2 May, 2023 @ 16:26
1 min read

No entry: Government minister stopped from attending parade at Madrid’s regional celebrations

Madrid's Dos de Mayo celebrations
Cordon Press

THERE WERE extraordinary scenes at the Madrid region’s Dos de Mayo celebrations on Tuesday, as a regional protocol chief refused to let a government minister on to the stand for dignitaries to watch the parade. 

The incident unfolded when Felix Bolaños, the minister for the presidency in the Socialist Party government, was blocked from accessing the stand by civil servants from the Madrid regional administration, which is run by the conservative Popular Party. 

In a video of the moments of tension, Alejandra Blazquez, the head of protocol for the Madrid regional government, stopped the minister in his tracks despite protests from his team. 

‘The organisation is perfectly well established,’ argued Blaqzuez. 

‘The minister of Spain has to be allowed to enter,’ said one of Bolaños’s team in response. 

The moment when the Madrid regional protocol chief stopped Felix Bolaños from accessing the podium.

The incident came after several days of tensions between the central government and the regional administration, due to Bolaños’s insistence on attending the Dos de Mayo celebrations – which commemorate the city’s uprising against Napoleonic troops in 1808 – despite not having been officially invited. He attended in place of another minister who had declined an invite.

On the podium were the regional premier of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso of the PP, the national leader of the PP, Alberto Nuñez-Feijoo, the PP mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, and the Socialist Party national defence minister, Margarita Robles, among other dignitaries. 

Sources from the central government voiced their criticism of the PP regional government, saying that they were acting as if Madrid were their ‘fiefdom’. 

Acto Civico Militar Homenaje A Los Heroes Del 2 De Mayo En Madrid
The backstage moment of tension ahead of the Dos de Mayo parade.

Speaking to news agency Europa Press, the same sources expressed their surprise that Nuñez-Feijoo was in attendance at the parade, despite holding no official position apart from PP party leader. 

Much of Diaz Ayuso’s political strategy in the role of Madrid premier has been to oppose the actions and policies of the central government, which is run by a coalition of the Socialist Party and junior partner Unidas Podemos. This was particularly noticeable during the coronavirus pandemic, and helped her to win reelection as premier at a snap poll in 2021. 

This latest incident has been interpreted by the Socialists and by critics as yet another attempt to stoke confrontation between her administration and the central government ahead of the regional and local elections that will be held across Spain, including Madrid, on May 28.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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