“Does the Second Vice President consider that Spain is a full democracy?” The question asked this Wednesday by the general secretary of the PP, Teodoro García Egea, to Pablo Iglesias has been the most explicit, but not the only one. During a good part of its development, the usual control session of the Government has transmuted into a debate in Congress on the democratic quality of the country, with the parties of the right pointing out the “abnormality” that United We can form part of the Executive, the parties of the sovereignist left, reproaching freedom of expression problems due to the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél and Iglesias himself, debating with Citizens’ deputy Guillermo Díaz about the health of the media.
Pablo Iglesias reaffirms himself in his words about Spanish democracy: “The critics reveal that what I said is true”
One of the axes of the Podemos campaign in the Catalan elections was precisely to position itself as a political agent whose objectives were to “improve” Spanish democracy. The tracking Inmates who ran the parties in the weeks before the elections showed a downward trend for En Comú Podem. The approach put on the table the differences between United We Can and the PSOE before the situation of the independence prisoners, for example. The vice president’s words generated a great stir and he insisted again later: “The criticisms reveal that what i said is true“.
The candidacy of Jéssica Albiach managed to hold the parliamentary representation and support the growth of the PSC and the CUP. But with the polls closed and the count completed, the matter is still active, although this time not because of Podemos’ strategy, but because of the decision of the opposition to the coalition government, which has one of its favorite targets in the vice president to attack the Executive .
The round began with Pablo Casado. The leader of the PP demanded the President of the Government, who ignored the approach to reply with his bad results in Catalonia, the dismissal of Iglesias. “It takes us to the Venezuela of Mr. Chávez, he only cares about the control of judges,” he assured from his seat. “He has not stopped attacking the institutions,” said Casado, who in the past has considered the coalition executive “illegitimate”, with the PP calling it at some point a “dictatorship.”
After Casado, the deputy of Junts Míriam Nogueras appealed to the continuity of the prisoners of the you process in prison as a sign of poor democratic quality. Nogueras added the recent imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasél: “We are defending fundamental rights. We are not going to stop demanding his freedom.”
The cycle of questions to Sánchez culminated with Inés Arrimadas. The leader of Ciudadanos did not beat around the bush: “In Spain things happen that are not normal in a democracy.” Surprised, the President of the Government responded with a fact that has become the wild card of recent dates: the country is among the 23 with a fuller democracy, according to an index by the British weekly The Economist.
The president of Ciudadanos, as Casado had done before, pointed out that the “abnormality” goes through the demonstrations, and subsequent altercations, of the last night in Catalonia before Hasél’s entry into prison, of which he directly accused Pablo Iglesias, and by the composition of the Government. “Never before in Spain have we had a populist party within the Government and some radical separatists as partners. Never before have they had so much power and so much impunity,” said Arrimadas, who last Sunday saw how the 36 deputies he achieved at the polls in 2017 they became six. And he concluded: “There are millions of Spaniards very concerned about the political situation in Catalonia and in the whole of Spain.”
The vice president, Carmen Calvo, was also the subject of questions from the opposition. The Vox spokesman, Iván Espinosa, recovered one of the classic reproaches for 13 months: “This government was formed based on a deception.” A quote almost traced from what was said a few minutes before by Pablo Casado.
The elephant in the room
But the main course of the day was, obviously, Pablo Iglesias. First, the number two of the PP. Teodoro García Egea, in his usual face to face with the second vice president, told him “understand” why he talked so much about “democratic abnormality.” And he quickly recited the usual reproaches to the Government, especially to the part of Podemos: trying to control the Justice, using public resources for personal benefit, “defending the squatters” and “silencing Parliament”, among others.
Iglesias took advantage of his response to talk about the “elephant in the room.” A reference to the book by the American George Lakoff who, under the title Don’t think of an elephant, is one of the essentials for experts or those interested in political communication. “The fundamental topic of discussion today is whether there is democratic normality,” Iglesias replied, who took the opportunity to insist that there is not and to accuse the PP of it precisely: “I wish there were full democratic normality, but if there is not, it is precisely because of what his party has done to Spanish democracy. ”
García Egea responded by reproaching him for “saying nonsense”, but the vice president did not want to drop the subject, visibly grateful that the communicative framework the day was so auspicious. “I deduce from your speech that you think that there is no democratic normality, but for different reasons than us,” Iglesias started, to state his own reasons, taking advantage of the fact that his turn closes the debate: “It does not seem normal to me that Cifuentes is going to Hasél is in jail. It does not seem normal to me that his party has been financed illegally for decades. I understand that they change their headquarters, what the citizens would like is for you to stop stealing. It is not normal to pay the middle of Federico Jiménez Losantos to lie about the 11M. They come to scream and kick, they will continue to do so for a long time and in the meantime we will continue to govern. ”
But the offensive of the right did not end there. The deputy of Espinosa, Macarena Olona, quoted in her face to face with Iglesias the recent words of the president of the Supreme Court of Castilla y León, José Luis Concepción, to, without mentioning him, affirming that “democracy is in solfa because the Communist Party is part of the Government“. A phrase that, for now, has been the reproach of a member of the CGPJ. “He is an arsonist who tries to destabilize the government. The threat to democracy is you,” Olona snapped.
Iglesias responded by recalling that the Vox leader herself glorified this past weekend the figure of former Civil Guard general Enrique Rodríguez Galindo, who was convicted of terrorism. The vice president accused Vox of “permanently apologizing” for the “dictatorship” and “state terrorism.” Other has to in the income statement of democracy, according to United We Can.
The finishing touch to the day in which democratic quality has been debated has been an interpellation of Citizens directed to Iglesias to “guarantee the exercise of journalism in freedom and without political interference. “He knows a lot about communication and propaganda,” Deputy Guillermo Cid began his speech. “Democracies are in danger when one side of the board is tempted to govern with those who have an ideological affinity, but they do not believe in democracy,” he said in reference to Sánchez.
Cid, defender of a “political liberalism” almost absent in the parliamentary arch, in his opinion, said of Iglesias that “he is dedicated to being the worm of democracy”, that “he has parasitized the pain of others”, and of “attacking the press because there are two things that are born and die at the same time: newspapers and democracy. ” “Democracy is possible without parties, but not without newspapers,” he said.
Iglesias’ response started with the obvious: “I thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect in parliament on something important that is almost never reflected on: media power and the role of media power in democracy.” The leader of United We Can, a fanatic of political communication long before even having the idea of being able to found a political party, took the opportunity to reel off his opinion on the health of the media in Spain from the rostrum.
“The media powers decide the agendas, the issues that are discussed, what voices and opinions are heard,” he said. “They decide a good part of everything that can be seen, heard and read in this country,” he added. The leader of Podemos also cited another classic, Pedro Sánchez’s interview in Salvados in 2016: “He said that certain media powers, and he mentioned the Prisa group, had pressured him not to reach an agreement with us. A communication company He told the socialist candidate that they would do well if he agreed with Podemos. ”
And he settled: “I think you will recognize the enormous power to protect the democracies of the media powers, and that deserves a discussion.” The conclusion for the vice president is not new either. But it is the icing on the cake that this control session has been closed to the Government, which has allowed it to maintain a framework that, it believes, suits its aspirations of not subalternizing itself to the PSOE: “It is a danger for journalism That the media system is dominated by banks and vulture funds. It has consequences for freedom in the exercise of journalism. Do you think that a party is free when it has debts with the banks; that I could do something that affects the interests of those banks if they also own the televisions that are going to define the opinion of the public on those parties? ”