Excited, self-critical and confident about the future. The outgoing president of Cs, Inés Arrimadas, said goodbye this Saturday in front of the 500 members of the party, including delegates and high-ranking officials, who had met this weekend in Madrid for the General Assembly to embrace the new stage that begins with the re-establishment from Ciudadanos. A conclave in which Arrimadas said goodbye to his two years as leader of the formation. “I apologize for any mistakes. You have to accept mistakes in the first person and that’s how I do it,” the outgoing president admitted in a speech of around half an hour. After her “last words” as party leader, the new leader came on stage. Among them Patricia Guasp and Adrián Vázquez, elected this Thursday as political spokeswoman and general secretary respectively, winning the candidacy of Edmundo Bal and Saura in the primaries.
Arrimadas’ speech revolved around the management his team has carried out over the past two years, during which the party has had to face the march of Albert Rivera, who resigned after the electoral debacle of the November 2019 general election, to which the Cs went from 57 to 10 seats in just six months. “I want to thank and acknowledge Albert Rivera,” added the leader. A crisis that the integrated leadership led by Arrimadas, who was proclaimed president in March 2020 by defeating Francisco Igea in the primaries, was unable to overcome. This was a critical period for Ciudadanos, marked by successive electoral blows, such as the regional elections in Madrid, Castile and León and Andalusia. “That’s understandable. It depends only on ourselves to get it. We will not increase it by fighting and blaming others,” he explained.
The last catastrophe, the Andalusian one, in which Cs was removed from the autonomous parliament after becoming part of the coalition government with the PP, accelerated the re-establishment process. An attempt to rejuvenate the party that began in July and culminates with this General Assembly where the new statutes will be ratified. “I would like to thank all the members of the extended and permanent board. I come to thank you for the experiences, the hopes and the people you have brought me to meet,” continued Arrimadas, who received much applause and was immediately moved. At the end of the speech, the leader came down from the stage and hugged the members of her outgoing management one by one. Among the top officials leaving the leadership this Saturday was Parliament Speaker Edmundo Bal, who sat next to her while a video of the President’s work was projected and to whom she gave just two warm kisses as she greeted the rest with a hug . “The affiliates have spoken clearly. Now it’s time for us all to support each other in the implementation of this project,” affirmed the outgoing President in her speech.
Edmundo Bal and Inés Arrimadas, during the act.FERNANDO ALVARADO (EFE)
Since mid-October, Arrimadas and Bal have waged an open war over what remains of the formation. This struggle led to an uphill battle in the primaries, in which the Speaker was defeated by a 14% margin over the winning candidacy, that of Guasp and Vázquez. His list, which won with 53.25% of the 3,700 votes cast by affiliates, was supported by the outgoing President. For the MP, who insists that this is “the Arrimadas list,” that difference means the new leadership must assume that a large majority of bases are demanding “a change” and are demanding that part of their demands be in the Citizens is integrated leaving the General Assembly. After a bitter campaign in the primaries that tore the party in two, Arrimadas has called for unity. “It never occurred to me that I was more important than this game. Never. Not in the best moments, not even when we’re winning. Nobody is ever that important. This party is more important than us,” the chairman said.
Arrimadas will lose all executive and organizational powers, but the new executive has confirmed that she will remain in Congress as the parliamentary speaker. “Now you give me another assignment, which is to continue as a speaker, and I will do that by doing my best. There is no greater honor than representing you in Congress,” said the outgoing President on the podium, where she praised the skills of those responsible who, since this Saturday, have been entrusted with the difficult task of getting Ciudadanos out of the swamp used their farewell to convey a message to the other parties: “The left that governs is the opposite of progressivism. Don’t be fooled, other parties don’t want any other proposals. They don’t even want our political fortune. they just want our votes.”
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Cs has already prepared its image change for the new stage that will open with the newly elected management team. As EL PAÍS announced at the end of November, the newly formed team wanted to keep the Ciudadanos name but integrate some new characteristics into its brand. Among them, add one or more colors to orange. Finally, as this newspaper has learned from various sources and confirmed by the management team, the color chosen is dark green. The party is celebrating a general assembly this weekend, attended by about 400 delegates and another hundred senior Cs officials. The outgoing President Inés Arrimadas will say goodbye to her family this Saturday afternoon with a speech.