Perhaps it is time to know a little more about Ciudadanos (their webpage here) and their leader (and probably Spain’s next president) 38-year-old Albert Rivera (Wiki). As we have seen with the recent Women’s Strike, Albert is a fast learner. His party had said just before the event that they would not support the protest as ‘it was anti-Capitalist’. Only a few days later, Ciudadanos billed itself as ‘delighted to lead the feminist debate’.
Like many modern Spanish politicians, Rivera speaks reasonable English (video here). In the video, shot during a meeting by the European liberals ALDE (Ciudadanos is a member), Rivera comes across as pro-European and he is supported by Emmanuel Macron. A recent piece from Spiegel reports that Macron ‘...has begun putting together a network of pro-European powers. En Marche!, for example, has established contact with Ciudadanos, the liberal party in Spain that is currently leading in the polls. And party leader Albert Rivera looks a lot like a Macron clone: a young and handsome economic liberal...’.
Albert Rivera is certainly (and demonstrably) a unionist in Spanish terms, despite being born and raised in Barcelona. Indeed, his anti-Independence stand is bringing him popularity across Spain (in Catalonia, the largest party in the recent regional elections is Ciudadanos). As to Ciudadanos being a liberal democrat party, it is generally seen as behaving rather more like a conservative one (Politico: ‘All-out war on the Spanish right’ here).
Whatever is happening, it’s working, with Ciudadanos now heading in the polls (the party leads with 28.3% with the PP lagging at 21.9% according to La Vanguardia here).
Alfonso Guerra, an old-guard PSOE leader, says in an interview here that ‘Ciudadanos, the party that acted with total coherence in Catalonia, is going to find itself rewarded across the whole of Spain."
Presidents of various Ibex 35 companies have quietly been meeting with Rivera according to El Confidencial here.
As Mariano Rajoy begins to unwind (a gloomy Conservative article here), the chances are that Spain’s next president will be Albert Rivera.