Just when it looked like it was done, the only train destined for something like a state pact derailed. Alberto Nuñez Feijóo’s blow to the PP on negotiations to unblock the General Council of Justice (CGPJ) and his clear refusal to make any agreement with “this PSOE” make any agreement between the government and the opposition impossible. Others have been resolved along the way, such as a minor reform of the constitution, an anti-transgender pact, the renewal of the Convention on Sexist Violence, the democratization of the Official Secrets Act or the reform of the National Security Act.
The recent rupture by the CGPJ is nothing more than the latest since Pedro Sánchez assumed the presidency of the government in May 2018. When negotiations began to unblock the judiciary, a socialist leader was inaugurated at the head of the executive branch, alone and after demanding censorship. Since then, political events have followed: a double electoral appointment in 2019, the first coalition in decades, the departure of Pablo Iglesias from politics (before Albert River) and the coup that removed Pablo Casado from office. The leadership of the main right-wing party was handed over to Alberto Núñez Feijoo.
And despite many changes, agreement was impossible. It seemed that the exception was the legislature, which was characterized by the complete absence of agreements between the government and the opposition, in the end it did not happen. And nothing makes us think that in 2023 the two main Spanish parties will manage to converge their positions on anything else.
First, because in an election year, political leaders tend to avoid handing any victory to the enemy, and the premise of an agreement is that all sides must surrender. The fear of one’s own reaction is real, it is obvious. Especially in Moncloa’s candidate, who is playing his first and only option for the country’s presidency. Feijo, who will be 62 when Spaniards are called to the polls, is taking the lead, aware that any slip-up could ruin his options, which have thinned over time according to polls published in recent weeks. And fear took its toll.
In the breakdown, the PP reinforced the history it had built on Pedro Sánchez since he took power in June 2014. To the point where it’s almost impossible for him to assume that he’s someone with whom it’s possible to close anything. Agreement.. “felon” who can “mortgage” future generations to “hold in Moncloa”, the unity of the nation “end to the willing”. These and many other phrases are uttered by current and past leadership in internal and institutional forums.
And they stay. “I’m not going to accept the disaster,” Ayuso said on April 7. That day the newly recognized president of the PP visited Montcloa for his first meeting with Sánchez as opposition leader. A thesis that was finally accepted by the president of the PP, who, after ending negotiations with the government, said: “State pacts will come with another PSOE.”
And what is left? On that day in April, Fayo received a document from Sánchez with 11 Pact proposals. Only one was implemented: removing the requested vote. And the credit must go to others, because PSOE and PP have reached a parliamentary agreement with little enthusiasm, for which forces such as Podemos, IU, ERC or Bildu, among others, are pushing.
The Spanish constitution cannot be reformed until it ceases to exist. Since 1978, the basic law has only been touched twice, and both times by external imposition: to allow EU citizens to stand as candidates in municipal elections (1992) and to pay public service arrears (2011).
But in the Spanish society and also among the parties there are other consensuses on constitutional reform, which, however, have not been discussed. It is one thing to replace the word “reduced” in Article 49 of the maximum legal text. A collective claim that all parties agree to, to the point that Congress has had the paper open for months to study reform.
Sánchez and Feijo urged each other to carry out the reform. But the case is closed. The president of the government wants it to happen in a parliamentary framework, while the leader of the PP prefers to turn it into a bilateral agreement outside the Cortes, rather than take it to the rest of the groups for ratification. More or less what was done in the previous two reforms.
And why doesn’t it work? In addition to the story battle, bipartisanship does not control the common courts as it once did. And Article 167.3 of the Constitution provides that his own reform “shall be submitted to a referendum for ratification when required, within fifteen days after approval, by one-tenth of the members of either House.” 35 deputies or 21 senators. The number is not that difficult to achieve. And who wants a referendum in all of Spain today? PP and PSOE, no.
Feijo has publicly expressed fears that opening up the constitution could lead other parties to demand other reforms, as well as refusing to consult all Spaniards. The PP leader promised that the reform of Article 49 would not serve other elements. That’s why no one is talking about changing other rules that could easily be agreed upon, such as the priority of a man over a woman at the head of the crown.
The Pact of Anti-Transfugism was a Spanish policy that sought to bring order to unstable municipal politics in the midst of brick chaos after the practical liberalization of land at the end of the last century. In order to avoid corruption in city councils due to urban planning, a perhaps unattainable goal, mechanisms were created to ensure that municipal corporations were stable and that they were not dependent on the changing will of the city council.
But garnishment, like corruption, did not disappear. And in 2021, after a motion of censure in Murcia that led to Castilla y León and Madrid, the PP abandoned the pact after the parliamentary commission monitoring it called the president of Murcia, Fernando López Miras, a robe. To the Ciudadanos MPs who changed horses at the last second and derailed an operation that was not fully explained.
To this day, the PP remains outside the pact. Feijoo’s new management showed no interest in returning. Although the president of the government put it in the April document, he did not address it to the new national leadership of the party. And if he has, he has not reported the outcome of the review.
The government this summer presented a preliminary draft of a new law on official secrecy that democratizes the rule developed by the Franco regime and that protects the dictatorship with impunity and other subsequent acts committed by members of the state under the power of the sacred law. “The Importance of the State”.
All of this will remain secret until a judge or the government decides. But once the new rule is approved, hiding official documents will be much more difficult for investigators, journalists and the general public. The law, whose legislative process will last several months, will not have the support of the PP, which has already announced its intention to amend it. His main complaint is that the management of secrecy will no longer depend on the Ministry of Defense or the CNI and the perpetual “surrender” of Catalonia.
The PP also did not agree to negotiate the law of democratic memory, which has already been approved and whose repeal compromised Alberto Núñez Feijoo. Nor the coalition government’s response to the crisis, whose measures it systematically rejected and then demanded to continue. This is a case of a 20 cent discount on the price of fuel or a deduction of VAT on gas and electricity bills. PP voted against them all.
Before the end of the legislature, there are two minor options for an agreement between the coalition government and the main opposition party, as well as other groups. One is the National Security Law, which passed the first parliamentary process with the support of the parliamentary partners supporting the government and the opposition: PP, Vox and Ciudadanos. Now the parliamentary process is missing, the term of which is no more than 11 months. Very fair.
The second is the State Compact against Gender-Based Violence, which expires at the end of this year. Equality Minister Irene Montero is already working with groups to update it. All but the extreme right joined the talks. And everyone has expressed their interest in the new text, which for the first time will not have an estimated duration. Among the goals, the guarantee of “stable, sufficient, independent of the economic cycle” state funding and the protection of funds intended for specialized non-profit organizations stand out. But the work is taking forever and isn’t expected to be finished until 2023, which could make closing the deal difficult.
Both depend on PP. National Security Law because it will be difficult for ERC, PNV or Bildu to support it. and the Pact Against Gender-Based Violence, because without Feijo it will be difficult to manage the pact, which depends heavily on the governance of autonomous communities that have many powers funded by the central government. “State agreements will come with another PSOE,” Feijoo said. If so, there will be no agreements until 2024.
Source: El Diario