June 14, 2021

A new political board?

The fourth extension of the state of alarm and the maneuver of Pedro Sánchez, who has at the same time obtained the support of Ciudadanos and the PNV to move it forward, debunks preconceived alliances, has angered formerly preferred partners such as the ERC and left them on the ground from anyone to the PP, at least momentarily.

Are we facing a new political board? Time will tell, but what was seen this Wednesday in Congress shows the least convulsion, augurs more difficult negotiations and in any case pushes away the hope of global agreements to rebuild the country after the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not the first time that Pedro Sánchez goes to variable geometry to get an initiative of his to succeed. But this is not just any occasion, with Spain mired in the greatest crisis of democracy and facing a pandemic that has taken thousands of lives.

His way of managing the extensions of the alarm has been about to invoice him, since until now he had asked for the unconditional support of the rest of the parties, who accused him of refusing to negotiate.

When the PP, which had supported the alarm so far, threatened “no” -although it finally abstained-, the government had to wake up and faced a time trial negotiation that it had not previously needed for the extensions of the alarm.

To negotiate is to yield. And the socialists have negotiated and have yielded.

The PNV thus achieves the commitment -at least on paper- that there is “co-management” with the communities and that the Executive agrees with them on key aspects.

As the spokesman for Basque nationalists has acknowledged, it is an agreement forged for days, and proof of this is that the ministerial order on co-governance itself was already going in that direction.

And if the PNV celebrates having achieved this commitment to having the communities, it is no less important how much Citizens has signed up.

The orange party, which had been left with only a dozen seats after the last elections, knew how to get ahead of the PP and made it unnecessary, and now it claims the success of the extension going forward, because it also advanced its position to that of the PNV.

It has not been difficult for Inés Arrimadas to argue her position vis-à-vis those who call her a traitor and she has tried to repeat that her vote is not in favor of the Government, but to save lives and jobs.

And while the Cs leader was showing off, the PP has lived a bittersweet debate and is currently suffering the consequences of Ciudadanos’ move.

Because, with his threat of “no”, Pablo Casado has managed at times that everyone was aware of the PP, but in the end Sánchez sought the votes elsewhere. And the PP, in the end, does not obtain any political revenue.

Married – who did not want to leave this debate without warning that the PP will vote “no” in the next extension, if there is one – has had to see how the president of Vox, Santiago Abascal, tried to establish himself as the head of the opposition and threatened to present a motion of censure if the Popular Party “delegated” its responsibility.

Sánchez has taken advantage of the situation and not only has he told Inés Arrimadas that his ten seats have been more relevant than the 88 of the PP, but he has also encouraged the leader of the popular “liberation” from the influence of Vox and “moderate “

But neither has Sanchez himself been spared countless reproaches, and not only on the right.

Because many parties that previously voted for him or to which he appealed for his inauguration or other crucial votes now look with fear, anger and even amazement at the approach to Citizens.

It will be difficult, for example, to regain Esquerra’s confidence, if Sánchez wants to, to seek his support in the future. Because the outrage of its spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, asking “where is the multinational government and the dialogue”, does not bode well.

And Bildu’s spokeswoman, Mertxe Aizpurua, warned Sánchez against his “new allies on the right” and asked him not to break the bridges with the parties that facilitated his inauguration.

In the end, Pedro Sánchez succeeds in this debate but on account of eroding his relationship with parties that not only allowed his investiture but may continue to be key in future votes.

We will have to wait to see if today’s allies repeat themselves and this new political panel is consolidated or Sánchez has to look elsewhere.

What is clear is that the ‘truce’ that gave rise to the pandemic emergency is over and the president has had to return to negotiations pure and simple and will continue to do so from now on.

Patricia de Arce


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