Unidos Podemos celebrates a month with the empty seat of Alberto Rodríguez in Congress | Spain


Alberto Rodríguez in the Congress of Deputies, last October.
Alberto Rodríguez in the Congress of Deputies, last October.Eduardo Parra – Europa Press (Europa Press)

A month can seem like an eternity in hasty Spanish politics. It is the time that the seat of the former United We can deputy Alberto Rodríguez fulfilled this Monday. Since last October 22, the President of Congress, Meritxell Batet, decided to withdraw his parliamentary act after the Supreme Court’s conviction for kicking a policeman in 2014, no one has yet wanted to take his place and no one dares to either predict how long the process will take. While the party leadership in Madrid advocates replacing the deputy and recovering all the votes of his group, the formation in the Canary Islands demands “respect for the times” of the following candidates on the list for Tenerife.

The matter, which at times seems to become entrenched, in any case bothers both parties. The crisis unleashed by Batet’s actions led Podemos to announce a lawsuit, which has not been filed, against the president of Congress. This strategy generated some problem in the parliamentary group and the members of the Government Yolanda Díaz and Alberto Garzón, or the common ones, later became unmarked. The episode worsened with the immediate departure of Rodríguez de Podemos and his subsequent statements in La Sexta suggesting that the party “could have done much more” for him. In addition, some of the calls to occupy his seat – the next on the list are women – avoid clarifying their position for now.

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Something has moved, if anything, this month, and although it took three weeks to do so, number two has given up replacing Rodríguez. Despite the fact that Fátima González Bello publicly stated her intention to reject the act on the same day that her name began to circulate, it was not until November 12 that the Central Electoral Board received the formal resignation of the former councilor in the La Laguna Town Hall. “It is very difficult for me to occupy the position of comrade Alberto in the current circumstances,” expressed the policy of Izquierda Unida, now withdrawn from institutional activity, through a message on social networks at the end of October. “We are facing a real democratic setback,” stated González, while expressing his solidarity with the former deputy. From there, according to IU sources, an “administrative problem” to formalize the resignation lengthened the procedure.

The moment the Electoral Board received González’s letter, it proceeded to issue the deputy credential of number three on the list, Patricia Mesa Mederos. To date, the candidate has not ruled in one sense or another about whether she is willing to take office, the party points out, although some sources assure that she is not for the job and that she could be number four, María del Cristo. González del Castillo, who does.

Sources of Podemos in the archipelago ask for “absolute respect for the times and the decision” of the Table and although they avoid positioning themselves on whether there is a consensual strategy to show their discomfort with Batet’s decision, its coordinator Laura Fuentes has shown in favor of not replacing Rodríguez. “The only way to feel represented would be to leave the seat empty. Justice has left us without a seat and for me that idea should prevail, but both forces will have to talk about it, “he said in an intervention on Canarian public radio a few weeks ago. At another time, he acknowledged that the formation was “in no hurry” to replace the deputy, as he also stated in a statement. “We believe that the situation deserves time, reflection and a cool head. Our militancy would not forgive us for simply turning the page and assuming this democratic outrage with normality precisely to the popular will of the Canary Islands ”, Fuentes declared.

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From Madrid, meanwhile, the party avoids pronouncing publicly. The idea, however, is that they do not see the complaint of the action against Alberto Rodríguez incompatible with covering his seat, since no one is left over to carry out the parliamentary work and face complex votes, such as the one that arises this week with the Budgets Generals of the State.

No maximum term to take possession

The Congress regulations do not stipulate any maximum term to collect the minutes, that is, the elected deputy could wait as long as he wanted to decide whether or not to take office. The Chamber’s rule only states that although the rights and prerogatives of the parliamentarian will be “effective from the moment the deputy is proclaimed elected”, if three plenary sessions are held without him acquiring his status as parliamentarian, “he will not have rights or prerogatives until such acquisition takes place ”. This in practice means that if the decision to take over the act is delayed, he will not collect his salary retroactively (since he was elected), but from the moment he takes office.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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