The President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, indicated this Thursday that it was inevitable to punish Vox spokesman Rocío Monasterio for voting on behalf of an absent MP in last week's plenary session, as seen in the video – and meeting minutes. Although the leader of the PP represents the executive, her party, thanks to its absolute majority, controls the legislature, so this Friday, when the Regional Assembly table meets, it is foreseeable that an investigation will be launched that “is very guaranteed and that” It should take several weeks,” said a parliamentary source who enjoys the trust of the institution’s president, Enrique Ossorio. Rarely has it been so true that revenge is a dish best served cold. Free from the shackles of Vox, a party on which she was dependent for two terms, Díaz Ayuso is ready to collect all her outstanding bills from Monasterio. The spokesman for the extreme right faces a fine and a suspension as a member of parliament for 15 to 30 days.
“Your life consists of criticizing the PP no matter what,” the regional president told the opposition spokesman during her government’s control meeting. “I see her a little unfocused. He had a very unhappy week (…) Every time he is told what mistake he is making and where, he enters the victim discourse,” he complained. “They make enormous mistakes that we cannot help them with,” he emphasized.
“If you drive onto a road where you have to drive at 80 [kilómetros por hora], and they catch you at 140, Ms. Monasterio, you will understand that you will have to be fined. “What has not happened in life is that I vote for another MP who is absent,” he denounced, without specifying whether the punishment will be a fine or a suspension of between 15 and 30 days, options that consider parliamentary sources. And he ironized: “How can it be that we can reform the Statute of Autonomy with your seats and ours?” Even if you were to go through all the seats again, vote, vote, vote, we wouldn’t be able to do it.
These are the keys to a controversy that has been unleashed since Monday, but whose roots lie long before, namely in numerous disagreements since Ayuso first came to power in 2019. Because it was through the conflict between Ciudadanos and Vox that the decades-long series of tax cuts of the PP interrupted. And due to the conflict between PP and Vox, Ayuso did not have to approve the budget in 2023. And because of the conflict between the two parties, a thousand conflicts arose in the chamber, such as with extreme threats right to support the investigation into deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic (which he ultimately did not support), or his yes vote, the accounts of Avalmadrid to clarify whether a company owned by the president's father had received preferential treatment in the granting of a guarantee and the subsequent execution of the guarantees (it was discovered with great controversy that he had received them).
What now leads to Monasterio's foreseeable sanction is a series of events that culminate in his double vote last Thursday. This is how it happens:
January 25th. José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, Monasterio's right-hand man in the room, leaves his seat to return to private activities. Vox has a week to replace him before the first plenary session of the new session. Nor is it that urgent: the PP has an absolute majority and their presence will not change anything.
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31 January. One day before the plenary session, Pablo Gutiérrez de Cabiedes resigns the seat that belongs to him since he is next on the electoral list. His decision deepens the crisis of a party that has been rocked by controversy after controversy in recent months. And so Vox comes to the plenary session the next day without his new deputy Javier Pérez having taken office and therefore with one vote less and an empty chair.
February 1st. At the end of the plenary session, the President of the Assembly, Enrique Ossorio (PP), took the floor to issue a warning before voting began. “Before I start voting, I clarify that a representative accidentally pressed the attendance button in two different seats,” says the former regional vice president, downplaying this action. In fact, the controversy explodes later when the Chamber's technical services discover that a vote was taken from the seat of Ruiz Bartolomé, who is no longer a deputy and has not been replaced by Vox. That means someone voted twice.
January 5th. Ossorio decides to launch an investigation and all eyes immediately turn to Monasterio. Because Henriquez de Luna admits in the speaker meeting that he activated two different places as present. He didn't want the place next to the monastery to remain empty, which would be unsightly for the cameras, but eventually he returned to his place. The chair is the one who admits to having voted several times, although she doesn't say it clearly either.
“This is tech stuff,” he laughs during a press conference in which he describes hurriedly pressing and releasing buttons to try to turn the seat off. But no one in Parliament thinks the matter is a joke. And even less the PP, which sees an ideal opportunity to settle outstanding scores with its former partner, or the left opposition, in which Más Madrid registers a letter calling for her suspension as a deputy for 30 days.
According to a spokesman for the institution, this has never happened in the Madrid Assembly. But there are precedents outside the region. For example in the Basque Country. There, in 2003, Parliament imposed a one-month sentence on Carlos Iturgaiz during which he could not exercise his rights because he had activated the electronic attendance system in the chamber of his colleague Jaime Mayor Oreja.
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