The international press has long been elevating Isabel Diaz Ayuso for his management of the pandemic globally. The Economist praised her as “the new hope of the Spanish right”, Le Figaro spoke of the “great revelation” and Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest newspaper, praised the “Miracle of Madrid.” Is now The Wall Street Journal who surrenders to Ayuso with the title: “Madrid, the city that does not confine” and positioning it as the next rival of Pablo Sanchez after his overwhelming victory on 4-M in Madrid. The business newspaper praises his “good sense” and recalls that his pro-freedom policy during the Covid “swept the ballot box.”
“Such electoral success has made Ms. Díaz Ayuso the most prominent conservative politician in Spain and has sparked speculation about her as a possible rival to the socialist prime minister Pedro Sanchez. The Spanish press has reported on the tensions between her and her party’s national leader, Pablo Casado, but she has denied interest beyond her current job. At the end of the interview, he jokes: “As soon as I’m done here, I’ll be a journalist again,” he writes. Adam O’Neal on WSJ.
“I arrived in Madrid in October 2020, fleeing an imminent confinement in Germany, and I stayed until April,” says O’Neal about his experience in Madrid and highlights that the first thing that strikes him is the relaxation of the measures in hospitality: “The bars often seemed as crowded as they were during my pre-pandemic visits, and the city center was full of Christmas shoppers. I visited offices full of workers. The playgrounds echoed with the sounds of schoolchildren playing. Meanwhile, the regional government of Catalonia closed its bars in mid-October, while in November the Valencian government imposed strict capacity restrictions on churches, restaurants and shops. Countries like the United Kingdom, France and Germany also imposed strict closures and confinements in gravity houses.
But the reporter puts the focus on the hospitality industry. How is it possible that Madrid has managed to have low contagion rates with restaurants open until midnight? «The hospitality industry, one of the most important economically and socially in Spain, flourished in Madrid. At the beginning of this year it became the Spanish region with the most hospitality workers, surpassing Andalusia and Catalonia, which are more populated, “he says. WSJ. “What makes me proud is to think that we have been one of the regions most affected in Europe and the world by the first wave of the pandemic,” says Ayuso al WSJ. “Now it has become the opposite, and that shows you the character of the citizen who comes to live in Madrid.”
The journalist is also surprised by how the people of Madrid clung to the mask: «I often walked with the mask on through uncrowded streets, only to take it off to eat while sitting in a busy restaurant. It was rare to see someone outside with their face uncovered, and many continued to wear a mask after its mandatory use was reduced to indoors only.
The Wall Street Journal highlights that Madrid residents rewarded with their vote the common sense that Ayuso had during the pandemic, avoiding suffocating the hotel industry as other large capitals did: “The public, fatigued by the confinement, rewarded the Popular Party of Díaz Ayuso during the regional elections in May. He campaigned on the simple slogan of “liberty,” formerly “communism or liberty,” and it worked. The party doubled its participation in the electorate two years earlier, ending up with a million votes more than its closest competitor.