The announcement about the repeal of the crime of sedition, embodied by PSOE and United We Can in a parliamentary initiative after an agreement with ERC, initially aroused a broad consensus among the groups in Congress. Shortly after, criticism arose from some groups and social movements about the replacement of the concept of sedition by that of aggravated public disorder, a change that, in his opinion, can open the door to punishing acts of peaceful protest. A similar situation has occurred now with the reform of the crime of embezzlement. The Government opens the door to approve it but with certain clear limits.
On sedition, Unidas Podemos has slipped the possibility of presenting an amendment to its own text to safeguard, if necessary, social mobilization at the same time that other left-wing formations have warned that they will be pending so that this modification “does not contribute to cut rights”.
But beyond this question, there has been another matter that has aroused blisters among the groups in Congress, and also among the parliamentary allies of the Executive: the reform of the crime of embezzlement through a possible ERC amendment in the framework of the repeal of the crime of sedition.
In essence, and after the Government, specifically the socialist part, did not close the proposal to touch up embezzlement, various political forces, including Podemos, have raised serious doubts about a “delicate issue” with many “edges” that It can give rise to the benefit of people sentenced for cases of corruption. Although, in this debate, Moncloa assures that if a reform is undertaken in this sense, it would be limited so that it does not affect corrupt practices.
Moncloa clarifies that it would limit the reform
In the Government of Pedro Sánchez, caution is one of the main maxims. They are aware that it is a difficult subject to communicate and for this reason they have avoided giving clues about it in public. Pilar Alegría did not do it this Monday from Ferraz nor did isabella rodriguez in Moncloa despite insistent questions from the media.
The minister spokesperson limited herself to propping up the idea that the Government’s commitment was confined solely to the reform of the crime of sedition. Something that in her opinion, in the only concession she made on the subject, “is not incompatible with the fact that the groups raise your amendments“In addition, asked about how a reform of this crime could affect corruption cases, Rodríguez wanted to convey a clear message: “The fight against corruption, the exemplary nature of public life is a hallmark of this Government,” said.
From Moncloa several keys stand out at this time. The first, that nothing is being officially negotiated with ERC yet. But that there is provision for it, as in any other parliamentary procedure. The Executive is clear that if such a reform goes ahead there must be certain limits so that it does not affect clear cases of corruption. And that the first step, in any case, is study the proposals that arrive at the level of Congress.
Yes, the Minister of Defense dropped some important reflection, Daisy Robles, professional judge. “The regulation of the crime of embezzlement is very unequal, because obviously the corrupt person who takes the money in his pocket is not the same as the one who does not take the money in his pocket,” she said in an interview in Antenna 3.
ERC is committed to reforming crime in a “surgical” way
In this line, the Republicans assure that they are negotiating with the PSOE a reform in these terms. That is, to modify the crime of embezzlement in a “surgical” way to link it to the repeal of the crime of sedition. “It makes no sense that without there being personal enrichment or a structure of corruption, Junqueras is tried for embezzlement,” said his spokesperson in Congress, Gabriel Rufián.
Aware of the misgivings that the proposal may arouse, he has insisted that in no case can it be linked to corrupt practices. “We must try to define and delimit the Penal Code to modernize it and not give rise to captious, interested or ideological interpretations by the judges”, he pointed out without giving further details on how the amendment they present in this direction will be articulated and that the PSOE is open to study. Although, sources from the Republican group assure that they will try to agree with the Socialists on this issue before to present your proposal so that there are guarantees that it will not lie down.
The reform of the crime of embezzlement involves going back to the text prior to the reform introduced by the PP in 2015, after 9-N, to prosecute the pro-independence leaders to use public funds for sovereignist consultations. The modification consisted of changing the term “whoever steals or helps to steal” to “whoever administers public funds unfairly.”
Differences also in United We Can
But this idea, whose legal balance seems complicated, has raised serious doubts and not only on the part of the opposition. Within the confederal space of United We CanIone Belarra’s formation has been reluctant to reform embezzlement, while IU and the commons are in favor.
In this sense, the spokesman for the purple group, Pablo Echenique, has advanced that the legal team of the purple formation will study this matter “very carefully”. Also, it has confirmed that this debate has not yet been shared with the rest of the formations that make up the confederate space in Congress.
Echenique has made this statement in reference to the words of the parliamentary president of United We Can and representative of the commons, Jaume Asens, who was in favor of lowering the penalties provided for the crime of embezzlement in the event that there is no personal enrichment. Also, this same Tuesday, the deputy spokesman and leader of IU, Enrique Santiagohas defended that, within the framework of the reform of the crime of sedition, it seems to him “quite convenient to adapt other criminal types” that are not properly adapted to the current reality.
PNV and EH Bildu They are not considering the proposal for the moment while waiting for it to come to fruition, but other partners of the Government, such as the deputy Joan Baldovíhas assured that this reform creates “problems” for him due to the risk that people convicted of corruption cases, such as those linked to the PP, may benefit.
For his part, from PDeCAT have advanced their willingness to examine embezzlement reform to benefit the leaders of the process and to distinguish between types of corruption. “There must be a different treatment in the penalty,” said his parliamentary spokesperson, Ferran Bel.