Wed. Aug 21st, 2019

PDeCat's last attempt to save budgets

El último intento baldío del PDeCat de salvar los presupuestos

The Catalans gave it to him; the Catalans have taken it away. With a big brush, this could be the owner of the moment, with the necessary precision that the independentistas do not represent all the Catalans, not even in half, according to the result of the last elections.

Let's use, therefore, a finer brush. Catalan separatists gave the presidency to Pedro Sanchez in May and nine months later they have withdrawn support in a vote of clear meaning disincentive. What the right did not achieve last Sunday in the Plaza Colón in Madrid has been imposed by the pro-independence movement in Parliament. Sanchez is now heading for the convening of early general elections. The Council of Ministers meets on Friday.

The Catalans usually finish breaking those complex constructions of the Spanish policy that they themselves have contributed to raise. It is a song that comes from far away. The memorable phrase of Don Estanislau Figueras to present the resignation as president of the First Republic - "I am up to the c ... of all of us" - reverberated yesterday in Congress. Catalonia encumbed José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2004, making him promise what he could not promise. The independentistas gave the presidency to Sanchez in May and in February they have just pushed him to a precipice that the Spanish left may not be able to get out of.

Fine brush Was it possible to approve the processing of the budgets on the same day that the Prosecutor's Office read the indictment against the twelve Catalan politicians who are being tried in the Supreme Court for the events of October 2017? Who set the calendar? The trial should have begun on February 5, but a delay in the procedural steps forced to delay a week its start, coinciding with the budget vote, set in advance. It is coincidence.

In politics there are possible things, difficult things, very difficult things and impossible things. Obtaining the vote of the independentistas in the Congress the same day in which the Prosecutor's Office accuses of rebellion its main leaders in the plenary hall of the Supreme Court oscillates between the very difficult and the impossible. A very virtuous navigation between the rocks of Scilla and Caribdis was necessary to avoid running aground. Sánchez commissioned that delicate navigation to Vice President Carmen Calvo.

The main responsibility, however, lies with the president. The decision to try to process the budgets on the eve of the trial was taken by Sanchez immediately after the elections in Andalusia, very adverse for the Socialist Party. Weeks before had suggested the possibility of extending the budgets of 2018 to not risk more than the account.

Sanchez likes risk. After the announcement of Andalusia, he believed in his internal forum that the independentistas would end up facilitating the budgetary procedure so as not to fan the electoral expectations of the conservative bloc. Sanchez believes a lot in his good luck. He has just published a book called Manual de resistencia. That is another old story: almost all the Moncloa tenants end up paying homage to the Baraka, an old Islamic belief brought to Spain by the troops stationed in North Africa. "I have baraka, the bullets do not cross me." Until one day, boom!

The negotiation between the Vice President Calvo and her Catalan interlocutors, the Vice President of the Government of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of the Presidency, Elsa Artadi, did not work well. Especially difficult was the communication between Calvo and Artadi. Two very different psychologies. Two very different languages. Lost in traslation.

Good part of the PSOE did not want deals with the independentistas few months before the municipal and autonomic elections of the 26 of May. Negotiation of general budgets and local elections. A dangerous conjunction in a country where it is very easy to shout: "Everything is taken by the Catalans!". Mayors and autonomous presidents feared a Vietnam. After the Andalusian elections, that fear turned into fear. When the socialist barons of inland Spain heard - through Miquel Iceta's remarks - that the negotiation with the sovereigners could end with the formation of a table of parties crowned by an arbitration figure, they panicked. When Vice President Calvo introduced the word "rapporteur" and babbled to explain it, the situation collapsed. Felipe González took out the cutlass.

Sánchez sees politics as a basketball game. You can move from attack to defense in a few seconds. He ordered a halt, while the three rights tried to carry out in Madrid a "destituyente" mobilization of Venezuelan airs, which failed, in part, due to the socialist slowdown. On Saturday, Sanchez was a man alone. On Sunday afternoon, after the puncture of Columbus, there were again sanchistas. During the weekend all communication channels with the independentistas were closed. Any attempt at a last-minute settlement was doomed to failure.

Despite this, the PDECat moderates have tried a blitzkrieg operation, with the help of Pablo Iglesias, the only leader of the Spanish left who communicates (by phone) with Carles Puigdemont. On Tuesday afternoon an attempt was made to outline a compromise solution: commission of parliamentary groups to discuss Catalonia with the PNV as a spokesperson. (See La Vanguardia yesterday). The socialists did not respond. ERC was not very interested. Puigdemont said he does not want to know anything with the PNV after having broken with Iñigo Urkullu. Yesterday morning, deputies of the PDECat tried one last movement: to withdraw the amendment, to take by surprise to ERC, later to harden the negotiation of the budget. Old convergent school. After consulting with Waterloo, Artadi told them no. Early in the morning, Joaquim Torra's chief of staff appeared at the PDECat offices in Congress to repeat the slogan: "The president reminds you that you have to vote no." The budget agreement died on Friday. Puigdemont, Torra and Artadi nailed the tacks of the coffin yesterday.

The motion of censure prospered at the end of May thanks to two actors who were especially employed: Marta Pascal and Pablo Iglesias. The coordinator of the PDECat bypassed Puigdemont - contrary to the motion - and he did not forgive him. In July, Pascal was forced to resign. The PDECat thus became the weak link in the uncertain government majority.

Apart Pascal from the chain of command, the clamp of the Catalan separatists with the Spanish right was a matter of time. Yesterday it was consumed.

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