The Ibex covers Garamendi and advocates stability in the employers’ association until 2026


Madrid woke up cloudy this Wednesday. A kind of Basque sirimiri fell on the capital early in the morning of what was announced as a gray day. At 10 o’clock the decisive assembly began to Antonio Garamendi and the trickle of calls to vote in the National Music Auditorium began, among them, some of the first swords of the Ibex, who made a hole in their busy schedules to go to cast their vote and wrap up the Basque businessman. The tense calm evolved over the hours towards a patent and general nervousness that exploded at the edge of 2:30 p.m. The one from Getxo revalidated his mandate and the clouds made way for a blinding sun that burst through the doors of the imposing building that overlook Plaza Andrés Segovia.

But the sun was made to beg in a day, at least, convulsed. Garamendi had breakfast with headlines about an alleged veto of the candidate Virginia Guindavice president of Promotion of Work, who openly accused him of not allowing him to address the assembly and of trying to “control the vote” by reducing the ballot box to two. In the previous hours at the CEOE, there were even fears of some “strange movement” on the part of the Catalan businesswoman, in reference to possible “challenges” that, in the end, did not occur. Sources close to the president commented on the controversy in the corridors and accused “dirty game” Guinda’s accusations, assuring that the electoral process would have “from beginning to end with all the guarantees”.

The controversy inevitably soiled the day, but Garamendi remained on the sidelines. The leader of the business organization was focused on his objective: to revalidate the position with the maximum support. And he remained confident. He soon received a major boost. Shortly after the polls opened, he went to deposit the ballot for him, the president of Telefónica, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, and was located “visibly close” to Garamendi to “clothe him”, as interpreted by several of those present at the electoral assembly. They also looked for a space to go to the Auditorium Jose BogasCEO of Endesa, or the Chairman of Banco Sabadell, Josep Olíu.

The presence of the leaders of some of the most important companies in the country was interpreted as a “clear endorsement” and “explicit support” for Garamendi. It must be remembered that in the CEOE elections, the companies do not vote, but the members of the employers’ associations, hence, in the eyes of those present and of Garamendi’s own team, the appearance of representatives of the Ibex at the highest level became particularly relevant. It is true that Garamendi has traditionally had the support of Ibex heavyweights such as Telefónica, Banco Santander or Iberdrola, but usually the large listed companies tend to opt for neutrality in this type of process. “It has been shown that it has more discreet support in the banking and energy sectors and that is key,” says a source with command in the CEOE.

Indeed, the support of energy companies and banking entities is not trivial. At a time when the Government is going to implement individual taxes to penalize the extraordinary benefits that they are obtaining as a result of the crisis, for companies in both sectors it is vital that the CEOE defends its interests in the interaction with the Executive and This is how they have demanded it from Garamendi, who has offered them a hand in this battle. During his speech before the assembly after being re-elected president, he made it clear by forcefully criticizing the new tax figures: “A la carte taxes generate legal uncertainty and regulatory instability”he warned.

“A la carte taxes generate legal uncertainty and regulatory instability”

Garamendi is aware that in this new stage, more than ever, he is called upon to defend the interests of the companies he represents. Not in vain, in recent times has been highly criticized within the house for supporting the Government in some of the reforms that most affect employers, such as the labor market. Precisely, his support for the latter unleashed criticism from some large employers, including Foment, which began to silently promote an alternative candidacy. The ‘Operation to unseat Garamendi’ was hatched at the end of last year and has culminated in Guinda taking over. And although it has not prospered, the truth is that the Catalan businesswoman has managed to gather 13% of support that the president must now read as ‘punishment vote’ to “not repeat mistakes of the past”warn from the wayward flank.

The support of the Ibex 35 is key because in important sectors of the business organization it is also interpreted as a commitment to stability. “The businessmen of the big business are not at all interested in a politicized employers or in war, but rather advocate for a continuous environment, without adventures or politicking“, explains a source from the CEOE with contacts in the Ibex. The general feeling is of a call for stability in a complex economic moment in which they are going to have to deploy the “damage control” strategy, in the sense of mitigating the impact and mitigate some of the reforms that are coming, such as the rise in social contributions to sustain the pension system or the new tax figures that will significantly affect some sectors.

This Wednesday the sun came out for Garamendi, who managed to gather more than 80% of the votes of the Electoral Assembly. But in the near future, dark clouds will come that will force him, in some way, to toughen his discourse with the Government, as the critical territorial and sectoral organizations have been demanding. It remains to clear up the question of whether the re-elected president will opt for a conciliatory and integrating management or to pass accounts to the opposition flank. But sources from the top of the organization insist that “if Garamendi wants to opt for a calm mandate and without internal will have to take a stronger position with the government and the unions”. She has four years ahead of her.


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