The head of Ciudadanos swept away by his legislative failure


The leader of the Spanish party Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, after the announcement of his resignation on 11 November 2019 in Madrid. – OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

Central figure of Spanish politics since its breakthrough in 2014, the head of the Ciudadanos party, Albert Rivera, resigned on Monday the day after disastrous legislative for its formation, which has this year formed local alliances with
the extreme right. "I resign as president of Ciudadanos, so that this project (…) choose its orientation at an extraordinary congress," he announced in Madrid from the seat of the party he led for thirteen years.

Albert Rivera, soon to be 40 years old, also gave up his seat as deputy and decided to leave the political life that he wanted to "regenerate" in the face of corruption and release the bipartisan conservatives-socialists who dominated the political life in Spain until at the beginning of his formation and that of the extreme left, Podemos, in Parliament in 2015.

Rolled Ciudadanos

The leader, who caressed the idea of ​​governing Spain one day, saw his party rolled up Sunday, from 57 deputies to just ten. The result is particularly bitter in Catalonia, the home region of this party originally created to fight against independence. Ciudadanos ("Citizens"), winner of the regional elections of December 2017, was demoted to eighth position. This bitter failure comes after an election campaign in which Rivera found himself caught between the conservatives of the PP and the far right of Vox, which has robbed him of the third position of political force in the country.

The dashing politician in a couple with a singer, father of a girl born of a first union, had even become the laughingstock of social networks, after a video where he presented his "secret weapon for the electoral debate" preceding the vote: a puppy named Lucas, "still smelling milk".

Ideological turn

A lawyer by training, Albert Rivera is the only president Ciudadanos has known since its creation in 2006. At the age of 26, this Barcelona native made the buzz by posing naked on the posters of his party during the regional elections in Catalonia. . In 2014, Ciudadanos went into high gear by winning seven seats in the European Parliament before landing in the Spanish Parliament in December 2015 with 40 MPs.

Liberal in economics, Albert Rivera quotes as references French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and makes early in 2017 a turn to his party, erasing the initial references to social democracy to redefine itself "liberal progressive".

In recent years, the head of Ciudadanos had embarked on a policy of alliances with variable geometry. In early 2016, he supported the Socialist Pedro Sanchez in his failed attempt to form a government, before supporting a few months later the conservative Mariano Rajoy, to avoid third legislative in a year. While continuing to support socialists at the regional level in Andalusia.

Internal tensions

Criticizing Pedro Sanchez for having come to power in 2018 thanks to the support of Catalan independence, Albert Rivera then takes a right turn and is scandalous accepting in early 2019 the support of Vox to form a regional government with the PP in the Andalusian stronghold Socialists. An alliance that will be repeated in the regions of Madrid and Murcia, as well as the mayor of the Spanish capital.

This development has caused strong internal tensions and the departure of several leaders dissatisfied with the party's right-wingisation. "I'm not leaving because I've changed but because Ciudadanos has changed (…) politics is not a supermarket," Toni Roldan, who is in charge of the economy, slammed the door in June.

"I had warned of the danger Vox represented. We could not negotiate with them without losing his soul, "tweeted Sunday evening the former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, candidate in the spring at the Barcelona City Hall with the support of Ciudadanos, before breaking with Rivera especially because of his
closer to the extreme right.

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