To spend the election night, Ángel Gabilondo preferred to go to a hotel. The location was perfect, but it was somewhat unintentional: it is at the entrance of a tunnel. Not only that, everything around this hotel seemed chosen by a horny decorator from Díaz Ayuso. A huge billboard read: “Why don’t we relax a little bit?” An advertisement for pipes. And in front, another huge banner: “You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.” A church. The street that leads to Ferraz, 500 meters away, a safe distance, is called del Buen Suceso. At 9:30 p.m., at the PSOE headquarters there was not a soul, only El Toro TV doing a live show to gloat. Not even the kids from the Vox student flat that is right across the street were not there and they usually play legion hymns at full volume. Around the PSOE building, lonely streets, middle-aged gentlemen walking the dog in silence. At eight o’clock the sunset in Madrid was beautiful, but the night looked terrible.
How they were going to have to celebrate it, if that, it seemed that on the left they had hardly crossed their minds. The headquarters seemed rather chosen to bear the defeat. It was not only the PSOE hotel, chosen for practical reasons in the middle of the pandemic; Also More Madrid was in a provisional headquarters. The elections caught him in a move and he had to rent an office that does not suit him at all, a skyscraper on Gran Vía between Primark and Telefónica, there on the 13th floor, and Unidos Podemos is already very far away, outside the center, in its new headquarters opened in summer. They were all out of place. If Mónica García had won, she would have had to go out to look over the huge publicity that covered her building from top to bottom, with this slogan: “Gender equality does not exist.” It was an advertisement for the series The Handmaid’s Tale, but it seemed paid for by Vox. At the door of the hotel in Gabilondo there was an English Court, a section for paintings, tools and hardware, all very inconspicuous.
The night wore on with its dark omens and in the socialist bastion explicit comments about the situation were avoided: [bocadillos] tortilla are very good “. This was the kind of analysis that was done. The press hardly even asked about not making blood, which began to flow in jets, flooding the corridors like in the hotel of The glow, when the TVs connected with Genoa, which looked like a disco in Ibiza. “Look, no social distance,” muttered some militant. What else were they going to whisper. At 10:11 p.m., when Ayuso and Casado came out to greet the PP’s balcony so spiritedly, one looked out onto Princesa Street, where the hotel was located, and an empty city bus barely passed. They were two different cities, a Madrid split in two that was supposed to break its face if one believed the campaign, but in which people drank something on the terraces.
Before the party of the PP, in the PSOE they were asking for the time, they counted the minutes for the curfew and that it was over, lest they begin to spend the whole night whistling with the cars as if they had won the World Cup. Although on the other hand the curfew discouraged the militants themselves from approaching the headquarters of the losers. Anyway, why, if at eleven o’clock you had to be home. In none of the three venues on the left did anyone appear, and they were not expected either.
The spacious rooms of the Socialists’ hotel, for weddings and conventions, became disproportionate to accommodate the emptiness, the absence of celebration. There were only journalists. In the midst of this melancholy of a four-star without people, Ángel Gabilondo was a ghost in a soulless hotel who found it difficult to appear. It was approaching eleven o’clock and no leader of the left was demonstrating, and that fascism is supposed to be invading the city, it was already official. But the rhetoric had already reached normal, prehistoric levels.
At 10:49 p.m. Ángel Gabilondo finally appeared in the press room. The socialist militants who awaited him gave each other hugs in condolences. “Should we get behind or not?” One of them asked as they reached the stage. They got. The masks help a lot at this time to cope with the paper, they cover the expressions. The only one without a mask, the socialist leader, also without a tie, was a bit touched. But he assumed defeat naturally, spoke elegantly, opening his arms as if to say that life is like that and he had done what he could. “With sadness, we will analyze the results.” He greeted his companions. He only hugged, holding the grip for a few seconds, José Manuel Franco, secretary general of the PSOE in Madrid. At eleven o’clock he withdrew, just as the scrutiny began to seriously threaten an overtaking of Más Madrid. The colleagues who were at the Más Madrid headquarters say that at 10:53 p.m. they almost got something when they heard a heartrending cry of joy that came from the floor below. It was Mónica García and hers celebrating the tie, and at 23.05, they overtook the PSOE. They were the only ones on the left to celebrate anything. Well, and some at United We Can.
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