, along with the colleagues who accompanied him in the government alliance with Isabel Díaz Ayuso’s PP, of a strategic failure: “Citizens paid in Madrid for the mistake that was made in Murcia (where his party allied with the PSOE in a motion of censure against the PP). We were blown away by the shock wave,” he says. And he underlines: “I am a man of my word. I gave my word that there was going to be a government for four years, and I was going to keep it.”

Ask. The coalition of PP and Cs was full of tensions. What change has there been since the arrival of Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, appointed by Ayuso as his chief of staff?

Answer. It is an appointment that generates controversy within the governing council, for many reasons. They explain to us that it has a single purpose: to help the president confront Pedro Sánchez. The president, in some way, needed to raise the tone against Pedro Sánchez, she wanted to raise it, and Miguel Ángel was the person that she considered could help her. I could not go beyond expressing my personal discomfort. I had little contact with him. From the first moment he stuck to advising the president. I imagine that it has worked for her: he is a very intelligent person, very skilled, and very agile. The result is there. What Ayuso is right now has nothing to do with what Ayuso was just two years ago. That has a lot to do with the figure of Michelangelo.

P. Do the policies of the Community change with the arrival of Miguel Ángel Rodríguez?

R. It is noted that there is beginning to be greater polarization, greater confrontation with the Government of Spain. On many occasions, logical, necessary. And in many others, faked, artificial, fictitious. That’s what I personally didn’t like. I don’t understand politics as a permanent confrontation. And less in the middle of a pandemic. That was what made me rebel on many occasions, because I understood that many of the conflicts that were generated against the Government of Spain were artificial conflicts. I tried to lower that tension. I was able to get a meeting between Ayuso and Sánchez, who days before could not even pick up the phone. I am proud of that. But the feeling of being at a point of no return was evident. My role was very uncomfortable. On the one hand we wanted to understand each other with the Government of Spain, and on the other we found ourselves with a completely opposite political strategy, the permanent clash.

P. How does Ayuso do politics?

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R. Ayuso has a very great vocation for public service, he is concerned about Madrid, and Spain… another thing is that politically he also has his interests, and he wants to achieve them by sacrificing certain principles and values. That’s where she’s a body ahead of me. That’s why she beat me. I could have been president of Madrid, and I was not because I decided not to betray my principles [pactando con el PSOE]. That has led me to be out of politics, sleeping soundly.

P. By prioritizing one’s own interests, do you mean the electoral advance in the middle of the pandemic?

R. You cannot put your political, personal interest before the interest of six million people. You can’t call an election. It’s not ethical. It is not moral. Your values ​​and principles have to lead you to not be able to make that decision. The truth is that Citizens in the Community of Madrid paid for the mistake that was made in Murcia. The blast wave carried us away. There was no censure motion in the making in Madrid. There were no greater disagreements between the government partners than there may be in any other coalition government. Simply, the president had been wanting to call elections for months and she just needed an excuse. And my party put it on a plate. In the end Ayuso won the game and managed to rule alone, which is what he wanted.

P. Have they spoken again?

R. No. Nor did he send me any type of message, nor did he call me, when I left politics, which others did: Ángel Gabilondo, Rocío Monasterio… they said goodbye. Elizabeth, no. I have never had a bad personal relationship with her. Never.

I have never had a bad personal relationship with Isabel Díaz Ayuso. Never.

Ignatius Aguado

P. Who’d say!

R. I don’t know what relationship she considers she has had with me, but I have never had any problem with her. There have been different ways of understanding politics. In this political battle we were in, she came out on top. That’s why it was so important to let a year pass [para hablar]. The strategy of harassment and demolition against Cs in Madrid, and the political strategy to end us, was so atrocious a year ago now, that it did not matter if I went through all the media telling me that it was a lie that there was a motion of censure, that we had managed well, that Madrid did not deserve what was going to happen… because it was going to happen. That’s why I decided to step aside. I didn’t want my image to be a hindrance so that the match could survive in Madrid, which was my only priority. In light of what happened, it was not a good decision. We do not agree. Pushing me away we didn’t get representation.

Ignacio Aguado, during the interview.Victor Sainz

P. If he could elect again, would he stand for those 4-M elections?

R. I reserve that opinion.

P. There were notable clashes in the Government. For example, due to the management of residences in the worst of the pandemic.

