Proa Comunicación organized Tuesday, November 13, the informative Vanity Fair breakfast with Begoña Villacís, citizens´ spokesperson on the Madrid City Council. The event, which took place at the Hotel Santo Mauro in Madrid, brought together numerous media outlets and guests from different social and economic areas of the city. Villacís analyzed the political environment through questions from the magazine´s director, Alberto Moreno, during a relaxed and close conversation, which later gave way to a round of questions from the journalists who attended the event.
Among the issues addressed by the councilwoman were the political situation that exists today in the Consistorio of Madrid, the Government of Pedro Sanchez and next year´s election campaign. “We have been able to permit ourselves three years of populism, but we cannot afford one more,” she said in relation to the crisis of Podemos in the Madrid City Council.
The citizens´ spokesperson was very critical of the management of the Madrid City Council, assigning direct responsibility to the mayor, Manuela Carmena. “In my previous life, when one of my lawyers screwed up, I took responsibility, as the boss. This is not happening in the City Council. Manuela Carmena is not taking responsibility for what is happening. Her government is like that part of Joaquín Reyes’ sketch in which he is painting lines.” Additionally, she attributed the problems to the disputes between the councillors of Ahora Madrid, alleging that “in the City Council six extreme and totally different political groups have entered.”
In relation to Madrid’s debt and its management, she said that “three years ago Madrid was saying ‘we are not going to lower the debt because it is illegitimate’. And this has a reason: we have never had such an incompetent administration.” Villacís pointed directly to the collection of taxes as responsible for the debt reduction, “how the Madrid City Council justifies raising citizens´ taxes when they already have plenty of funding. The aim of the Madrid City Council is to widen the sidewalks. When you can’t convince people with your management, you buy votes.”
Mobility and housing in Madrid, topics for debate
Asked about the key issues for the next government of Madrid, Villacís has pointed directly to housing, “in these three years the housing inventory has been reduced by 40% because Madrid has now blocked it capriciously.” She wanted to add that the price of housing will fall if the city builds more, “limiting the construction is not the solution.”
She also expressed her opinion on the current debate in Madrid: mobility. “We want to reduce traffic, but we want all the cases to be taken into account. One sign that there are traffic jams is that buses are much slower and that is why usage has declined.” In that case there are also the electric scooters, about which she states that “you could see me on scooter, yes. And on bicycle. I’m pretty multimodal.”
Government of Pedro Sánchez
In reference to the government of Pedro Sánchez, Villacís wanted to highlight the debate between people of the same ideology, “my friends of deep socialist ideas do not accept what the new government is doing. The image of Pablo Iglesias sitting in jail with Oriol Junqueras negotiating the budgets of my country seems terrible to me.”
“The PSOE doesn’t care who its partners are: it’s just power for power. I’ve told my team: the day I don’t care how I get power, I leave politics,” she said. Bildu’s entry into the institutions seems outrageous to “someone like me, from Irene Villa’s generation.”
She has also valued as improbable the hypothetical entry of Vox in parliaments and town halls, “it is a party of which we do not even know yet what its platform will be. Even so, as far as my terrain is concerned: I do not agree with parties, I agree on policies, and Citizens do not renounce theirs. Whoever wants to negotiate with us knows what’s ahead,” she said.
Distrust of justice
Villacís wanted to express her distrust of justice: “The credibility of the Supreme Court, with everything that is happening in Catalonia, is vital. And it has been undermined. The current government has led us to a Justice more politicized than ever, where all parties are showing a serious irresponsibility towards the citizenry.”
In addition, she has detailed the position of Citizens regarding the election of judges: “Honestly, why do politicians have to define who judges are and how they judge? We propose something as revolutionary as judges choosing judges. What it can’t be is that in the CGPJ the chairs are distributed. I don’t think it’s sensible for political parties to choose the judges who will then judge them.”