Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias have parked the discrepancies that had been stoked within the coalition as a result of the negotiation of the General State Budget for 2021, which has not yet begun. In the run-up to these conversations, the minority partner was alarmed by the prominence that Ciudadanos was going to have in the public accounts and threatened not to support this legislative project, which is the key to the survival of the bipartisan. In the last hours the tension on both parties has been lowered and the president and second vice president had a meeting this Monday in Moncloa to analyze the situation and find a formula that would satisfy both parties. The result, according to government sources, will be a protocol that will establish that the PSOE and Unidas Podemos will jointly negotiate the public accounts from a previously agreed upon basis between the government partners.
Calvo assures that PSOE and United We can agree on budgets to negotiate with the rest of the parties and assumes that ERC will not support
The idea was slipped first thing in the morning on Monday by the first vice president, Carmen Calvo, after the conflict that emerged within the coalition regarding the budget negotiation. “We are going to direct ourselves with an internal project of the two parties that are in the Government, of both parties, to the rest”, expressed the socialist leader in an interview in Las Mañanas de RNE. In the meeting held hours later in Moncloa, Sánchez and the second vice president have come to the conclusion of changing the method in that direction, which is the one that the leader of United We can transferred to the president.
Sánchez and Iglesias hold this type of meeting on a regular basis and it is in those meetings that conflicts that arise within the coalition unravel – sometimes causing the disavowal of ministers or leaders of both formations. On this occasion, they had to address the disagreement as a result of the imminent negotiation of the budgets, the legislative project to which the coalition entrusts its duration, and which they had already briefly discussed last Monday. “We get good vibes from that meeting. The relationship between the president and the vice president has always been good, cordial, there has never been any problem,” state government sources on the socialist side.
In Unidos Podemos they had assured elDiario.es that this time the conflict was not just another scuffle, that the coalition was at risk if Moncloa’s plan for budget negotiation was aimed at making assignments to Ciudadanos, with which they declared “incompatible “. So, we can he warned the PSOE this Friday at a press conference that they could not count on their support for the accounts if Citizens entered the equation: “The PSOE knows that with us it is not going to count on Budgets with Citizens.” The spokesperson for the formation, Isa Serra, urged her partners to “take care of the majority supported by the Government.” The intention of United We Can is that ERC be prioritized when negotiating the accounts. Iglesias’ concern, moreover, is that Ciudadanos ignores him, given that the party of Inés Arrimadas has defended her intention to negotiate exclusively with the socialist party of the Government, as it did in the extensions of the state of alarm in which agreements were reached that included matters such as the extension of the ERTE, as well as trying to lower the seal of the confederal group as much as possible. The coalition partners came out with that forcefulness on Friday to try to prevent the president from adopting a position of fait accompli and turning the orientation of the accounts with the argument of convincing Ciudadanos.
The threat of Podemos – which does not coincide with the position held by some members of the confederal group, including the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, who is not in favor of establishing prior exclusions in the negotiation – fell like a jug of cold water in the Socialist ranks in a week in which they had already faced other criticisms, such as the accusation of “lack of leadership” from the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, by the minority partner. In Moncloa they had already launched an appeal to all political forces to move forward with the budgets, as a fundamental tool for recovery. In fact, Sánchez had summoned the Ibex 35 staff to send the message that the whole of society is involved in getting out of the crisis. The call also sought to transfer the pressure to Pablo Casado with whom he had a closed appointment for this Wednesday. “We are going to bet on some country budgets, we appeal to all political forces. The alternative to the PSOE and United We Can Budgets cannot be those of Montoro,” was the official response from Ferraz to Podemos’ warning.
From there the formation of Iglesias softened their position. Sources from the confederal group assured this weekend that the requirement is that PSOE and United We can agree on the budget project in the first place and, from there, seek the necessary support for it to move forward, that is, that a draft be prepared prepared by government partners and then seek alliances. “But with a negotiated draft,” these sources stressed, explaining that the disagreement with the parliamentary allies can be “fixed.”
In this sense, the first vice president, Carmen Calvo, calmed down the spirits quite early on Monday morning by ensuring that the public accounts will be agreed first within the cabinet and then they will try to find support. However, in the PSOE they assume that they will not be able to count on ERC to carry out the budgets, despite the fact that it was initially their preference. “Two or three weekends ago, Junqueras said:” We are not going to approve the budgets. “We read this as a government, nobody has invented it – Calvo said about a headline from a month ago in La Razón-. If we read this, we have to keep working. ”
In the PSOE they insist that the call to negotiate includes all political forces, except Vox. In fact, in recent weeks, Sánchez has made a balance so as not to close the door to the pro-independence formations, especially the Catalan Republicans, approving the accounts. “We will talk to everyone,” they insist on the socialist leadership, in which they acknowledge that ERC has not “just defoliated the daisy.” In the meantime, Arrimadas has shown its total willingness to negotiate budgets. The leader of the self-styled liberal party has assured that she will attend the meeting with Sánchez with a “constructive spirit” next Wednesday to sit down and talk “responsibly” about “good and sensible” budgets.
Despite the tensions unleashed in the coalition and before sitting down with Iglesias, Sánchez guaranteed, before the IBEX leadership and representatives of what is called civil society, stability for the coming years, although he demanded the “unity” of the different social agents as well as the political forces. “We need a new political climate, marked by stability and unity,” said the president before the watchful eye of the economic power. “No one has the right not to pitch in because they have an ideology contrary to the current government, a different identity or opposing interests,” he added. “The coalition government does not ask to renounce any of those convictions or political preferences that each one has. All we ask is to match them to the exceptional and unprecedented moment that we have had to live. It must combine those convictions, those preferences, those, that ideology with a higher good. And that higher good is the recovery of the country. ”
Sánchez, who seeks to attract and involve the business world in crisis management through a public-private group to manage the investments of European funds, links the budgets to the economic reactivation and asked that these have the “greater parliamentary basis “for recovery to be as rapid as possible. In any case, before having the support tied up and just 48 hours after the disagreements within the Government broke out in public, he predicted “a prolonged legislature.” In that act held at the Casa de América with the presence of a hundred guests, the members of the Government tried in private to smooth things over, at least outwards: Irene Montero chatted animatedly with the president of Banco Santander, Ana Patrica Botin, and in The cabinet smoothed out the internal disagreement within a coalition whose parties admit that they need each other to survive.