The Deputy Prime Minister of the Spanish government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has defended the decisions taken by Mariano Rajoy with an angry, even cocky tone at a rally in the Catalan city of Girona. “Who has left ERC and the PDECat leaderless after decapitating both parties? Mariano Rajoy and the PP. Who put an end to the law being flouted? Mariano Rajoy and the PP. Who closed the Catalan embassies? Do you know what Diplocat is called now? It’s called “Diplocat in liquidation”. So, who deserves the votes to continue liquidating separatism? Mariano Rajoy and the PP", Sáenz de Santamaría declared.
Indeed, the Deputy PM began her talk with a quip about the application of Article 155. "We haven’t come to lunch in Girona until now, since, as we’re running the vice presidency of the government and also the Catalan government, we don’t have much time to eat", she declared, to howls of laughter from those attending the event. Rajoy’s second-in-command boasted of having "put a stop" to the independence movement’s ambitions thanks to the application of the Constitution. "Did they think that the rule of law wouldn’t work?", she asked.
Santamaría also assured those present that the independence movement’s electoral program was “in Josep Maria Jové’s Moleskine notebook". In reference to the PP, Santamaria declared that her party doesn’t take decisions based on "electoral considerations". Instead, "our only consideration is Spain’s best interests and of the Catalans. Catalonia, its freedom and its rights are the number one priority for the PP," she said.
While insisting that the PP are the ones who took all the decisions to stop the pro-independence parties, the Partido Popular also claim to be the party of government ahead of Ciutadans, who they often criticize for lack of experience. Santamaría took a sideways swipe at them when she stated that "the PP not only knows how to make speeches, but also how to act. The PP knows exactly how to govern".
Stop the CUP from taking the PP’s seats
With the elections a few days away, and with opinion polls currently suggesting that the PP won’t do so well, Santamaría also called for people to vote for her party because "those who vote for the PP know that their vote goes to the PP". "Anyone who doesn’t put the PP voting slip in the envelope won’t know if in the end it means the seat goes to the CUP", she declared. The PP repeated this same message on multiple occasions this Saturday in Girona. "Our vote is worth double in Girona: once so the PP win and twice so the CUP lose. That’s a great incentive", said the vice president.
In their speeches, the PP’s candidate for 21-D, Xavier García Albiol, and the representative of the Spanish government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, both continued in the same vein. Albiol declared that "the PP is the party that can best represent Girona, the land of Puigdemont" while Millo went further, asking for an end to the pro-independence parties, stating that "one more PP MP means one less ERC or CUP MP". Millo also accused Carles de Puigdemont’s government of being the government of "tyranny and dictatorship" for trying to "impose its ideas". A "nightmare" that can come to an end, he declared, if there is "a strong PP" in the Catalan parliament.