Pablo Casado maintains his silence. The leader of the PP has refused to answer questions on Thursday about the imputation of the former secretary general of his party, María Dolores de Cospedal, in the Kitchen case, the cause that investigates the illegal espionage of the ex-treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenas during the Government of Mariano Rajoy. Casado follows the strategy that he defined last February after the fiasco of the Catalan elections, when he announced that he would not speak again about the past corruption cases of the PP and that he would sell the headquarters of Genoa, 13, marked by those investigations. This Thursday, from Ceuta, Casado has refused to answer journalists’ questions about Cospedal, while those attending that event booed the informants when they questioned him about it, and they applauded him for refusing to answer.
The leader of the PP defends that it is not his place to talk about the Kitchen operation and that the Spanish are concerned about other issues and not corruption. “Four months ago I said that I was not going to talk about issues that I do not have to assess, that have nothing to do with my responsibility as president of the PP and much less have to do with the concerns that Spaniards now have and the need of solutions that today we have come to contribute ”, has affirmed Casado in Ceuta, where he has traveled to meet with the president of the autonomous city, Juan Jesús Vivas, of the PP, in full diplomatic crisis with Morocco.
The journalists have asked Casado if the PP is going to open a file on Cospedal for his accusation, since the former Defense Minister is a member of the party, but he has avoided answering, while those gathered in the act ―which the PP assures that they were citizens anonymous people who have stopped to listen to Casado and not his activists – have rebuked the informants with shouts of “talk about Ceuta!” Casado has shown complicity with that protest. “I quite agree with these gentlemen,” he said. Later, the supporters have applauded him when he has expressed that he would not speak on the subject.
The boos have risen in tone when another journalist has insisted on the question of whether that file would be opened to Cospedal, as stipulated in the PP statutes in the event that an affiliate is accused of conduct contrary to the party’s code of ethics. “I thank you for the question and I respect very much that you insist, but really that my commitment to the values that the PP represents in its public service have always been linked to talking about what I can value and it is up to me to value, and not questions I don’t have any information about them ”, Casado replied again, without mentioning Cospedal at any time. “I appreciate the question, but I can not answer anything else,” he has riveted, while the congregation applauded again.
The PP disassociates itself from the protest against journalists in Ceuta, stating that in no case was it a meeting with party members, but rather a press conference open to the media in the open air, “as far as the public who could have witnessing the wheel were citizens who have stopped spontaneously ”. “The complaints heard before the questions of some media have not been produced by any militant of the PP, but by anonymous citizens who have stopped to witness the interventions of both presidents,” have assured PP sources.
Married is silent and the PP decides not to act for the moment against Cospedal. The party has not opened a file on the former secretary general, unlike how it operated with the indictment of Jorge Fernández Díaz, former Minister of the Interior, when Kitchen was accused in the same plot. Then, in September of last year, the PP immediately opened an informative file on Fernández Díaz. It did so in application of the statutes, which say the following: “In the event that an affiliate incurs in any form of corruption in the exercise of a public or representative office, or performs conduct that due to its nature or the circumstances in which that has been committed is considered incompatible with the ethical obligations and duties established in these Statutes, and it is known that he has been called to declare as investigated in a judicial investigation the disciplinary file will adjust to the previous rules with the following particularities: the Committee of Rights and Guarantees that is competent, in accordance with the provisions of article 55 will proceed to the opening of an informative file “.
However, the PP argues that in this case the statutes would not apply. “The party’s disciplinary regulations say that if it is a public office, the regulations apply. In Cospedal’s case, it was not a public office and, therefore, the regulations do not apply. Jorge Fernández Díaz at that time held public responsibilities ”, defended the president of the Guarantee Committee, Andrea Levy. “You have to see the differences, not put everyone in the same bag and, above all, make parallel trials, intended to charge the PP.” In the order issued on Tuesday – which was known yesterday – Judge Manuel García-Castellón attributes up to three crimes to the one who in 2013 was secretary general of the PP and president of Castilla-La Mancha: bribery, embezzlement and influence peddling.
Cospedal’s indictment has torpedoed the PP’s opposition strategy, focused on the battle against pardons for the leaders of the PP. you process, an issue that the popular believe arouses a transversal rejection in Spanish society and can wear down the PSOE a lot. But Cospedal, general secretary of the PP during 10 of the 14 years of Mariano Rajoy’s tenure, has appeared on the PP’s agenda, bringing corruption back to the fore, no matter how hard the party makes efforts to turn the page. Casado came to the conclusion after the Catalan election campaign – in which the PP won only three seats – that Bárcenas had buried his electoral expectations and that he should stop talking about it, and until now he maintains that strategy of silence. His competitors spoil that silence and remember that he won his leadership in the PP Congress thanks to Cospedal. The Government spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, stressed today that if Casado is silent it is “because he has a lot to be silent”, while the leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas – who shares several governments with the PP – has reproached the popular for not show your face. “They have to be something more forceful than to say that they do not value these questions. The PP will have to give explanations ”.