The Day in Spain #6




Pressure on PSOE grows to allow a Rajoy-led government

The Socialist party’s leader, Pedro Sánchez, is receiving pressure from all sides to move from a ‘No’ vote to an ‘abstention’ in an eventual confidence debate for Rajoy’s re-election. Former PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE) said yesterday that a third round of elections would be bad news for Spain, and urged his party to establish “channels for internal consensus.”

Zapatero’s gesture was saluted by PP’s leaders, who see it as a sign of division in PSOE’s leadership. The conservatives’ Vice-Secretary of Communication, Pablo Casado, urged the socialist’s top officers to voice their support for abstention “not only in private, but also in the Federal Committee.” PSOE is also being pressured by Ciudadanos, after Albert Rivera announced its party’s will to abstain.

PSOE’s top decisions are taken by the Federal Committee, which is formed by the leaders of all of the party’s regional groups. The latest meeting of the Committee unanimously decided to oppose Rajoy’s government. However, since then, historical socialist leaders such as Zapatero, Felipe González, Odón Elorza and Jordi Sevilla have hinted that abstaining in the incumbent PM’s confidence debate would be preferable to a third round of elections.

The debate is now focused on the ability of a temporary government to submit a National Budget proposal to the Parliament. The urgency of this move, which has a deadline on 30 September, is being used by PP and Ciudadanos to press the socialists. Sánchez’s group, meanwhile, say that the temporary cabinet can take the first steps. The Constitution doesn’t allow it, but there’s a clause that says it’s possible in “emergency and general interest cases.”

PSOE’s other option would be to try and lead a government project supported by anti-austerity Podemos and Catalan and Basque nationalist parties. However, this is a minoritary option at the moment, as it would mean assuming the celebration of an independece referendum in Catalonia.

Parliament Chairwoman Ana Pastor (PP) dodges scheduling Rajoy’s confidence debate

Ana Pastor, Chairwoman of the Parliament, has not specified the date of Rajoy’s confidence debate. She has declared that it’s “time for the PM to negotiate with other parties.”

A confidence debate is necessary to unlock the Spanish political situation, as it’s the only event that could activate a countdown to a third round of elections. However, the candidate appointed by the King, incumbent PM Mariano Rajoy, has not confirmed whether he will face the Parliament unless he has enough guaranteed support.

Scheduling the date of the debate is a responsibility of the Parliament’s Chair. However, Ana Pastor is one of Rajoy’s closest allies and personal friends, and she’s not expected to toe the line unless the Prime Minister agrees.

Ciudadanos to support PP’s expense ceiling, PSOE to oppose it

Newspaper El Pais says today that centre-right party Ciudadanos will support the government’s expense ceiling if the People’s Party agrees to reduce the amount used to pay Public Administrations (which last year amounted to €123bn). PSOE, on the other hand, has announced that they will not support it. Pedro Saura, PSOE’s Economy Spokesman at the Congress, said that his party “completely disagrees with PP’s financial policy” and that the governing party’s budget policy has been used to “embezzle €20bn”.

Establishing the expense ceiling and fixing a deficit goal are the two first steps towards the approval of a National Budget bill. In addition, without a fresh expense ceiling, new funds for regional governments would be frozen. PP maintains that a temporary government can’t pass these laws, but PSOE denounces the conservatives inaction as a blackmail to force the socialists abstention in a confidence debate over Rajoy’s re-elecion.


Today marks the anniversary of the murder of the “13 Roses”

On 5 August 1939, thirteen young women, between 18 and 29 years old were murdered by the Francoist regime in Madrid. The women, members of the Unified Socialist Youth (JSU), were accused of the crime of “organising the JSU to commit criminal acts” and executed being shot with their backs against the wall of Madrid’s Cemetery in less than a week.

The Thirteen Roses have become a symbol of the struggle against Francoist repression. Spain has never condemned Francoist repression and homicide, and remains the second country in the World with more “politically disappeared” people, only after Cambodia.


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