The parties came out this week to weigh in on Felipe VI’s Christmas Eve speech, in which he warned of the “erosion of institutions” without a constitutional court and condemned the “division” and “deterioration of coexistence” in Spain. Both PSOE and PP praised the message and praised its connection to citizens’ concerns, while Podemos, ERC and PNV criticized the role of the monarch.
PSOE evaluates the speech as “very positive” because it believes that it showed that it is “very aware” of the concerns that affect many Spanish citizens, especially the most vulnerable families and young people, and stressed that “we remember” that “the most important thing is is that we guarantee the proper functioning and integrity of our public institutions.” Party President Cristina Narbona emphasized that “King Felipe VI told us ‘we are Europe and we need Europe’. And indeed, next year we will have the opportunity to strengthen our commitment To integration in the European project.
Narbonne praised that the king is aware of the “big” challenges that affect not only Spain but the whole world, such as economic, social and environmental challenges. “It reminds us that for all these challenges, in order to continuously help those who need public authority, it is important to guarantee the proper functioning and integrity of our public institutions,” he said.
The president of the PSOE praised the fact that Felipe VI provokes constructive reflection and the exercise of individual and collective responsibility “precisely guaranteeing that public institutions are solid and able to ensure coexistence in a democracy”. “Our most precious heritage,” he noted.
The People’s Party also praised the monarch’s speech. Its secretary general, Cuca Gamarra, described him as “calm and impeccable” and praised “his sense of statesmanship and his responsibility and constant commitment to the Spanish people”, while praising his “precise” diagnosis and the “necessary” call to protect constitutional values. “Felipe VI sent a message of intimacy in which he noted Spain’s great potential and the great challenges and difficulties we face in times of uncertainty. It was very close to the Spaniards, their daily needs and problems. The proximity of the crown is an impetus for all of us to work together for a better future,” he noted.
The king’s words, according to Gamarra, showed that Spain “has a great monarch”, demonstrating that he is aware of Spain’s challenges and offering suggestions and opinions “to improve the lives of Spaniards”. Number two of the PP highlighted Felipe VI’s call “to face the current institutional crisis from the pillars of consensus, dialogue and the democratic and constitutional system”. “We are creating one of the oldest nations in the world and we are the sole owners of our destiny,” emphasized Gamarra, who noted that “institutions must be at the service of all Spaniards.”
Podemos, ERC and PNV reject Felipe VI’s message
The reaction of Podemos was much more critical. He called the king’s speech “full of uncertainty” a “disappointment” and noted that it “could not have been any other way because of the lack of democratic legitimacy in the institution.” The deputy and secretary of Horizonte Republicano de Podemos, Rafa Mayoral, lamented that the royal house “cannot fulfill the institutional function of arbitrating and moderating the powers of the state”. “This can only be done with democratic legitimacy,” he emphasized. Meoral omitted the fact that Felipe VI did not mention the criminal case against the respected king, Juan Carlos I, nor the rulings of the London courts. “It does not cease to amaze us because we are in the midst of a constitutional debate regarding the configuration of the head of state,” he said.
Merial emphasized that some progressive sectors said that the possibility of the king’s intervention was an “institutional crisis” caused by the Constitutional Court. “It cannot do this because of the lack of democratic legitimacy. It is important to understand that all the power of the state comes from the people and must be subject to popular sovereignty. In this scheme, the monarchy has a difficult role to play,” said Meriel. In this regard, he added that the democratization of the state should be deepened, although “on this path, the monarchy will not play any useful role for the social majority”. In addition, he maintained that Felipe VI had to answer questions related to the succession of the royal house. “It still doesn’t answer the big question of the Balearic people. When will the Saridakis Art Museum open and when will the outrage of Marivent and the Francoists at the House of Bourbon end?” – he asked.
The president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Pere Aragonés, also criticized Felipe VI’s speech. He assured that the Spanish monarchy “is not an example of justice or integrity.” “We affirm ourselves more than ever in our republican values, which are far removed from the King’s speech,” he said during the annual commemoration at Macia’s grave in Barcelona’s Montjuic cemetery.
The PNV, for its part, confirmed that it is “in the hands” of Monarch Felipe VI to “correct” the “erosion” of some institutions, such as the institution of the head of state itself. His spokesman in the Congress of Deputies, Aitor Esteban, believes that the monarch should ask and “encourage” the parties to limit immunity. In addition, he urged him to “get with the times” and “accept the reality of the era”. Given that the king mentioned the erosion of institutions, the PNV spokesperson lamented that “he is apportioning the blame in general, without pointing to anyone” and “it is not known exactly which institutional deterioration he is talking about”: if he is referring to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and the Constitutional Recent events with the court or “something else”.
Source: El Diario