The permanent infighting of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos coalition

2 min
The first vice-president of the Spanish government, Carmen Calvo, and the second vice-president, Pablo Iglesias, at the Congress

BarcelonaTension between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, partners in "the most progressive government in history", has soared in the wake of the Pablo Hasél case. The protests are ideologically supported by Podemos, which has created a deep discomfort in members of the PSOE such as vice president Carmen Calvo, who does considers it "coherent". Here, in fact, two debates are intertwined. The first is whether a government force can be in favour of violent protests against the police commanded by a member of its own cabinet, in this case Fernando Grande-Marlaska. But the underlying issue is different: what is really important is that more than a year after putting the first coalition government of democracy into operation, the result is frankly disappointing, with two partners who are continually at each other's throats and putting on a pitiful show for the public.

Being in government involves a lot of work and some sacrifices. And the first is that the two partners (or whoever they are) have to be in solidarity with all government action. This has not been the case for some time in the Spanish government, which sometimes acts more like two parallel executives than as one. And this is so because the proposals are not negotiated beforehand between the two partners and then taken to Congress with an agreement, but rather they are leaked to the press beforehand in order to raise their profile and then accuse each other of disloyalty. This is more or less what is happening with the law on equality, the trans law or the housing law. The bickering between Pablo Iglesias and Nadia Calviño in the economic sphere is also constant, damaging Spain's image in Brussels.

We also witness how - although this is more understandable - the two parties act in an uncoordinated manner in Parliament and vote for different things, as they did with ERC's proposal for a referendum or in anything relating to the monarchy. The issue is that the image that is conveyed is terrible because, in the absence of an opposition worthy of the name, it is a government that is in opposition to itself. Both socialists and commons have criticised in sufficient quantity these days the bad relations between ERC and JxCat in the Government - and justly so - but before seeing to the speck in your neighbour's eye, you must first cast the beam out of your own.

In any case, the PSOE and Unidas Podemos would do well to recompose the relationship as soon as possible to be able to face not only the management of the pandemic, which is currently in the hands of the autonomous regions, but also the economic reconstruction with European funds and also the Catalan lawsuit. Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias would have to meet to delimit what is the bearable perimeter of the discrepancy between the two parties, and agree on what aspects it is essential that they go hand in hand. It is difficult because the PSOE is today a pillar of the system (which has the monarchy as its maximum exponent) and Podemos needs to overact so that its rupturist message is not diluted. They should be careful if they do not want to open the door to the triple right in the future.