Yolanda Díaz and Félix Bolaños, united before the abyss | Spain

Yolanda Díaz talks with Félix Bolaños, in Congress, last Wednesday.
Yolanda Díaz talks with Félix Bolaños, in Congress, last Wednesday.Louis Sevillano

It is not easy to guess the degree of anxiety endured last Thursday by the political leaders of the parties, their parliamentary leaderships and their deputies and senators. Not only in Madrid there were tachycardias. The vote in the lower house of the labor reform caused temporary panic in Catalonia and the Basque Country, although not so in Navarra. The disobedience of the two UPN deputies, by voting against the new labor legislation, compared to what the leadership of the Navarrese party had agreed with the central government, keeps the serious internal conflict in full swing. “I thought I was dealing with decent people,” lamented the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, who spoke with the UPN leader, Javier Esparza. The president of the Navarrese party has apologized to the PSOE and has obtained the support of his party for the expulsion of Carlos García Adanero and Sergio Sayas. His will to hide, by not revealing the meaning of his vote, feeds the thesis of the parties, including his, that some political force of the right-wing bloc was aware of his disobedience. Impossible to prove, for now.

The consequence, that is verified, is that they will use the constitutional doctrine to keep their seat and ignore the UPN’s demand that they leave and run the list. In their positions would go a deputy from the PP and another from Cs, since the three parties concurred in the Navarra Suma candidacy.

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Before the uproar of the vote, when it seemed that there would be no problem with the support of UPN, it was concluded in socialist sectors, also from United We Can and of course from ERC, that Yolanda Díaz came out weakened. She did not take into account her resounding success in signing the pact on labor reform with unions and businessmen. The Second Vice President and Minister of Labor was burdened with the disgrace of not having been able to convince ERC, PNV and Bildu to vote for a balanced norm for social agents.

The PNV did negotiate substantive issues. ERC, no, according to the story of socialists, Diaz and United We Can. His determination to focus exclusively on the pro-independence left and the PNV, and not open the door to Cs and others, such as UPN, was what stood out the most in the run-up to the parliamentary session. Others opened those doors: the Socialist Minister of the Presidency and Relations with the Courts, Félix Bolaños, and the Secretary of Organization of the PSOE, Santos Cerdán. It did not go well due to the betrayal of the pact by the two Navarrese parliamentarians. A fiasco that reminded the PSOE of the failed motion of censure in Murcia for the turncoat of Ciudadanos, behind Inés Arrimadas. In the labor reform, Cs stuck to what was agreed and not with whom.

For the political history of this agitated legislature, it remains that the reform came about due to the pure and simple human error of a PP deputy. Yolanda Díaz was not successful in her eagerness to get the ERC votes, and the Navarrese operation went wrong for Bolaños.

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What happened in the vote on Thursday will have consequences in several directions. Más País, Compromís, Canarian Coalition, Nueva Canarias, Teruel Exists and the PRC can join, it is not a novelty, in coalition government projects. The position of ERC and Bildu encourages mistrust. In the Government it is taken for granted that what happened anticipates the electoral battle in Catalonia, that of ERC against United We Can / En Comú Podem, with Yolanda Díaz as a national and electoral reference.

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Nor does Bildu benefit from an enhancement of Podemos in the Basque Country, reactivated by Yolanda Díaz. The CUP and the BNG can be placed on the same political wave, although these parties, like Bildu, rejected the text from the outset, considering it almost the same as the current law, approved by the PP. “Let it go ahead, but not with my vote.” This was the critical and angry summary of members of the Government about the closed attitude of the nationalist left; in addition to references “to the purity of a certain left”.

The world does not end, said the ERC spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, in the hectic parliamentary session, in which the overwhelm in the Republican and Peneuvista ranks was appreciated. In the Government they wonder aloud if this episode will lead both ERC and Bildu to reflect on the consequences of all or nothing.

After hours, there have been reflections that indicate that the coalition partners will be by his side most of the time. The alternative, if there were an electoral advance due to the continuous blockade, would be a possible government of the PP and Vox, which may come, but why advance it, point out the sources consulted. It is better to recognize that they are “chained partners” to the PSOE and United We Can, according to different interlocutors. Of course, Pedro Sánchez is not going to give up accepting the hand that Ciudadanos can offer him in projects of great relevance. This is the attitude maintained by the unions on the eve of the vote, according to EL PAÍS union sources. “For us, as if all the deputies voted for us.”

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Of the few certainties, he also highlights the difficulties that the conservative opposition is going to put to the president of Congress, Meritxell Batet. Regarding this episode, she maintains the legal and regulatory criterion that she acted as she should by not allowing the PP deputy to rectify her error with a new vote.

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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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