• PP Feijóo explodes against the agreement between Junts and the PSOE: "I would not have dedicated myself to politics if I had known what this consisted of"
  • Politics The PP sees three cessions from Sánchez to Puigdemont "appealable before the Constitutional Court"

The phones are left in black cases, each with a white label with the owner's name. When they're working, there's no WhatsApp, no Twitter, and of course no Instagram. Not even an app for writing notes. There are no digital distractions at the Hotel Cigarral El Bosque, the five-star hotel in Toledo where Alberto Núñez Feijóo has confined the entire PP staff for a 48-hour marathon of "brainstorming".

From Thursday until this afternoon, the Steering Committee of the Popular Party has locked itself in what they call a "retreat" of work, but which is more like the concentrations of the football teams before facing an important tournament. The PP's is the 2024 political year, with the Galician, Basque and European elections – and, perhaps, also the Catalan ones – on the horizon, and with amnesty as a toxic cloud that covers everything.

That is why the entire Steering Committee of the Popular Party has brought to the capital of Castilla-La Mancha "reports" with ideas to improve the work of the opposition, to "reposition" the party more effectively and to open new flanks of political attack against the government of Pedro Sánchez. Feijóo wanted it to be the old-fashioned way: without technological distractions, rolling up the sleeves of all the shirts and sweaters – the informal look par excellence in these cases – and debating a lot. A lot, in the opinion of some of the attendees. Even too much.

And who has gone to the PP conspiracy in Toledo? In addition to Feijóo, the secretary general, Cuca Gamarra; parliamentary spokespersons Miguel Tellado, Alicia García and Dolors Montserrat; and the deputy secretaries general Elías Bendodo, Carmen Fúnez, Borja Sémper, Juan Bravo, Esteban González Pons, Paloma Martín, Ester Muñoz, Ana Alós and Noelia Núñez. As regular guests are Javier Arenas – secretary general of the Parliamentary Group in the Senate – and Pablo Vázquez, president of the PP foundation, Reformismo 21. In addition, the four members of Feijóo's strategic bodyguard: Marta Varela, Mar Sánchez, Luis de la Matta and Álvaro Pérez.

To all of them, Feijóo harangued them yesterday, as this newspaper has learned, with an appeal to make an opposition that combines the harshness against the political moment that Spain is experiencing - which is very critical, in the opinion of the PP - and the hope of a future in which all the pacts of Sánchez with Junts and ERC are reversed. starting with the Amnesty Law. "Let us be the voice of the Spain that does not give up," the president of the main opposition party told them, according to sources at the meeting.

It is an appeal to try to "broaden" the electoral bases of the PP to bring together not only the entire space of the right - Feijóo wants to swallow Vox in this legislature - but also the moderate socialists who do not share the concessions to Junts, as is the case of Emiliano García-Page, from Toledo to be more specific. The chosen site, therefore, is not accidental.

"Social majority of Spaniards"

This message of hope for the future had already been raised by Feijóo in his press conference on Thursday: "No majority has voted for these pacts [of PSOE and Junts], and I want to tell the majority not to worry," he said, before stressing that the PP will reverse all these measures that "aim to liquidate the rule of law" if it reaches La Moncloa. "Today, more than ever, we represent the social majority of Spaniards," he said at the time.

After Feijóo's harangue, each of the national leaders of the PP took pen and paper to take note of what the rest would say. One by one, the nine deputy secretaries have been presenting the "area reports", with new political proposals and suggestions against the PSOE and its pacts with the independence movement. For example, they have focused on a commitment to environmentalism or equality, to snatch those "flags" from the PSOE.

When each of them has finished presenting their ideas, an open debate has begun, this time without a time limit. In the normal steering committees there are three hours to analyze current events and fix the message of the Popular Party, but not in Toledo. Now, for 48 hours they are debating without a phone... and no clock. So much so, that last night, at 20:15 p.m., they finally reached the point of the day that announced the "lunch break". If they had had their phones handy during the longer afternoon sessions, some of them would have sent each other the emoji of the little face with the tongue out and the sweat dripping down their foreheads.

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  • Alberto Núñez Feijóo