The President of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, is summoned as a witness after some party members complained about the non-convening of the Provincial Congress. The Xunta is investigating in Fuenlabrada
The internal conflicts of the PP Salamanca have spilled over to Madrid. Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo is being summoned to testify at the hearing scheduled for Friday, January 20 at the city’s Investigative Court 5, after a sector of members complained about the delay in convening the provincial congress to elect party leaders had submitted the formation in Salamanca. Feijóo is summoned as the legal representative of the PP to explain why the Salamanca section of his formation has been postponing this congress for almost two years. In addition, the national PP is being indicted as a legal entity in the primaries case related to the alleged illegal funding of the 2017 Salamanca primaries, which the current regional president, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, won.
The critical wing of the PP that has been driving this process believes that the statutes governing this political group, which is now run in Salamanca by a manager coordinated by the same previous leadership, have been violated. These 147 affiliates, of the approximately 1,000 the PP has in the province, are demanding that the judge take precautionary measures that would imply holding the congress, which could alter the current governance structure. Salamanca PP President Francisco Javier Iglesias resigned just over a month ago, although he retained his position at the head of the provincial council. Iglesias is a trusted man of Mañueco, who has his main stronghold in Salamanca, since he was mayor there between 2011 and 2018 before making the autonomous leap to government in 2019 in coalition with Ciudadanos and since April 2022 amid several controversies such as the current one on the anti-abortion protocol, with Vox.
Sources from this critical sector explain that going to court is not a “dish in taste” for Feijóo, although they suspect the former Galician leader will, one way or another, avoid the image of going to court. The view would be public, according to court sources, as it is a civil matter. One possibility for the opposition leader not to testify is if, surprisingly, the PP convened a congress and the plaintiffs withdrew their claim, which they believe is unlikely given the proximity of local elections: “With congress there is no demand but the Order must come from Madrid because their noses are swollen, it hurts the party,” says the same source. Another option is for the Salamanca PP to question the process and extend the time. Feijóo received the subpoena on January 5.
“It’s a civil case and the judge wouldn’t impose a penalty if Feijóo didn’t come or send his lawyer, but socially it would be ugly,” estimates this source, who laments that the case has become “the talk” of the city. Nonetheless, they insist that violating the party’s internal norm requires such a response. “The PP works with great urgency, with a just-in-case attitude, they speed up meetings and talks with candidates,” explain these affiliates, seeing how the current command is dealing with the “fear” of being hypothetically removed from power. All of this, they say, would not have happened “if Mañueco had been humble” and “accepted a cycle change with new faces to work together in the same direction” rather than castled with his peers.
Echoes of the “Primary Case”
Salamanca has become unfavorable territory for the PP due to its open court cases. On to congressional matters comes the investigation launched into alleged irregular funding of the 2017 primary that glorified Mañueco. The judge in the primary case finds possible illegitimate funding as around EUR 24,000 of the more than EUR 60,000 collected is of unknown origin and was collected to pay off the debts of affiliates in a situation of non-payment so that they could collect their debts and have the right to vote in this internal proceeding , which Manueco won in the end. The judge charged Francisco Javier Iglesias as the party’s provincial leader; the manager, Raquel Sánchez; and the PP as a legal entity.
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Last week, the judge working on this alleged episode of illegal funding again asked the Court of Auditors to produce a report ruling out the crime, a document that prosecutors have failed to obtain despite their requests. The judge acknowledged that this letter was “allegedly” sent by the court, noting that “the document does not contain any signature, whether handwritten, digital or encrypted”. Therefore, it requires that it be sent “duly legalized and signed,” or certifying the authenticity of the copy provided, or what is reasonable as to the accuracy of the same.
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