R. It was very hard. It was difficult to understand that specific responsibilities were sought within the Government in the face of a reality that we were all managing together. The counselor of Social Policies [Alberto Reyero] He was very damaged, even mentally, from seeing how the media and political machinery of your government partner was trying to harm him. And thereby harm the whole of the Government. That was of course very hard. We try to solve it in the best possible way. But it is true that it left a very important notch within the Government.

P. Why were there so many disagreements around Telemadrid, whose law was reformed by the new government as soon as it came to power?

R. Before they did not control Telemadrid, now they do. And public television in the hands of certain politicians is a very powerful weapon. I am terribly saddened by the feeling that everything we have built with a lot of effort, agreement and transfer over the last six years is being dismantled.

P. What was the main problem in the coalition?

R. Eliminate crowding in Madrid. Ayuso flatly refused. It was the biggest political argument I’ve ever had with her. I have the feeling, now, and looking back, that they wanted a Government where there would be complicity between the partners at all levels. And we were not looking for that complicity, we were looking to fulfill the government agreement and be loyal to our voters. That’s why, perhaps, we were awkward. We had a concept of being good partners, but bad accomplices.

Ignacio Aguado, during the interview.
Ignacio Aguado, during the interview. Victor Sainz

P. For example, they gave an order to open an investigation commission on Avalmadrid in the Assembly knowing that the target was set on the business of the president’s family.

R. We did not give an order to investigate his family, in fact I think the family should be kept out of politics. We didn’t want to attack anyone, much less on a personal level, but the people of Madrid who voted for us deserved that we be absolutely intransigent in the face of any hint of irregularity or corruption. It is evident that [a Ayuso] I dont like him.

P. With these family precedents, do you understand the controversy over the contract between the Priviet company and the Community that allowed the president’s brother to earn more than 55,000 euros?

R. I am finding out what happens with that contract at the same time as the rest of Madrid. Obviously, if we had known those implications at the time, we would have asked for explanations. Regardless of whether it is legal or not, what the courts have to say.

P. What causes you to see her ex-partner Marta Rivera de la Cruz as Ayuso’s adviser?

R. I was very surprised by the forms. Not showing up for your party. Being missing throughout the campaign. And overnight to be appointed Minister of Culture again. She has something human, but the human part that I like the least.

P. With the coalition still in force, Rivera de la Cruz eats with Ayuso and Toni Cantó. It was the beginning of the end?

R. Both Toni and Marta made the same decision, but chose different paths. Toni Cantó tried to implode the party from within, to later have an excuse that would allow him to go to the PP. And Marta Rivera decided to try to go unnoticed to continue being a councilor once the PP won the elections. They are different ways to get to the same place. The Toni Cantó thing squeaked me a lot [que ahora es director general de la Oficina del español]. It seems to me that it is absolutely contrary to what he has been defending. He is in the Government of a party with which he has been extremely harsh. Everyone is free to sacrifice their values ​​as they see fit.

The Minister of Culture, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, together with the director of the Spanish Office, Toni Cantó, on September 28, 2021.
The Minister of Culture, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, together with the director of the Spanish Office, Toni Cantó, on September 28, 2021. Fernando Alvarado (EFE)

P. Sergio Brabezo and Marta Marbán, former Cs deputies signed by the PP, have encouraged the idea that there was a motion of censure underway against Ayuso.

R. In politics I have known the best of the human condition, and the worst. To people who dedicate themselves to politics by vocation, and to people who cling to their position, betray their colleagues, lie shamelessly. It is the case of these two people. Coincidentally, the only two people who spoke of a hypothetical motion of censure are now in the PP. Obviously, it is flatly false that there was going to be a motion. They betrayed their party, their comrades, me, the whole world, by keeping their seat for another 18 months.

P. Will your party survive the 2023 election cycle?

R. I see my former colleagues trying to swim against the tide of polarization, and that is very difficult. The river goes down so strong that launching rational messages of understanding, and State agreements, leaves you like a salmon that tries to go up with the whole current against it. The Ciudadanos brand is terribly damaged. I wish you the best.

P. Do you regret the veto to govern with Ángel Gabilondo (PSOE), who was the winner of those 2019 elections?

R. I am very proud of what we did. I sleep soundly. I have been consistent with my principles. The government we had was the best for Madrid. A Government with management experience, in which Cs provided regeneration, transparency, necessary control. Unfortunately, due to strictly political interests, it collapsed.

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