April 11, 2021

Margarita Robles and Ione Belarra, the two poles of the coalition


Discrepancies within the government are no secret. Some are even within the expectation of a coalition executive from a country that no other has experienced before. But while some public officials try to temper or normalize the differences between PSOE and United We Can, others seek melee in an endless confrontation, sometimes underground and lately using the media as a loudspeaker for their differences. No one like Margarita Robles, an independent in the government’s socialist wing, embodies that culture of clash with United We Can. Opposite, Ione Belarra, is in charge of giving him a reply from within the Government, as Secretary of State in the Second Vice Presidency led by Pablo Iglesias. Robles and Belarra have become the two poles of the coalition: when PSOE and United We Can have problems, they stage the clash.

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The Minister of Defense is one of the ministers of the socialist quota who has always had a more tense relationship with the minority partner and one of the ones who has starred in public with those of Pablo Iglesias. The response of the minority partner usually comes from Belarra, the person most trusted by the leader of the purple ones. The level of reproaches between the two has, on occasions, crossed the borders of the political confrontation and has reached the personal level, but always with a fundamental ideological and programmatic content.

The tension within the Government rose decibels as 2020 progressed and it was during the negotiation of the General State Budgets that Robles and Belarra staged their first major public clash. The Defense Minister charged Iglesias for the pressure they were exerting, especially to make clear the alliance with the investiture forces against Pedro Sánchez’s commitment to Citizens. Several socialist ministers expressed their discomfort at the “visibility” and prominence of those of Iglesias, but Robles went a step further and demanded “humility” from the second vice president, while reminding that Pedro Sánchez is the president of the Government: sometimes no one should forget it, even within the government. ”

“I do not like that in the political sphere there are people who think that they serve citizens better than others. There is no catalog of what is the best and the worst,” said Robles, who also criticized that United We can promote an amendment together with ERC and EH Bildu to pressure the PSOE to extend the ban on evictions, as finally occurred.

“To be humble is not to be flattered by the media right,” Belarra replied in a tweet in which he accused Robles of being “the favorite minister of the powers that want the PP to govern with VOX.” “You may be doing damage to your government,” he added.

The next clash was about one of the investigative commissions on the scandals of the king emeritus that United Podemos and the rest of the investiture allies promoted, who have always run into the rejection of PSOE, PP and Vox for its start-up. Robles defended that Congress does not investigate Juan Carlos I and accused the minority partner of the Government of being “questioning the institutions.”

“Protecting privileges and aligning with the right and the ultras once again is disappointing,” was Belarra’s response. Asked about those words during an appearance by the storm Filomena in Moncloa, Robles asked not to waste time on those tweets. “I always respect the particular opinions of everyone. I believe that Mrs. Belarra is Secretary of State. I believe that she is in the Second Vice Presidency and what is important is that with the Second Vice Presidency we can work together on what really matters to the citizens “, settled the minister, who referred, for example, to the disinfection of residences – a competence of the Vice Presidency of Social Rights – carried out by the Armed Forces.

Faced with this scuffle, Belarra assured in an interview in Cuatro that he had “good treatment” with the minister, although he maintained the fundamental position of United We Can: “Nobody understands that a party like the PSOE is positioned in that way in Congress.”

Just a month later, the clash occurred again regarding statements in which Iglesias, referring to, among others, the independence prisoners, questioned that in Spain there is “full political and democratic normality”. The Defense Minister took advantage of her presence at the inauguration of the new head of the Navy to rebut the second vice president. “Spain is a full democracy, one of the most advanced in the world, with solid institutions, with consolidated rights and freedoms,” he said.


Despite the fact that the defense of Spanish democracy and its position in 23rd place in the ranking was part of the argument of the government’s socialist wing, Belarra focused again on Robles and questioned the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Secretary of State also pointed to Robles, alluding to a supposed anniversary of the Army extolling the Blue Division that a group of soldiers spread on networks. Defense assured that it was a hoax.

Asked about Belarra’s reproaches in an interview with Al Rojo Vivo (La Sexta), Robles did not hide her discomfort and questioned the level of demand in the second vice presidency. “It surprises me a little that at the time we should be working, he dedicates himself to putting personal tweets,” he said before pointing out that Belarra “is still not very informed” about her position regarding the sale of arms to that country “because it’s with the tweets. ” “I am not going to enter into comments and personal tweets that I understand have nothing to do with the government’s action,” the minister concluded.

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