The vote on the labor reform in Congress, which went ahead by the minimum thanks to an error by the PP deputy Alberto Casero and despite the rejection of the priority partners of the Government, ERC, PNV and EH Bildu, put the bloc on the ropes of investiture. However, this fracture did not endanger the legislature because both the parties that make up the coalition Executive and the parliamentary allies called for continuing negotiations on the rest of the pending laws.
Almost three months later, the outbreak of the ‘Pegasus case‘, as well as the management that the Government has made of it (or the “insufficient” responses that it has given so far, according to the independence movement), has changed the panorama in such a way that the stable parliamentary arithmetic, configured through the progressive majority, looks into an abyss from which it could be difficult to get out.
This situation, which far from relaxing is gaining more and more weight (ERC asked this Wednesday for the resignation of Margaret Oaks), coincides with the validation or repeal of the royal decree-law establishing the measures to deal with the impact of the war in Ukraine. What until a few days ago seemed like it was going to be an apparently placid vote for the Government could turn into a major parliamentary defeat (it would be the second in the entire legislature).
And it is that, a few hours before the norm faces its examination in the Lower House, ERC and EH Bildu have not yet decided on the direction of the vote, which would force the Executive to depend on the abstention or the support of the PP to not have to trust the vote only to the Yes of the minority parties. This last option is the least optimal for the Socialists after the precedent of the tight voting of the labor reform.
Despite the proposals made by those of Pedro Sánchez to “rebuild trust” between the pro-independence parties, such as the opening of internal control within the CNI, the constitution of the Official Secrets Commission or the investigation announced by the Ombudsman of the People, these two formations, together with other political forces, including United We Can, ask for an investigation commission in the Lower House to find out who and why the espionage was ordered to purge responsibilities.
But to date, the socialists rule out this possibility. And this, added to the words of the Minister of Defense in the government control session this Wednesday (“What does a State have to do when someone declares independence?”), have added fuel to the fire in relations with the partners to the point that trust has been “broken”, according to parliamentary sources from ERC and EH Bildu.
Both political forces, with leaders spied on in their ranks (including deputies), understand that, despite the importance of the anti-crisis decree, which largely includes several of their proposals, the situation arising from the ‘Pegasus case’ is so “critical ” and “serious” enough to justify its rejection of the norm, since it cannot go unpunished.
At this point, although not without criticism for its “vague” response to the espionage scandal, the Government would be guaranteed the if it is from other regular members in Congress. In addition to PSOE and United We Can, PNV, Más País and Compromís have indicated that they will vote in favor of the shock plan against the crisis. Also, other minority parties. Even PDeCAT, which has been affected by this case, has guaranteed the support of its deputies despite acknowledging that relations with the Government are not the same as before.
Ciudadanos, for its part, has advanced this Tuesday that for the moment they are in the ‘no’. A position that could only change, assured Edmundo Bal, if the Government accepts his demands to promote nuclear energy and keep open the seven active reactors in Spain.
The PP, to the rescue
The equation is difficult for the Government to resolve if it does not make any concessions in the next few hours. Núñez Feijóo knows this and is willing to take Pedro Sánchez to the extreme. The last proposal of the popular to the Executive to save the anti-crisis royal decree-law is that it process the text as a bill, “commit in writing that it be in this period of sessions”, and incorporate the four fundamental pillars of its battery of economic measures. That is to say, Genoa, for now, does not yield either. “There is time,” assured sources from the PP leadership. The truth is that there are just over 12 hours left for the vote.
The popular ones maintain their demands: “a reduction in taxes on medium and low incomes”, a reduction in VAT for electricity “in accordance with community standards”, an “efficient management” of European funds and a reduction in bureaucratic spending by the Executive. In exchange for this, the PP would validate the shock plan in the Lower House.
The ‘in extremis’ negotiation between PSOE and PP is led Maria Jesus Montero, Minister of Finance, and Juan Bravo, Minister of Finance in Andalusia and Deputy Secretary of Economy in the new organization chart of Genoa. Montero and Bravo had a first telephone conversation last Tuesday night: “no progress”, valued popular sources. But 24 hours later the government still did not get the numbers and on Wednesday afternoon Montero and Bravo contacted again.
The economic deputy secretary of the PP conveyed to Montero the demands of the party and, a priori, it seems difficult for Sánchez to give his approval. Until now the Prime Minister has refused to make tax cuts, the first proposal, and the most non-negotiable, for the Popular Party. But the contacts between socialists and popular have increased in the last hours and if CKD remains in the ‘no’, the PP could be Sánchez’s last and only option.
In the PP, parliamentary sources of the highest solvency recognize, they feel comfortable as spectators of the open crisis between the coalition and its pro-independence partners. This is the role they have played in recent days, waiting for the government to fail to secure enough support and have to resort to negotiations with the main opposition party. The plan the popular ones have been fulfilled.
The Government is open to introducing measures from other groups
However, late this Wednesday afternoon, and given the risk that an eventual parliamentary defeat would entail in the face of a shock plan for which 16,000 million euros are mobilized, government sources indicated their willingness to process the royal decree-law as a bill in Congress “to allow contributions from parliamentary groups”, a proposal that the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, sent by letter to the PP’s Deputy Secretary of Economy, Juan Bravo.
With this, the Government intends to gather the necessary support to pass this important exam in the Lower House, leaving the ball in the court of the conservatives who, at the close of this information, insisted that this gesture was not enough. In this way, if the decree is validated (more if it is what It is not), there would be another vote for it to be processed as a bill and, therefore, to be able to introduce measures during its parliamentary run.