Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Twits Of Twitter: Partido Popular

If your party suffers a calamitous election defeat, it is to be expected that there will be a period of bloodletting. Calm, rational review rarely follows calamity. Instead, knives are sharpened, bodies are left. From fractiousness come factions, fighting over the bones of a disintegrated entity. Putting the monster back together again takes time. The wounds are too profound for there to be rapid reparatory surgery.

Nevertheless, if Mariano Rajoy and central office had allowed otherwise, the Partido Popular in the Balearics might now be on the path to recovery. Central office did not allow. The regional party would have to wait until the PP nationally was subjected to its own calamitous humiliation. Only then would the Balearics PP be permitted to cleanse itself of the soiling of its factionalism, to definitively wave its dirty underwear for public view, to get it out of the way, to elect a new leader.

That might have been the theory, but as the general election of 20-D increasingly appears to have heralded another election (26-J in all likelihood), the practice has proved to be different. The PP in the Balearics is still in leadership limbo, unable to move on. When might it be allowed to have its regional congress and elect its leader? Who can say?

It is now getting on for a year since José Ramón Bauzá's PP suffered defeat by the fourteen cuts of seats that it lost in the Balearic parliament. No sooner was it dawning on the party that it had just suffered its worst ever election performance than the battle lines were being drawn and the trenches dug. A phony war prior to the election - former PP mayors, such as those of Alaro and Pollensa, had already jumped ship and abandoned the autocratic Bauzá - became total war, and at the head of the rebel troops was the environment and agriculture minister, Biel Company.

At one time it had appeared as if Company was likely to get a clear run at being the party's next leader. But with the special congress delayed and delayed, there has been ample time for the factions - far from simmering down - to become more and more agitated. And among the agitators has been Bauzá. Far from having accepted being exiled to the Senate with his tail between his legs, he has been doing his best to stir things. His charge that the party lacked direction did not go down well, the implication of this having been that it was not going in the direction that he had taken it.

Modern party warfare now plays out on different fields of battle, one of these being social media. And it has been on Twitter and Facebook where the Company and Bauzá factions have been engaged in skirmishes. At the heart of this were messages on both networks from one Pilar Bauzá Díaz. She had, for instance, placed the blame for the loss of PP votes on the former president, while exchanging views with, among others, the former director of Balearic ports and airports, Antonio Deudero (a Bauzá man). She also praised the work of Biel Company - "the best agriculture minister of all time".

It might be noted that José Ramón's full name is Bauzá Díaz. But Pilar of that name was unrelated to him. She was in fact Company's wife. Her fake account was exposed when she, by error, used her own name. So against this background, Company laid into Bauzá at a PP general meeting last week. If he, the former president, was going after him (Company), then he would go after Bauzá. Company was furious at what he saw as a deliberate leaking of these social media exchanges by Bauzá's personal secretary in the Senate to the mainstream media. The only problem being of course that it was all out there in the public domain anyway, and his wife had mistakenly blown her own trolling cover.

The general secretary of the PP, the party's nominal and temporary leader, Miquel Vidal, has sought to draw a line under the affair. No action will be taken, and it's being put down to the fact that people get "angry" from time to time, and that it was all an "internal" matter. Which may be fair enough, but Company, adding that he will neither forgive nor forget the supposed leak, has suffered - one would have to think - a great deal of damage. You would also have to think that he was aware of his wife's fake account (for which he did apologise).

The time that it is taking in getting around to elect a new leader is only making matters worse for the PP, and this twittish use of Twitter highlights the fact. When they do finally get round to an election, the matter will not be ignored. Meanwhile, and as the PP tears itself apart, it's supposed to be the main opposition.

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