The Government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida gave Friday the penultimate step to approve the new mobility ordinance of the City of Madrid. The rule includes in its articles the new Madrid Central that have designed PP and Ciudadanos to replace the one that launched the Executive of Manuela Carmena, and that has been knocked down by the justice system for defects of form. The regulation of the large low-emission zone, which will be renamed the Central District, will relax the limitation on the use of private vehicles. More cars, vans and trucks, more polluting and longer, will be able to enter the limited spaces.
INTERVIEW : José Manuel Calvo: “If we do not support the ‘Madrid Central’ of Almeida, who gets away with it is Vox”.
But Almeida is not guaranteed the approval of the rule in the Plenary that he wants to convene, yes or yes, for September 10, just before the execution of the sentence that overturns Madrid Central and that the PP filed in opposition. His allies of Vox, who gave him the mayoralty despite not winning the elections and who have so far supported his entire policy, have already announced that they will not support the ordinance. The extreme right considers that the mayor has betrayed the promise he launched in the 2019 election campaign to end the limitation of traffic. The leader of the PP wields in his defense that the Climate Change Act requires cities to establish low-emission zones, but that rule was approved by the Cortes last May, two years after his investiture.
Thus, PP and Ciudadanos will have to look to their left to find the necessary support. Those who attacked in the past for launching Madrid Central and those who accused of curtailing the “freedom” to circulate wherever they wanted. Neither PSOE nor Más Madrid are in favor of facilitating the approval of the regulations. But the split in the group led by Rita Maestre starring four councilors carmenistas has opened an unexpected opportunity for the municipal government, which needs only three votes to get the ordinance.
The former delegate of Sustainable Urban Development with Carmena, José Manuel Calvo, explained in an interview with elDiario.es the position of the members of the Recupera Madrid platform: “Is it our ordinance? No. Do we think it is the ordinance that Madrid needs? No, we would like a much more ambitious ordinance. But we are not the government, we do not have the capacity to design that ordinance. And what we are facing is the dilemma of consolidating Madrid Central or see that disappears by court ruling in mid-September.
The four councilors of Recupera Madrid believe that the ordinance approved by Almeida is a full-fledged rectification of the also national spokesman of the PP. In an article published this Friday in El País Calvo, along with Marta Higueras, Luis Cueto and Felipe Llamas, defend that Central District is basically Madrid Central with the only difference that will allow access to traders, something that, they say, was already happening “de facto”.
The vision from More Madrid is opposite to that of his former colleagues. His spokeswoman, Rita Maestre, said Friday that the ordinance “suppresses” Madrid Central as it will allow access every day to 50,000 vehicles more than before, according to his calculations. “It would be very incongruous on our part to endorse now a de facto elimination of Madrid Central,” she said in an interview on Telemadrid.
The 15 councilors of More Madrid will thus vote against the ordinance in the plenary, although they will register partial amendments to the articles. The group is not alone in its rejection. Greenpeace also considers the rule a “cut” on what existed that will also have “an additional cost of 185,000 euros to erase the name of Madrid Central”. Even United We can, which has no municipal representation, has shown its rejection. The regional deputy Agustín Moreno made it clear this Friday in a message on social networks: “And Almeida is still determined to end Madrid Central with a new ordinance that expands the number of vehicles that circulate through Madrid Central”.
Madrid falls back in the ranking of quality of life from 8th to 16th place because of pollution. And Almeida is still determined to end #MadridCentral with a new ordinance that expands the number of vehicles circulating through Madrid Central. That is, more pollution and warming. pic.twitter.com/g5vFfb1f4u-
Agustín Moreno (@MorenoG_Agustin) August 20, 2021
The PSOE will also vote no, as explained by the spokesman for the Environment of the municipal group, Ignacio Benito. In his view, the new regulation “continues to prioritize the coThe “pollution is a problem for the people”, in addition to “ignore that pollution claims the lives of 2,000 Madrileños and Madrileñas every year”. “It worsens Madrid Central and falls very short” with regard to Plaza Elíptica, the councilman said. The PSOE will present partial amendments, but will reject the whole of the rule.
However, both groups take for granted the support of Recupera Madrid to the ordinance, although the circumstances would allow the left to put pressure on the PP and Citizens in the brief process of amendments that now opens. This was requested by Manuela Carmena herself last Thursday during one of her interventions in Cadena Ser. The former mayor, who has dissociated herself from the transformation of Más Madrid into a party and has recognized that it was not a good idea to break with Podemos in 2019, said that “the project of the new Madrid Central is a pity”.
“It has been shaved and cut elements of limiting road traffic, we must do everything possible to return Madrid Central to be everything it was, the city needs it,” he added. And he concluded: “I hope that the left agrees and convince the mayor that they can not carry out these cuts”.
It does not seem that the desire of the former mayor is going to be fulfilled. His words have fueled the division between Más Madrid and Recupera Madrid, whose positions are increasingly distant, both politically and personally. From the municipal group that leads Maestre has accused the breakaway councilors of being “defectors”. Councilman Jorge García Castaño has said on Twitter: “I hope that Almeida is not assessing, nor as an option, create an illegal mixed group in exchange for support for the mobility ordinance”.
I hope Almeida is not considering, nor as an option, creating an illegal mixed group in exchange for support for the mobility ordinance. That would have a name… and it’s not pretty.
– Jorge García Castaño 🇪🇺 (@jorgegcastano) August 20, 2021.
In the interview with elDiario.es Calvo denied that they have negotiated their support for the municipal ordinance in exchange for support from the PP and Ciudadanos to their attempts to not move to the group of non-attached, where their political work would be reduced almost to zero, after breaking with Más Madrid. A matter that is now in court and that should also be settled at the end of the summer.
Aware of this disunity, Almeida launched on Friday a conciliatory message with the left and declared himself “willing to negotiate with everyone”. Unless there is a change in theIn a strategy that goes along the lines of what Manuela Carmena has pointed out, the disunity of the three progressive groups will make a common front impossible, which could force the current mayor to introduce changes. Almeida has gone from criticizing Madrid Central and the limitation of car use to defending the EU’s obligation to implement such restrictions.
The city faces a legal process in Europe for excessive pollution, something that the delegate of Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante, blamed Friday largely to the fumes of combustion vehicles. In addition, Madrid has fallen back by pollution from 8th to 16th place in the ranking of cities with better quality of life published by the magazine Monocle. It is the position in which it was in 2015, when Now Madrid became mayor.
Carmena has in Recupera Madrid those who were her most loyal allies during her mandate, starting with Higueras, who was her right hand even before making the leap to politics; Felipe Llamas, her chief of staff in the Palace of Cibeles; or Luis Cueto, nephew-in-law of the former judge and general coordinator of the Mayor’s Office during her mandate.
From More Madrid, Manuela Carmena’s words this week are interpreted as a disavowal of his own. But the position of the four breakaway councilors does not seem to have moved, according to their statements. The clock for a hypothetical common strategy is ticking and has a deadline: until September 10.