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Cablegate: Ex-Fm Pique Steps Down As Regional Pp Leader

VZCZCXRO8342
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLA #0053 2011431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201431Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL BARCELONA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0867
INFO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0831
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 1031

UNCLAS BARCELONA 000053

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (CLEMENTS/CERVETTI)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SP
SUBJECT: EX-FM PIQUE STEPS DOWN AS REGIONAL PP LEADER


Sensitive But Unclassified. Please handle appropriately.

1. (SBU) Former Foreign Minister and Catalan Popular Party (PPC)
leader Josep Pique resigned with immediate effect July 19,
claiming mistreatment by the national PP. In a letter to PP
President Mariano Rajoy, Pique said that it had become
impossible for him to continue working for the party after
national leaders unleashed a series of stinging attacks against
Catalan regional issues such as the negotiations over
implementation of the Statute (Estatute) governing relations
between Catalonia and Madrid. The last straw came July 18 when
PP Secgen Angel Acebes traveled to Barcelona and, according to
reports, dictated a local party shake up that left Pique and his
deputies out in the cold. Daniel Sirera, Xavier Garcia Albiol,
and failed mayoral candidate Alberto Fernandez all appear poised
to vie for the party leadership position.

2. (SBU) Comment: The PP has never been much of a factor in
Catalonia, and this recent turn of events will make things even
harder for the party as it prepares for national elections
probably next year. The national PP has always wielded more
control over its Catalan branch than the Socialist party has
over its regional party, the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC).
The PSC, for example, elects its regional leadership; the PP
names theirs from Madrid. Pique, despite his parties poor
showing in Catalonia is generally thought of favorably by the
political class across the spectrum. His party's anti-Catalan
positions notwithstanding, he has always managed to walk that
fine line between supporting Catalonia's regional aspirations
while also maintaining loyalty to the nation. The curtain has
probably not come down on Pique's political career just yet.
End Comment.

ROBINSON

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