The Day in Spain #2



The Constitutional Court, to decide today its course of action about the Catalan parliament’s disobedience

The Constitutional Court is currently in a meeting to decide its course of action, after the Catalan parliament approved measures towards independence. The incumbent government requested the court to open criminal proceedings against Carme Forcadell (CDC), chairwoman of the Catalan chamber.

If the Court decides to act against Forcadell, she may be suspended from her position, which would unleash a political storm over Madrid-Barcelona relations.

Government negotiations: PSOE says its MPs will vote ‘No’ to Rajoy

PSOE’s spokesman in the Senate, Óscar López, has repeated today that his party’s MPs will oppose Mariano Rajoy’s investiture as Prime Minister. López has reminded that the socialist’s Federal Committee (the party’s most senior organ) decided the direction of the vote last 9 July. López’s words contradict historic leader Felipe González (PM from 1982-1996), who recently said he supported his party’s abstention in case it couldn’t lead its own cabinet.

Remember that the Spanish PM is elected by the Parliament. MPs vote in two rounds. In the first one 176 votes are needed (absolute majority). If the candidate doesn’t succeed, a second vote is held, with only more ‘Yes’ than ‘No’ votes needed. At the moment, Mariano Rajoy (who was appointed by the King as the candidate) needs PSOE’s abstention in order to have a chance to be re-elected, even after centre-right party Ciudadanos confirmed it would be abstaining in the second round.

Mariano Rajoy will meet PSOE’s leader Pedro Sánchez tomorrow (Tuesday 2 August) to try to change the socialist vote. The incumbent PM is expected to appeal to the PSOE-Ciudadanos deal, signed in February, which unsuccessfully tried to make Sánchez PM. Negotiators at PP think that the governing party’s programme has enough in common with that document to use it as a starting point for an eventual deal.

There is still no date scheduled for the first vote, after Rajoy announced he would not run unless his victory is guaranteed.

Galician PM, Feijoo (PP), considering the possibility of calling elections to coincide with Basque vote

Alberto Núñez Feijoo (PP), PM of the Autonomous Community of Galicia (Northwestern Spain) will decide today whether to call regional elections on 25 September, to match the date announced yesterday by Basque PM, Íñigo Urkullu (PNV). Galician and Basque elections are traditionally held on the same day, a tradition Feijoo himself defended in 2012 for being economically and politically sound.

The Galician politician is one of the best positioned to replace Mariano Rajoy at the helm of PP in the (unlikely) event of a resignation. However, calling elections before the central government has been elected will seriously damage his chances, as he would not be available if Rajoy fails to negotiate successfully with Ciudadanos, who refuse to support his presidency, perceived as corrupt.

PP bans catalan party CDC’s own group in the Senate

The Senate permanent committee (Mesa del Senado) has rejected CDC’s group. The PP absolute majority at the committee has prevailed. PSOE abstained and PNV (Basque nationalists) supported CDC. The PP has argued that there are “doubts about the group’s nature”, after the Catalan party tried to borrow senators from other formations. MP and Senator lending is a very common practice in Spanish politics. This strategy is used to circumvent thresholds to group formation. Groups receive public funding and have a more frequent speaking and inquiring turn.

CDC is the governing party in Catalonia. The group leads the process of independence of the Northeastern region from Spain. CDC, a right wing party, was expected to be granted a group in Parliament after it successfully dealt with PP to overlook some of its technical shortcomings. However, the latest steps taken by the Catalan parliament could lead to the deal to collapse.

Parliament and Senate groups are decided separatedly. PP holds an absolute majority in the Senate, but not in the Parliament.

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