Socialists keep control of the Mesa del Congreso

Socialists keep control of the Mesa del Congreso

AUGUST 17: MPs in Spain’s national parliament cast their votes for Speaker Photo credit: Alejandro Soler Mur

FRANCINA ARMENGOL, former president of Baleares, was elected Speaker of the Spanish parliament on the morning of August 17.

The cliffhanger lived up to its name because the PSOE candidate needed seven votes from the playing-hard-to-get Catalan separatist party, Junts per Cataluny, if she were to defeat the Partido Popular’s Cuca Gamarra.

The session began at 10am and Junts announced minutes before 9am that it intended to support the PSOE candidate.

As well as 121 PSOE votes, Armengol received 31 from Sumar, seven from Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), six from EH Bildu, five from the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV) and one from the Partido Nacionalista de Galicia (PNG).  Added together the 178 votes gave Armengol an overall majority in the first round.

Her rival Cuca Gamarra received 137 votes from her own party and one apiece from Union del Pueblo Navarro (UPN) and Coalicion Canaria (CC).

Vox was responsible for biggest surprise as the PP’s ally in countless town and city halls as well as regional governments, voted for its own candidate Ignacio Gil Lazaro.

The turnaround came because the PP revealed beforehand that it would not support Vox candidates for any of the Mesa’s four vice-presidencies and four secretaries should Cuca Gamarra have won the vote.

In the event the disagreement was irrelevant, given Armengol’s 178 votes, although the PP-Vox standoff is symptomatic of the increasing distance between two parties which were such close allies before the July 23 general election.

Armengol now heads Spain’s third most-important body after King Felipe and the president of the government.

The Mesa, literally the Parliament Table organises the day-to-day work of the parliament, admitting or rejecting party initiatives and deciding the agenda with the parliamentary parties’ spokespeople.

The assembled MPs have now elected Alfonso Rodriguez Gomez de Celis (PSOE) as first vice-president.  The PP’s Jose Antonio Bermudez de Castro and Marta Gonzalez occupy the second and fourth vice-presidencies, with Esther Gil (Sumar) named third vice-president.

Gerardo Pisarello (Sumar), Isaura Leal (PSOE), Guillermo Mariscal (PP) and Carmen Navarro (PP) are the new Mesa’s respective first, second, third and fourth secretaries.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at