Centre stage for Spain’s political bit-part actors

Centre stage for Spain’s political bit-players

CATALAN SPEAKER: Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo criticised Gabriel Rufian’s command of Catalan Photo credit: Flickr/Fundacion Cajasol

THE previous days have been heavy with parliamentary drama from the big names, but there were roles for bit part actors too.

We could start with Oscar Puente, a newly-elected PSOE MP and Valladolid mayor until May’s municipal elections.

His was hardly a bit part, as Puente was chosen to respond to the Partido Popular’s presidential candidate Alberto Nuñez Feijoo after he set out his proposals and plans during his investiture speech on September 26.  He did so very forcefully to loud applause from the PSOE benches and protests from both the PP and Vox.

Puente subsequently suffered for his shield-bearer role on September 29 while boarding the AVE in Valladolid, on his way to Feijoo’s second investiture vote in Madrid.  He was prevented from reaching his seat as another passenger repeatedly asked him how he felt about Carles Puigdemont, Cataluña’s pro-independence ex-president who stands to benefit from the much-discussed but still hypothetical amnesty that his party, Junts per Catalunya, hopes to obtain from a future PSOE government.

The police were called, statements taken, and the AVE left Valladolid 22 minutes late.  According to Puente he was accosted by the same man, a psychologist named Lucas Burgueño, when the train reached Atocha station in Madrid.

Small beer for the man Pablo Iglesias – founder of the Podemos party who is no longer in frontline politics but still finds plenty to say – called “a thug”.  “Macarra”, the word Iglesias used, also means a pimp although it’s doubtful that this is what Iglesias meant.

Meanwhile, there was another moment in Feijoo’s September 29 vote when an MP said the wrong thing.  Junts MP Eduard Pujol said “Si” on hearing his name called.  He then said No but when the Speaker announced the votes, Pujol’s vote was declared null to the PP’s indignation.

Herminio Sancho Rufino (PSOE) was allowed to rectify during the September 26 vote when he apparently said yes, although he explained in time that he was not saying Si but correcting his name.  As this was wrongly read out as Sanchez, he was allowed to change his vote.

Pujol was not and the Speaker instead classed it as null, prompting PP sources to complain that Armengol’s decisions were always weighted against the candidate’s party.

Less of a bit part than a prop were the headphones that provided the simultaneous translations for the co-official languages – Catalan, Euskera and Gallego – which can now be used during debates in the parliament chamber.  There are also two huge television displays with subtitles.

The MPs from the PP have made it clear that they have no intention of using either, although those from Cataluña, the Basque Region and Galicia probably won’t need them anyway.

They include Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo, a PP hardliner representing Barcelona whose Catalan is clearly good enough to criticise that of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya’s Gabriel Rufian.

“Unforeseen technical problem: Rufian needs translating into Catalan” she Tweeted afterwards.

Feijoo, who is bilingual in Spanish and Gallego, was reproached by Sumar’s spokeswoman Marta Lois who – like the party’s founder Yolanda Diaz – is also Galician.

“I haven’t heard one word in Gallego from you in the parliament chamber,” she complained on the second day of Feijoo’s investiture bid.

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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 editorial@euroweeklynews.com.