Isabel Díaz Ayuso
Isabel Díaz Ayuso
|President of the Community of Madrid|
|Assumed office |
19 August 2019
|Vice President||Ignacio Aguado (2019−2021)|
|Preceded by||Ángel Garrido|
Pedro Rollán (acting)
|Born||17 October 1978|
|Alma mater||Complutense University of Madrid|
Isabel Díaz Ayuso (Spanish pronunciation: [isaˈβel ˈdi.aθ aˈʝuso]; born 17 October 1978) is a Spanish politician serving as the president of the Community of Madrid since 2019. A member of the People's Party, and the vice-secretary of communication and spokeswoman of the party's Madrilenian branch, she was the regional candidate for president of the Community of Madrid ahead of the 2019 Madrilenian regional election. Although her party lost the regional elections for the first time since May 1991, she was later elected President by the Assembly of Madrid. Her administration represented several firsts: it was the first time that the region was run by a coalition government—formed by Ayuso's own conservative People's Party (PP) and Citizens—and it was the first time that the far right, represented by Vox, propped up a regional executive in Madrid.
Born on 17 October 1978 in Madrid in the Chamberí district, her parents were involved in the trade of medical and orthopaedic goods. She has a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and a Master's degree in Political Communication and Protocol. Her partner between 2016 and 2020, was the hairdresser Jairo Alonso.
Affiliated to the Popular Party (PP) in 2005, when Pablo Casado was the president of New Generations in Madrid, in 2006, she was hired by Alfredo Prada, Minister of Justice and the Interior of the Government of the Community of Madrid, for his press department, gaining the confidence of Esperanza Aguirre. Specialized in political communication, she directed the online area of the PP, taking charge of Cristina Cifuentes' digital campaign in 2015.
A candidate on the PP list for the 2011 Madrid Assembly elections, she was not elected as a Member of Parliament at the time. She entered the ninth legislature of the regional parliament on 15 July, filling the vacancy caused by Engracia Hidalgo's resignation. She renewed her act as a deputy in the 2015 elections. During the X legislature she served as deputy spokesperson for her group, a position she abandoned along with her status as a deputy when she was appointed vice-counselor of the Presidency and Justice of the regional government.
On 11 January 2019, PP president Pablo Casado appointed her to lead the party in the 2019 Madrilenian regional election. In that election on 26 May, the PP list obtained 22.23% of valid votes and 30 seats, the second most voted list after the PSOE, with 27.31% of valid votes and 37 seats.
Presidency of the Community of Madrid
Proposed as a candidate for the Presidency of the Community of Madrid by the President of the Assembly of Madrid, Juan Trinidad, who had previously prevented an investiture session for Ángel Gabilondo by scheduling an investiture session without a candidate in July 2019, Díaz Ayuso was sworn in as President of the regional government on August 14, with 68 votes in favour (corresponding to members of the Popular, Citizens' and Vox parliamentary groups in Madrid) and 64 against (corresponding to members of the Socialist, Más Madrid and United We Can-Madrid en Pie parliamentary groups).
Six months after her inauguration as President of the Community of Madrid, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Spain with special virulence in the Community of Madrid. In accordance with the state of alarm decreed by the Spanish government on 14 March 2020, the government of the Community of Madrid, like the other autonomous communities, took immediate measures [required clarification] such as the closure of schools and leisure centres, shows and sports events, retired people's day centres, religious celebrations, the closure of hotels and tourist accommodation, shops considered not to be of basic need and the limitation of travel to those needed to go to work or buy food. It also adopted protection measures in public transport, and tax reductions in the payment of Business Tax (IAE) and Property Tax (IBI) for leisure, hotel and commercial premises, travel agencies and large stores, on the condition that they maintain the jobs until the end of the year. Presential activity was suspended in all Community Citizen Service offices, and teleworking was encouraged.
In view of the saturation of hospital services, hotels in Madrid were used to look after less sick patients.
Ayuso stopped appearing before the Madrid Assembly on 5 March 2020, and the chamber was closed for more than a month.
Ayuso was criticised for delivering high-quality FFP2 and FFP3 protective masks to the citizens of the Community of Madrid for free, which arguably could provoke that these kind of masks became scarce in hospitals – it later was revealed that hospitals were also well supplied with this equipment.
