In the middle of the current Spanish political turmoil, with the right wing losing votes at an unprecedented scale, along with the socialist PSOE, there is a movement and a leader who is gaining positions. Quickly become the conservative version of Podemos, Albert Rivera a lawyer from Barcelona, is leader of Ciudadanos or Citizen’s Party, the liberally right wing party. Ciudadanos is full of fresh, young, and idealist professionals ready to begin a regeneration process o the Spanish political class.
Albert Rivera became famous quite recently after the spokesman of the People’s Party in Congress, Rafael Hernando used the term ‘Naranjito’ (Little orange), due to the colour of the party. However, Albert Rivera was able to capitalize on the insult by posting a picture of himself on Twitter holding a photo of Naranjito, the logo of the 1982 World Cup saying: ‘ Yo soy naranjito , porque me gusta mas la propuesta que la queja, porque me mueve mas la ilusion, y no el miedo. Soy ciudadano’ (I am Naranjito, because I like more the proposition than the complaintmemt, because illusions motivate me, not fear. I am a citizen). Rivera gained a lot of popularity across social media. Rivera, works for ESADE in Barcelona, one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. He gained notoriety in Catalonia, his native land, by attacking the separatist parties, such as ERC and CiU, especially due to mass corruption, such as Case Palau, Case Pallerols, Case ItV, or the infamous Pujol Scandal. Jordi Pujol, the patriarch of the Pujol family, was showed up in the Spanish Parliament by Albert Rivera: ‘I do not tolerate you to be mad at me. I have not been the one who has taken money.’ One of the major factors that explains why Ciudadanos is staunch defendant of Spain, the right to educate children in Spain, plus proposing liberal, but progressive economic measures, has been so successful. People are against the unstoppable moral decay that the People’s Party has brought to Catalonia. Since Daniel Sirera and Alicia Sanchez Camacho resumed the Presidency of the party, it has been losing votes. Aleix Vidal Quadras, one of the most talented Spanish politicians was gaining support even amongst the working class neighbourhoods of Catalonia, traditionally taken by Socialists or Radical Separatists. Aznar began to gain votes in the 1996 election, although not an absolute majority, and had to cut a deal with Jordi Pujol´s CiU, the price for his support in the Parliament, in order to become President, was to topple Aleix Vidal Quadras in Catalonia. The man who cut the deal, in the Majestic Hotel, was Rodrigo Rato Figaredo, minister of Finance and Economics, ex CEO of Bankia, and ex Director of the IMF.
Albert Rivera is a good looking, post-boy politician, with style and charisma, but is also a convincing narrator. He presents credible solutions, amongst his best are economic measures which would see general tax reductions, especially for small and medium businesses. The elimination of the IRPF, the decrease of high income tax, plus the elimination of inheritance tax and transfers of goods. These policies have produced dramatic results in Catalonia, allowing families to renounce their heritage because of the incredibly high taxes. Rivera would try to following the successful models of the Nordic Countries, such as Sweeden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway. In the end Rivera´s economic program is destined to guarantee and speed up susitainable economic growth with emphasis on growing and strengthening the middle class.
Rajoy´s People’s Party has viciously betrayed its economic program from the last general election. Just one of the main reasons why Ciudadanos is attracting many previous People’s Part voters, along with their terrible corruption reputation. Now there is an unusual situation going on in Spain, Podemos, the party of Pablo Iglesias, is accommodating Rivera, rather than foolishly attacking them. Rajoy´s PP also has continued to attack both Albert Rivera and Podemos. Here we now have an unusual alliance between Podemos and People’ Party. Why? The People’s Party wants to protect themselves as the sole King of the right wing in Spain. Ciudadanos is now disputing the throne. The People’s Party are placing fear amongst voters, trying to present the them with the chaos Spain would face if Podemos came to power. The problem is that the People’s Party has lost credibility and is flooded with cases of corruption, they have betrayed their voters, not just through economic measures, but also the terrorism policy. Rajoy´s government has shielded themselves behind the Strasbourg Sentence, against the Parot Doctrine, to free convicted ETA terrorists. This is the death kiss to the PP.
Now Podemos wants to become the alternative vote and Ciudadanos is competing to become the credible option for Spanish voters. Despite what Iglesias would think, Spain is not Venezuela, and Chavez, did not face a leader with he credibility, statesman vision, and common sense that Albert Rivera possesses. If the People’s Party is losing voters of the right wing persuasion and Podemos will suffer an early grave too if they underestimate Rivera. Albert Rivera may be the only way to topple Rajoy´s cabinet, and to breath fresh air into a new generation rather than pandering t secure an elections success. That is the real difference between politicians, and statesmen, and Albert Rivera, is a statesman.
By Daniel Gonzalez, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.