The uncertain fate of the orange vote

The decision of the leadership of Ciudadanos not to attend the general elections on July 23 after having bitten the dust in the regional and municipal elections on May 28 caused a deep feeling of orphanhood in the militancy.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 August 2023 Tuesday 10:27
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The uncertain fate of the orange vote

The decision of the leadership of Ciudadanos not to attend the general elections on July 23 after having bitten the dust in the regional and municipal elections on May 28 caused a deep feeling of orphanhood in the militancy. While some charges reacted with indignation and confronted the leadership, others complied with the executive's ruling and plunged into melancholy.

But, without the possibility of voting for their party, what did they do on 23-J before the ballot box? Many voted blank, but some, like the councilor in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda Kevin Romero, admit that they did not resist the temptation to insert the Ciudadanos symbol on the envelope (a heart with the flags of Europe, Spain and Catalonia on the interior), knowing that the vote would be considered void.

None of those consulted, in any case, admit to having voted for the PP, a party to which many of those who left Ciudadanos ended up when the lean times arrived and with which the formation had agreed on coalition governments in the happy days , and yes, on the other hand, to the socialists, such as the councilor in Santa Coloma de Gramenet Salva Tovar, who is part of the municipal government of Núria Parlon: "I did it with the desire to stop a possible collapse of the left and to avoid a government with Vox”.

The general secretary, Adrián Vázquez, pointed out by some as responsible for the traumatic withdrawal to reserve the party's dwindling resources for his candidacy for the 2024 European elections and to be able to continue in Brussels, does not reveal what he did: "The vote is secret."

Retired from politics, her predecessor at the head of the party, Inés Arrimadas, kindly declined to participate in the report, while some of the last public representatives that Ciudadanos has had or still have have taken refuge in silence and have preferred not to answer.

Less reserved is the political spokesperson, Patricia Guasp, Vázquez's electoral ticket in the failed refounding assembly last January. She abstained. "I did not vote and I say it proud," she explains, and she appeals to the newspaper library to remember that "the greatest virtue of a politician is his consistency and respect for his principles." In her case, "a project that guarantees equal opportunities, individual liberties and the progress of society" that she does not see in any other party than in Ciudadanos.

Edmundo Bal, enfant terrible of the liberal family after his challenge to Arrimadas and his successors, on the other hand, did go to vote, but he did it blank, because no party – “and even less PSOE or PP”, he emphasizes – represents him. “I came to politics to show that it could be done differently. That is why Ciudadanos exists, and its leaders have betrayed the founding spirit", laments the former spokesperson in Congress, who accuses the leadership, which has filed it, of "insinuating" to its electorate that they should vote for the PP to "repeal sanchismo ” and “all that string of nonsense”, when “a centrist formation must flee from the blocks”.

Begoña Villacís refers to the message that she posted on the networks on 23-J, advising the Liberals to vote as usual despite not having their “own ballot”. The one who was deputy mayor of Madrid together with the PP asked to exercise a "critical and reasoned" vote to "tip the balance towards a focused option", which, in light of her career, can be interpreted as support for the popular candidate: "Respect the blank vote and abstention, but I will continue to defend the useful vote against the extremes of nationalism and populism,” he wrote.

From Catalonia, Carlos Carrizosa does not want it to be known if he voted blank or null. "I went to the electoral college and deposited my vote, but I did not vote for any party: none of the political projects that were present represented me," argues the leader of Ciudadanos in Parliament.

His companions in the seat, except Noemí de la Calle, who abstained, and Marina Bravo, who voted null and left it up in the air what she put in the envelope (another heart?), decided on the blank vote: "Vote a block or another was only useful to continue polarizing national politics”, says deputy Joan García. "The PSOE, with its pacts with separatism and its confederal vision of Spain, is not an option for me, and the PP is more of the same: a weather vane party, anchored to practices alien to democracy such as turncoats," he adds. Matias Alonso.

For her part, Anna Grau criticizes the decision, although she complied with it, not to appear and without wanting to reveal the meaning of her vote, she does give any clue based on the "contempt" and the "maneuvers" of the PP, which made it "very difficult ” grant him his “confidence”: “The result of these elections is a parody of the useful vote, you have to vote without letting yourself be entangled by the polls, who you want to govern you. There are many people who have voted without enthusiasm and then found themselves in a disconcerting situation due to the abuse of the useful vote of the PP, which, by taking it to the extreme, has lost more than it has gained in Catalonia”, concludes the parliamentary spokesperson.