The PP does not want truces in Parliament. He did it during the summer holidays and has repeated it now: demand that Congress “open” during January, a non-business month for ordinary purposes in the House. “Spain is not there for the Government to go on vacation”, tweet on sunday the president of the PP, Pablo Casado, shortly before announcing that he was putting himself in quarantine after testing positive for covid. The Executive replies that the Chamber, even outside the session, will not be paralyzed and that this month the work of three laws will be accelerated, in addition to holding an extraordinary plenary session in order to validate the last decree with aid to the island of La Palma . “[Casado] He must not be aware of parliamentary activity, ”the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, ironized on Monday.
Every time a holiday period arrives, the PP launches the same discourse: the Government goes on vacation while serious problems beset the Spaniards. The script of last August is now repeated in January, another month excluded from the sessions of Congress. “That it is so is not a whim of the Government, nor of the direction of the Chamber, says the Constitution,” underlines the Secretary of State for Relations with the Courts, Rafael Simancas. Article 73 of the Basic Law establishes that there will be two ordinary periods of sessions, from February to June and from September to December. “But that does not mean that Congress is closed,” warns Simancas.
Before the end of the year, the Executive had already addressed the presidency of the Chamber to request that some activities be activated in an extraordinary way in January. The legislative production is one of the stamps that the Government exhibits and now it hopes to give it a push, starting next week, with the work in commission on the projects of sexual freedom, equal treatment – the one baptized as zerolo law– and the one that will suppress the requested vote for residents abroad. A subcommittee chaired by the deputy of Más País Íñigo Errejón has also been convened for the 18th with the purpose of preparing a report on the independent bodies associated with the Administration, much contested by the right wing, which considers it an attempt at government interference. The Government also claims that three ministers, those of Culture, Education and Science, will appear this month in the Senate.
With these data, the socialist part of the Executive responds to Casado’s attacks and accuses him of ignoring the parliamentary functioning. “Either that or it is that it is as always with a confrontational policy in which it wants to give the impression that the members of the Government are not at the foot of the gun,” defended María Jesús Montero in statements in Seville.
The PP has also taken the initiative to force a debate in the Permanent Council of the Chamber. The popular have presented three requests for this body, the highest decision of Congress outside of sessions, to demand explanations from the Government on the management of European funds, the measures to face the sixth wave of the pandemic and the rampant inflation. The popular accuse President Pedro Sánchez of not acting in the face of the great explosion of infections in recent weeks. “We have the fastest virus in history and we have the President of the Government faster to refer, to wash his hands with this matter, to the autonomous communities,” declared the PP spokesman in the Senate, Javier Maroto in Segovia.
Among the other opposition groups, Ciudadanos also requested the appearance of the Vice President of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, on Monday to explain the Government’s opposition to the European Commission’s proposal to include nuclear energy among those classified as green.
What affects the most is what happens closer. To not miss anything, subscribe.
The Executive itself needs to activate Congress before the end of January to hold an extraordinary plenary session, since it has five decree laws pending validation and at least one of them, the one that sets aid for those affected by the La Palma volcano, must be approved this month. The disaster on the Canary Island has not been left out of the broad opposition orbit of the PP either. Maroto thus defined Sánchez’s performance on La Palma: “A lot of photo, a lot of travel, zero euros”.
Among those five pending decrees, there are two that have aroused criticism among the Government’s usual allies: the one that imposes the use of masks in the street and the labor reform agreed with unions and employers. The latter will require a great negotiating effort from the PSOE and United We Can, especially with their two main partners, ERC and PNV, who demand changes in the text. The Executive’s forecast is to stretch the legal deadlines to the maximum – one month, discounting Sundays and holidays, from the publication in the BOE – and not submit the decree for endorsement by the Chamber until the first ordinary plenary session, already at the beginning of February.
To show that the opposition does not stop in Congress, the PP has just registered a bill in order to create a body of High Educational Inspection and give it a main mission: “To guarantee that students can receive instruction in the official language of the State, they reside where they reside, in accordance with the provisions in force ”. These inspectors would also be in charge of ensuring “ideological neutrality” in the classrooms and that the educational curricula, textbooks and didactic material of each autonomous community conform “to the provisions of the state regulation.”
The opposition strategy of the PP generates a permanent debate in the party, to which the FAES joined on Monday. In an editorial, the foundation chaired by José María Aznar advocates an opposition with a “proactive component” to build “an alternative that focuses its project on a national proposal.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.