Isabel Díaz Ayuso is the president of the Madrid regional government. She is a member of the Partido Popular, as is the president of Andalusia and the president of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. Apart from being members of the PP, they have something in common - their administrations opposed the Spanish government's proposal regarding greater coronavirus restrictions for municipalities with more than 100,000 people. For good measure, the Catalan government said no as well.

Ayuso insists that Madrid is not a rebel region. Feijóo recently pledged Galicia's loyalty to the Spanish government. But when it came to the health minister's proposal, even loyal Feijóo was disinclined to go along with it. In Andalusia, for so long under PSOE control, they're making a habit of being somewhat contrary.

For Salvador Illa, the health minister, and the Spanish government, there was always likely to come a point when they ran up against regional opposition to policy in respect of managing the virus. When the state of alarm was lifted, central control was relinquished and handed back to the regions. The government has now published an order imposing mobility restrictions. In Madrid, Ayuso has been given 48 hours to comply with it. She says that this is an "ideological" manoeuvre. The agreement with the regions is "not valid". She will comply but she is also taking the government to court.

The government ultimately has the power, but the pressures of Covid are straining the relationships with the regions. But for political or health reasons?


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