"The PNV has leaned to the left and leaves us a very important flank"

The PP candidate for lehendakari, Javier de Andrés, is convinced that his party will grow in the April 21 elections, after hitting rock bottom in 2020.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 March 2024 Sunday 10:28
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"The PNV has leaned to the left and leaves us a very important flank"

The PP candidate for lehendakari, Javier de Andrés, is convinced that his party will grow in the April 21 elections, after hitting rock bottom in 2020. The polls give them 7 parliamentarians, compared to the 6 they achieved four years ago -in coalition with Ciudadanos -, although the PP above all hopes for the possibility that the PNV and the PSE do not gain an absolute majority. It is the scenario that would allow them to recover part of the lost influence. The journalist and politician from Vitoria, former deputy general of Álava (2011-2015), is committed to a speech focused on the economy and criticism of the PNV to try to get off the ground.

The polls give them a slight rise and place them around 7 seats. Would it be a satisfactory result for the Basque PP?

We have always won in the polls. People do not reveal their vote for the PP in the Basque Country because the social circumstances are unfavorable. EiTB Focus gives us a revealed vote of 1.4%, and I think we will reach 10%. It would be a very important advance and the surveys are beginning to reflect it to some extent.

In any case, it would be a modest representation (7 out of 75) and a percentage of seats similar to that which the polls give them in Catalonia. What self-criticism does the PP make for a party of its size to obtain these results in these communities?

The PP presents itself with a project of equality and freedom, and is the majority party throughout Europe and also in Spain. It is true that there are two communities in which we are not, but I believe that we cannot give up a project like ours, even if that has consequences in some certain places.

And do they give up having importance in two communities of this political and, in the case of Catalonia, also population weight?

I wouldn't give up. I would like to convey to Basque society that freedom is a fundamental element in the organization of an Administration, that we cannot have absolutely bureaucratized systems, loaded with taxes and in which the public powers decide everything. In fact, these two communities in which we do not have a large presence are losing economic and social weight in Spain as a whole because the model they have opted for is not successful. To the extent that that is perceived, we have room to grow.

In the Basque Country they became the second force and until 2012 their representation did not drop below 13 seats. Former Minister García-Margallo confessed that a popular Basque leader told him the following: “Since they don't kill us, we don't have a project.” Is it difficult for you to adapt his speech to post-terrorism Euskadi?

It is possible that we have been perceived in a pigeonhole, but we have the same project as for the rest of Spain and Europe. We give fundamental weight to the economy, to facilitating people's opportunities, business development... We have a great project, and we see a PNV that is voting with the left, whether it is Bildu, Podemos or the PSOE. It has heeled over and has left a very important flank and many people unprotected.

In recent years there has been talk of a transfer of votes from the PP to the PNV, a party to which it is constantly referring during this pre-campaign. Is he the rival to beat for the Basque PP?

The votes belong to each citizen and I would say that the abstention in regional elections has also greatly affected us. Our best results came in 2001, with a record participation. That said, I think that many people must necessarily be disappointed by a PNV that has played with public spending instead of making life easier for people, who knows how to earn money and what it costs to pay taxes. And I'm talking about a plumber or liberal professionals who to earn 1,000 euros have to earn 2,500 euros.

What is that PP model for Euskadi that you want to talk about in the pre-campaign?

We have to recover the model that has given us success, since we are losing weight in the general economy and last year we lost 70% of foreign investment. The models of the left, based on subsidies, public intervention, taxes or the bureaucratization of social and economic life, are going badly for us. Our economy does not work with subsidies, payments or payments; It needs investment, infrastructure and making it easier for people to manage their resources.

Should the Basque Country look in the mirror of places with less social spending like Madrid or Andalusia?

I see a very interesting reference, for example, in Malaga. It is a focus of technological development and at this moment they have opening applications for ten universities. Things are being done well and the formula is simply the recognition of merit. If it is not recognized, identity or ideological keys are prioritized. We are suffering a loss of talented young people, university students, who leave Euskadi to places where their merit is recognized. We must recover that, regardless of other elements that have been prioritized here, ideological, linguistic or identity. We have an expensive Administration, tremendously politicized and very inefficient. In Education it is clamorous: we cannot be in 14th place out of 17 in reading comprehension. It is so that those who are there can go to the streets.

Do you see a change in the PNV thanks to Imanol Pradales?

He is a man who is going to do what his party tells him. I don't think he's coming to make a revolution. He is a person handpicked by someone who is in charge of the PNV. I don't see a relevant change and I see that he continues to rely on the same partners he had. That is, he wants to do politics with Bildu and the PSOE. It seems to me that his partners are the same as before and I think that the margin that he could have in his own party is minimal. I don't see any differences.

PNV and PSE may not reach an absolute majority. Would this scenario be the opportunity that the Basque PP is looking for?

A minority government is a very feasible possibility, although these parties have been relying on Podemos and Bildu. They are part of the same product. It would be very good to be able to balance it, because Basque politics is very biased towards these formations, sometimes very populist. That's where we have a role. I really believe that we are going to be necessary in that scenario.

What would you propose to support that hypothetical minority government?

Our entire electoral program, which is based on providing freedom. What leads to people not being able to fully develop as they would like is the lack of freedom. If you provide freedom you will favor the development of people's ideas and projects.

On the political level, what does this concept of freedom that you use translate into?

All the parties of the Sanchista bloc tell us how things should be done, how they should be regulated, at what time restaurants should close. Everything is decided at the public level, and there is a legislative multiplication that reaches down to the smallest details instead of leaving people free. We are seeing it with the issue of housing, for example. All laws that have been passed to limit or regulate housing construction have been coercive. And the conclusion has been that there are 104,000 homes missing and that we have the highest prices in Spain.

Regarding the competition to validate foreign degrees, now transferred to the Basque Government, he pointed out that a Venezuelan or Nigerian doctor is not as good as a Spanish one. In view of the commotion generated, do you regret those statements?

It seems unacceptable to me that someone could think that the efforts of our university and our healthcare system do not result in better doctors than developing countries. What I said is that a doctor trained in a health system like the Spanish one is one of the best trained. We need the doctors who work with us to be among the most trained in the world.

Are you going to introduce the issue of immigration into the campaign?

Well, we have a growing percentage of immigrants and it is very important to work better. In Euskadi there has been a failure in integration policies and there has been a bad labor integration policy. We have a lower than average unemployment rate, but the unemployment rate among immigrants is higher than the average unemployment rate among this group in Spain. It is the sign of failure.

Will Isabel Díaz Ayuso come to campaign in Euskadi, as in previous elections, or do you think that at this moment it could harm them?

We are balancing our agendas, but yes, we will see you here. There is a political will to discourage the value of the person who is managing to have surpassed, for example, Catalonia and the Basque Country in GDP and per capita income. I believe that he has a lot of political value, and we want him to be here, along with other representatives of the Popular Party such as Juanma Moreno or Alfonso Rueda.