Politics 12/05/2021

Sánchez urges ERC to consider a "left-wing government" led by PSC

Spanish government sources, however, admit that they are not afraid of a repeat election because they believe they would obtain better results

4 min
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, during the session of control of the Congress.

MadridThe total deadlock in negotiations between ERC and Junts per Catalunya , with the threat of an electoral repetition, is already felt in Madrid. It would mean the third elections in 2021 at a time when the Spanish government wanted stability to push forward reforms to overcome the coronavirus crisis. But at the same time a new call to the polls could take away the bad aftertaste of the Madrid elections with a new victory for Catalan Socialists' Party (PSC) - on 14-F it was tied in seats with the Republicans but won in votes - and some predictably bad results for Pablo Casado's PP, full of hype after the Madrid elections.

The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, has urged Catalan parties on Wednesday, during the control session in the Spanish Parliament, to form a government as soon as possible and avoid a new appointment at the polls, although sources in the Moncloa privately admit that a new call for elections would not be bad for them because the polls forecast they would obtain better results. In response to a question by ERC spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Gabriel Rufian, on what plans the Spanish government has for the remainder of the legislature, Sánchez has assured that his desire is that "there is a government the sooner the better in Catalonia" to be able to "recover the territorial dialogue so necessary for the country"

Again, the Spanish president has made clear what his preference is, even if the numbers don't quite add up: a government led by the Catalan Socialists. But now he has called on ERC to consider the possibility of a "left-wing government" led by the Catalan socialists, which could include other parties such as the comuns or the Republicans themselves. "At this point, perhaps in Catalonia we could think of a left-wing government led by [the party] that won the elections, which is the PSC," Sánchez concluded after reproaching Rufián that perhaps he is already campaigning from the floor. And the fact is that the Republican spokesman has launched different attacks on Junts per Catalunya putting in the same bag as "the Spanish far right and the Catalan pro-independence right" for having called ERC "philo-socialist".

"What you don't understand is that we want to dialogue and do politics with you. We are not the same as you, but we want to dialogue and make policy with you because we do not believe in you, but in the historical moment which we are all living through," said Rufian, who has warned Sánchez that in Madrid "the left to the [Socialists'] left won" and that it is necessary that the Socialists "take note", because "what [Sánchez] does not do now, he will not do with a government of the PP and Vox, and if not ask Zapatero". What's more, he reminded the Spanish president that he can no longer count on Ciudadanos and that is why he has to make a move on Catalonia.

Moncloa sources celebrate that Rufián has recognised "finally" that "they govern with the right being a left-wing party", and consider that this is already a first step, while they trust that "they take note" and allow a "deep debate on democracy" and "at least call to govern who has won the elections". Meanwhile, the Spanish executive continues to criticise JxCat's speech as usual in each control session. On this occasion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, has accused JxCat of wanting an "increasingly smaller" Catalonia. "From half plus 1 they have gone to a quarter plus 1", she replied to the deputy Mariona Illamola, who criticised the Spanish executive for their "Turkish way" of dealing with the Independence movement.

Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Casado, face to face in the Spanish Parliament.

Rifirrafe between Sanchez and Casado

Rufian's reference was not the first time that former Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been mentioned during the control session on Wednesday in Congress, the first after three weeks for the hiatus of the Madrid elections. As usual, the face-off between Sánchez and Casado has been bitter, focused on the poor results of the Socialists and the debate on whether a legal amendment is needed after the state of alarm.

While the PP pushes for a plan B, the Spanish government maintains that the autonomous communities already have enough tools and encourage them to squeeze all options other than the restriction of fundamental rights. And, if they do, to appeal to the Supreme Court, which no regional government has yet done despite the fact that different High Courts of Justice - in the Basque Country, Navarre and the Canary Islands - have overturned the respective curfews considering them disproportionate.

"I look at him, I listen to him carefully and I think that history repeats itself: he is getting Albert Rivera's face," Sánchez has said amid laughter from the Socialist bench to Casado, whom he has reproached for wanting a new appointment at the polls - despite the fact that the PP has not formally requested a new general election. In this sense, the Spanish president has insisted that Spain needs "political stability" and that the "remaining 32 months of legislature will be completed, in addition to vaccination and vaccination and vaccination". That is why he has once again proclaimed that "the state of alarm is the past and we must look to the future" with an "economic recovery that we are beginning to see in data".

"You are getting Zapatero's face," the head of the opposition has immediately replied, on the green shoots that the Moncloa is promising, and has reproached him for now talking about "political stability" after initially coming to power through a motion of censure. "You are a lame duckling, stop burying your head in the ground like an ostrich because your obstinacy costs lives," he concluded.