That the end of bipartisanship between PSOE and PP has been over for years is evidence. The irruption of Podemos, after Cs and a little later of Vox, fragmented the correlation of political forces like never before. With few exceptions, and despite the nostalgia that it causes Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the stages of absolute or comfortable majorities are over. The stability of the bipartisanship was sustained in a sustained dynamic: the two main parties had historically agreed on matters of State, with more or less problems.
But today the challenge of the Constitutional Court (TC) and the maneuvers of the right have greatly uncovered the fragility of the relations between socialists and popular. That is to say, one’s own bipartisanship per se. During the entire legislature, practically no significant pact has been made between the two main parties with the exception, for example, of the renewal of the State Pact against gender violence, to which all the forces except Vox joined. Not even with the pandemic did the popular support the government, quite the opposite.
PSOE and PP have experienced the last few months of maximum tension. Especially after the decision of Alberto Núñez Feijóo to break the negotiations to renew the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) last October. The popular excused themselves this time in the sedition reform for not addressing an issue that has been close to agreeing on several occasions since the Pablo Casado stage. What’s more, Feijóo arrived in Genoa with closing this crisis as his main objective and not only has he not achieved it, but it has worsened.
The Government of Sanchez I had some hope that the “moderate” profile with which Feijóo was sold facilitated the renewal of the body of the judiciary, entrenched for too long. In fact, at their first meeting, back in April, the only decision they made was to “resume talks” to renew the CGPJ. It wasn’t until October, six months later, that the negotiations really got serious.
Since then, everything has blown up. In June the Government made a move to start part of the renewal of the TC. He introduced a law through which he could appoint his two magistrates to this body, and the CGPJ to theirs despite being in office and with their mandate expired. The conservative members revealed themselves and decided not to undertake this renewal despite the fact that the legal term for it ended on September 13.
The next steps were to appoint Juan Carlos Campo and Laura Díez as magistrates of the TC. The president of the TC has so far refused to convene the plenary session to make the appointment. To finish off the year, the amendments introduced by the PSOE with the aim of changing the majorities in the CGPJ to elect its members of the TC have ended with an unprecedented decision, that of preventing a vote in the Senate. Moncloa has a plan B in the form of a bill.
“They’ve gone too far.” It is the message that Pedro Sánchez himself has transmitted these days. The Socialists remember that agreeing with this PP is an impossible mission because they do not even grant legitimacy to the Sánchez government or as a parliamentary majority. The president has been very direct in his criticism of the popular. He has accused them of a “plot”, of “wanting to silence the Cortes Generales” and of not accepting the electoral results.
The PP and the ‘original sin’
No less direct has been Feijóo, who calls for early elections because, according to him, the Government is not legitimized to carry out the reform of the Penal Code that it has proposed. Genoa moves on a very fine line: the Government is legitimate but it does not have the legitimacy to carry out far-reaching reforms that were not in Sánchez’s electoral program. That is, the repeal of sedition and the modification of the crime of embezzlement, the last excuse for not doing what the bipartisanship had been doing with the Judiciary: renew it.
The PP, before with Casado and now with Feijóo, has four years conditioning the pact with the PSOE for the CGPJ to various issues. All of them with the intention of interfering in the government’s legislative agenda. What in 2019 was a blockade has become an unprecedented institutional crisis for which Feijóo only has one way out: early elections.
As for the Government’s bill to overcome the obstacles of the PP, Genoa will also be vigilant. Sources from Feijóo’s team assure Public that, as is evident, they will wait to see the text but if it is raised in the same terms as the two amendments that the TC has stopped, they do not rule out going to Europe. They maintain that it is a process without guarantees.
Buried the grand coalition
Gone are the beginnings of the legislature, where the socialists said they were betting on the “variable geometry” to approve left and right measurements. The echoes of a hypothetical grand coalition between PSOE and PP seem buried and Moncloa is puffing up the stability and legislative torrent launched by the first coalition government in history.
At the electoral level, although bipartisanship has shown signs of recovery, especially due to the virtual disappearance of Cs, the comparison with other times is clear. If after the 2021 elections the sum of PSOE and PP deputies was 296, in 2015 it went to 213. It fell even further, to 189, in April 2019. After the electoral repetition of that month of November, the current figure, 209. Sánchez valued, after the approval of his latest General State Budgets (PGE), the “policy of understanding”, with the support of 10 parties to public accounts.
Moncloa’s commitment to direct confrontation with Feijóo and the PP model seems clear and the election year will test some of the latest events and decisions. In the judicial battle undertaken at the end of the year, and not yet closed, both parties are declared winners.