After hard months of tension – inside and outside the Congress of Deputies – and a lack of understanding between the main parties, Felipe VI’s Christmas speech has served to bring them to an agreement. Both popular and socialists defended (mostly via Twitter) the king’s Christmas address for understanding, the former, that valued constitutional principles and, the latter, for the proper diagnosis of the problems he is currently facing Spanish society and the way of dealing with them, which Citizens described as “optimistic”.
On the other hand, the political formations to the left of the PSOE and the nationalists have disfigured the head of State who did not make an explicit reference to the situation of the emeritus king, who returns to spend the holidays outside of Spain, after leaving the country in August of 2020 besieged by news about alleged irregularities linked to his fortune abroad.
King Felipe VI appealed for “individual and collective responsibility” to face the Covid and called for “understanding and collaboration” in the institutions. The head of the opposition, Pablo Casado, highlighted the defense of the Constitution of the Monarch and insisted that the strength of the institutions “is key to the future challenges of Spain.” And in the PSOE, its president Cristina Narbona, valued his speech and pointed out that, in the opinion of his party, he was right “both in the diagnosis of the problems and in the way to react to them.”
In a message released by the PSOE, Senator Narbona also highlighted that Felipe VI addressed in his speech the main problems that affect Spaniards and that have to do with “their health, safety, employment and well-being” and highlighted who showed “all his empathy and solidarity.” Likewise, he has emphasized the monarch’s appeal to all institutions to be exemplary in the exercise of their functions to “increase the confidence of citizens” in them, and has picked up the need for “respect”, “dialogue “And the” collaboration “between all public bodies” to reach the major agreements that are required at a time of enormous transformation. “
Precisely that reference in the king’s speech to the integrity of the institutions is the one that has provoked the most criticism in the parties to the left of the PSOE and by the nationalists. In different ways and through various spokesmen, they highlighted that it is precisely the alleged corruption that surrounds the emeritus king Juan Carlos I that now questions the integrity of the royal house.
Thus, Pablo Echenique has affirmed that the Monarch “chose a small room, but the elephant in it is giant”. The parliamentary spokesman for United We Can lamented the absence of “self-criticism” and of references to the king emeritus, who has lived in Abu Dhabi since his departure from Spain. “Felipe VI talks about all the issues, except one: the Monarchy,” he wrote in a tweet.
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The King highlights in his Christmas Message his memory of the Spanish suffering from the pandemic and economic crisis, and defends the Constitution as a main beam that deserves recognition, respect and loyalty. The strength of the institutions is key to the future challenges of Spain.
– Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) December 24, 2021
The PNV spokesman in Congress, Aitor Esteban, has affirmed that in order to have “credibility” when he speaks of “public and moral integrity”, the King would have to say that the inviolability of the Crown “can be modified in the Constitution.” And he criticized the speech for being very similar to that of previous years and passing “on tiptoe” by the issue of “institutional responsibility”, the problem that most afflicts the royal institution due to the circumstances of the king emeritus and the investigation that on the management of their accounts are carried out by the Spanish courts.
For his part, the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has vindicated this Saturday his republican values and his defense of the “cause of freedom and progress”, against the “empty speech” of Felipe VI. Of the King’s speech, he said in the traditional offering to the tomb of former president Francesc Macià, on the 88th anniversary of his death, “we expected very little and he has contributed very little.”
Ayuso with Married
Along the same lines as Pablo Casado, and despite his recent and multiple disagreements, the popular Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, has taken up a phrase from Felipe VI’s speech in which he emphasizes that the Constitution “has been and it is the main beam “that has favored progress and sustained democratic coexistence in the face of crises.” His party colleague and mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has also underlined the “respect, recognition and loyalty to the Constitution.”
Also the president of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, has assured to share “fully” the “hopeful” message of the King, at a time when Spain is going through “great difficulties and has enormous challenges ahead” and joins the option of “fleeing pessimism and conformity ”.
In the same sense, the parliamentary spokesman for Citizens in Congress, Edmundo Bal, celebrated this Saturday the “optimism” of the traditional Christmas message of Felipe VI and highlighted his reference to unity and harmony in the face of “confrontation” and ” the tension ”. In addition, he has criticized the reactions of the independentistas to that speech and has warned the Chief Executive, Pedro Sánchez, that “attacking” the head of state is a way of “attacking Spain.”
Spain is going through a time of great difficulties and has enormous challenges ahead, but we must flee from pessimism and conformism. We have to turn the crossroads into an opportunity and win the future together. I fully share this hopeful #KingSpeech 🇪🇸
– Inés Arrimadas (@InesArrimadas) December 24, 2021
For their part, the territorial barons of the Popular Party have agreed to value Felipe VI’s speech, highlighting his commitment to the Constitution and moral integrity, as well as that he “embraces consensus.”
For the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, it is again an “exemplary speech. Closeness to the Spanish in the face of the pandemic. Committed to the Constitution and its integrating values. Of institutional exemplarity and trust in the country for reconstruction ”. “Your Majesty, count on Galicia,” he stated in a message on his official Twitter account.
Also the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, has pointed out that Felipe VI “always” is at the side of the citizens. “In the difficulty and hope, it is comforting to have a benchmark nearby like His Majesty King Felipe VI who embraces the consensus,” he stressed, to recall that this year the Andalusians have proudly awarded him the Medal of Honor of Andalusia.
From Murcia, the president of the region, Fernando López Miras, also wanted to highlight the defense of the Constitution “as a fundamental instrument for the progress of Spain and democratic coexistence, especially in the most difficult moments.” The president of the Balearic PP, Marga Prohens, applauded the King for “a realistic speech, from empathy and connected to the street.”
And the president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, has acknowledged that he shares with the King that they cannot be carried away “by pessimism, not falling into conformism”, after he said that they must react, assume the transformations and adapt to the change, being clear about the objectives and priorities as a country. “In Castilla y León we are committed to this future of illusion,” said Mañueco through Twitter, precisely the week in which he announced that there will be early elections on February 13 in that autonomous community after the break with Ciudadanos.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the future is not the place for a Monarchy,” says Lilith Verstrynge. For the Secretary of the Podemos Organization, the King’s message has been “a sign of the new democratic consensus” and “a recognition of the advancement of republican values.” In the same sense, the state co-spokesperson of Podemos, Isa Serra, has criticized that the King has not mentioned in his Christmas message the king emeritus and his “serious corruption scandals” despite having pointed to the need for “moral integrity and public ”of the institutions.
“Be careful because he is not asking for the vote,” writes Gabriel Rufián, spokesman for ERC in Congress, in a tweet. And the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, has criticized Felipe VI’s speech stating that “he renounces being part of the conflict solution, he continues to be part of the conflict”, because he does not recognize, the independence leader points out, the diversity of the State .