To uncomfortable questions, answers by peteneras

The parties criticize the "evasive maneuvers" of the Government when they demand information in writing

Loreto Gutierrez

One of the usual ways that deputies and senators have to exercise their work of parliamentary control over the Government's action is through written questions, which
The Executive has the obligation to respond within the statutory termtwenty days in Congress and thirty in the Senate.

Unlike the oral questions in plenary to the members of the Government, in which dialectical skirmishes abound that delight social networks, the written answers are the parliamentary equivalent of lentils and their authors have little choice but to content with the text that reaches them, whether or not it fits the question. Until now.

Although it is widely assumed that the Government, whatever its color, has a tendency to dodge in written responses -effective for obtaining specific data but much less for political assessments-, for some time now the perception that there is no way to extract explanations from the Executive in this way is generating a
growing unrest among parliamentary groups. President Sánchez's turn in the Sahara conflict and the consequences for the Canary Islands of the new stage of relations with Morocco are a palpable example of the Government's ability to come out as peteneras when a question is uncomfortable.

There are dozens of initiatives that the parties have presented to try to clarify derivatives such as
What is the Government going to do in the face of the appropriation by Rabat of the waters of the Sahara?with what criteria will the median with the Canary Islands be established in the Spanish-Moroccan working group for the delimitation of maritime spaces, still pending convening, or what security guarantees will Spain demand for the oil prospecting that Morocco plans to carry out in waters near the islands.

The Executive has not given a specific answer to any of these questions, beyond referring to the appearance of the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, in which he did not clarify anything, reiterate a previous answer or, in the best of cases, limit himself to stating that "it will ensure the territorial integrity of Spain and will defend its interests at all times." It is not uncommon either that what was answered has nothing to do with what had been raised.

There is no grievance mechanism in case the response is routine and to get out of the way, and if the author understands that the Government has not answered his question, he can reformulate it and register it again to see if there is better luck. Faced with this increasingly frequent situation, some parliamentarians have asked the Chamber's Bureau for protection, denouncing the Government's "evasive maneuvers" for not fulfilling the obligation to provide explanations and transparency.

An example of the general outrage is the reaction of the Valencian senator Carles Mulet (Compromís), who after receiving on several occasions the same vacuous response from Foreign Affairs about the hydrocarbon surveys in the waters of the Sahara, expressed his fed up in the umpteenth reformulation of his request : «This filthy answer does not address what was asked», he states in the text of his initiative, «for this reason I reiterate, is the Government going to keep silent again and become an accomplice of this outrage in a territory where Spain has a historical and in addition, of an activity that can directly or indirectly affect the Canary archipelago? At the moment it remains unanswered.

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