By Linda Hall • 22 August 2023 • 15:19
IGNACIO GARRIGA: Vox secretary general wants PP to explain Mesa del Congreso ‘slight.’
Photo credit: Vox España
BOTH of Spain’s presidential candidates want the keys to the Moncloa Palace.
Pedro Sanchez hopes to hold on to them and Alberto Nuñez Feijoo wants to add them to his keyring but both need to know what they can expect from other parties before they can achieve their goal.
The Partido Popular (PP) has until now been able to count on Vox but relations have soured since the night of the July 23 general election.
Against practically all predictions, they failed to win enough seats for an overall majority in the national parliament although between them they had more seats than the PSOE and their natural allies Sumar.
Their May 28 triumph in the regional and local elections apparently gave a hint of things to come after the two parties took over 140 municipalities as well as regional governments.
Lack of enthusiasm for some of the Vox-induced measures introduced municipally and regionally could have been behind the loss of 19 Vox seats in the regional parliament on July 23.
If all was not sweetness and light after the general election, clouds loomed on the horizon after Feijoo refused to cede one of the party’s seats on the all-important Mesa del Congreso (Parliamentary Table). In retaliation, Vox did not vote for Cuca Gamarra, the PP’s candidate for Speaker.
On August 21 and 22, Spain’s head of state, King Felipe, has spoken to the leaders of parties represented in the national parliament and it’s up to him nominate one of them for an investiture.
Until now it was a foregone conclusion that despite the Speaker falling-out on August 17, Vox would still back any attempt by Feijoo to form a government.
But Vox remains unhappy about being kept off the Mesa and the party’s secretary general Ignacio Garriga wants an explanation for what is seen as a slight.
In theory, the PSOE socialists and Sumar, a coalition of small parties further to its Left, appear to have less going for them than the PP-Vox alliance. In practice, as he did with the Speaker vote, Sanchez will call on the nationalist parties in the Basque Region, Cataluña and Galicia if he attempts to form a government.
Their assistance is likely but not guaranteed and according to the national daily ABC on August 22, Sanchez cannot automatically count on the Basque PNV. What’s more, he already knows that the seven votes Francina Armengol received from the separatist party Junts per Catalunya will only be forthcoming in exchange for huge concessions.
These include a pardon for the party’s founder Carles Puigdemont, Cataluña’s regional president who fled Spain after a farcical Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
That puts Junts and Puigdemont in a powerful, king-making position. But not that powerful.
If PSOE refuses to accede to their demands and the presidency eludes both Feijoo and Sanchez there will be another election, in which Junts and pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya could lose even more support than they lost on July 23.
In another election, voters can look forward to a PSOE government propped up by the nationalist parties or a PP government propped up by Vox.
In the latter case, and even if Abascal keeps his earlier promise about wanting nothing in return for the party’s investiture votes, Cataluña can look forward to a rougher and more uncomfortable ride than it has had in five years of Sanchez’s derided “Frankenstein government.”
Junts and Puigdemont could even discover that their strong position is weaker than they realise, with a second election bringing less bargaining than before.
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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?
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