Ayuso opposed the request of her coalition partners, Citizens party, for the army to intervene in retirement homes. However, the army did so, against her own criteria, finding corpses and people "in extreme situations and in poor sanitary conditions.
Also in March 2020, after the declaration of the state of alarm, Ayuso proceeded to terminate the contracts of all the concessionaires of school canteens, and hired fast food franchises such as Telepizza, Rodilla or Viena Capellanes for two months, to feed the children of families that had a reduced price in the canteens because they were beneficiaries of the Minimum Income of Insertion (RMI).
In May 2020, her Director General of Public Health, Yolanda Fuentes, resigned, disagreeing with Ayuso's decision to request the transfer from phase 0 to phase 1 of the confinement, because it was not based on "health criteria", a position Ayuso reportedly took after a meeting with businessmen.
On 3 October, Alberto Reyero, the regional minister responsible for nursing homes announced his resignation, wishing "good luck and success in the task that she has ahead" to Díaz Ayuso. He also mentioned that "the unity of the institutions is the most successful way to defeat the virus", criticizing the confrontation between the regional and national administrations. However, six days later, the central government approved the State of Alarm for the Community of Madrid following unsuccessful talks and confrontation between Díaz Ayuso and PM Pedro Sánchez.
On 20 October 2020, two health officials of the Ayuso administration (the manager of Primary Attention and the manager of Hospitals) handed in their resignation.
On 1 December 2020, Díaz Ayuso inaugurated the Hospital Isabel Zendal, praised by her government but heavily criticised by the opposition for its cost overruns and its use as an "advertising campaign".
After Storm Filomena, the opposition criticised her government performance, accusing it of "lack of anticipation" against the incidences caused by the storm, that seriously damaged some infrastructure and parks in the region as well as trapping many citizens of the region for a whole night on the road, with snow reaching it some points more than 50 centimeters.
On 10 March 2021, following an announcement by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and Citizens (Cs) to bring down the People's Party-led government in the Region of Murcia, she announced the breakup of her alliance with Cs in her own region and called a snap election in the Community of Madrid scheduled for 4 May. However, both the PSOE and Más Madrid preventively filled motions of no confidence in an attempt to thwart Ayuso's move.
On April 2019 she claimed the night traffic jams as a "hallmark" of the city of Madrid, lamenting their disappearance with the start-up of Madrid Central. Later, in an interview with El País, she clarified that "... I love the nightlife here, I have lived it with intensity. I hate traffic jams: I hate them. I just miss that nightlife and everyone has understood what I meant". She also declared to "have lost her faith" after her grandfather's death. Ayuso, who broke in as leader of the PP candidacy with a harsh speech, close to that of José María Aznar, Esperanza Aguirre and Pablo Casado, had declared to be "next to Vox, not in front of it".
In the same month of April, when she was already the candidate for the presidency of the Community of Madrid, she proposed that children conceived but not born yet to be counted as members of family units for the purpose of applying for social aid or school places. She did not clarify whether these aids would be maintained in the event that the baby was not born.
In February 2020, she considered that the LGBT law of the Community of Madrid approved by her predecessor in office – who also belonged to the People's Party and of which she herself voted in favour – was a consequence of the "tyrannical progressivism" and that, if it were up to her, "some articles would have to be repealed".
Some of her positions and comments have strained relations with her government partners, Ciudadanos, which have led to the planning of early elections on several occasions. An early election was scheduled for May 2021 after she expelled the Cs members of her government due to the motion of no confidence presented in Murcia by the Socialist Party and her government colleagues.
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- "La oposición critica la gestión de la borrasca Filomena: "No hicieron nada para evitar sus efectos"". Madridiario (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-03-01.
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- "Casado opta por dos candidatos con un perfil 'aguirrista' para el Ayuntamiento y la Comunidad de Madrid". Público. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
- "Ayuso propone que el niño "concebido no nacido" cuente como un miembro más de la familia para solicitar ayudas". 20 minutos (in Spanish). 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
- Caballero, Fátima (2020-02-10). "Ayuso carga ahora contra la ley LGTB de Cifuentes y dice que habría que derogar algunos artículos pero la "progresía tirana" lo impide". ElDiario.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-04-05.
- "Díaz Ayuso admite que sopesó convocar elecciones anticipadas en Madrid". El País (in Spanish). 2020-06-22. Retrieved 2021-04-05.