Sánchez imposes his authority against Podemos after saving the budgets

Pedro Sánchez puts his foot down on the accelerator, once Congress approved last week the general state budget that guarantees the culmination of his mandate at the end of next year.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
29 November 2022 Tuesday 23:33
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Sánchez imposes his authority against Podemos after saving the budgets

Pedro Sánchez puts his foot down on the accelerator, once Congress approved last week the general state budget that guarantees the culmination of his mandate at the end of next year. "Another stage begins, we enter electoral mode and set our own profile," they celebrate in the PSOE.

The Council of Ministers that Sánchez presided over yesterday staged this change of slope "clearly", to stand up to the Popular Party and the far-right of Vox, in addition to the majority conservative sector of the Judiciary. At the same time, the president imposed his authority before Podemos within the coalition government. No more "tempering bagpipes", warn the Socialists, before the imminent and definitive new electoral cycle.

To begin with, Sánchez appointed the two magistrates of the Constitutional Court that he is responsible for proposing, fed up with the blockade that he attributes to the eight conservative members of the General Council of the Judiciary who keep the renewal of the maximum interpreter of the Magna Carta paralyzed. Two appointments, moreover, without contemplation: that of the former Minister of Justice and former PSOE deputy Juan Carlos Campo, who sealed the pardons for the independence leaders of the procés, and that of Laura Díez Bueso, until a few months ago general director of the Ministry of Presidency of Félix Bolaños and now vice-president of the Consell de Garanties Estatutàries de Catalunya, as new magistrates of the TC.

These appointments by Sánchez stand up to the PP and the conservative sector of the Judiciary, and they were not agreed upon with Podemos either, which considered them an "exercise in cynicism" after the veto of Victoria Rosell, which was the proposal that the purple formation wanted to impose on the renewal of the CGPJ, frustrated by the resignation in extremis of Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

The Council of Ministers also approved yesterday the draft law against Human Trafficking, after the umpteenth internal dispute between the PSOE and Podemos, which described some extremes of the final text as "insufficient". On the other hand, the Families law that the purple formation pressured to be able to approve yesterday will have to wait. The "observations" to this new norm that the socialist ministries raised prevented it from being incorporated into the agenda of the Council of Ministers. Ione Belarra, Minister of Social Rights and Secretary General of Podemos, described as "incomprehensible" the arguments used by the socialist wing of the Government to delay its approval.

Despite the fact that Pedro Sánchez himself emphasizes the political and economic stability provided by the new budgets, which are still being processed in the Senate, the government coalition between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos once again threatens to break its seams. To the internal divisions due to the Trafficking and Families law, we must add the highly controversial trans law, and the controversies about the future Housing legislation or the partial repeal of the gag law and the pension reform have yet to be resolved. ...

The undesired consequences of the application by some judges of the Law on Sexual Freedom, the star rule of the Ministry of Equality of Irene Montero, invite Sánchez to tread carefully. But, at the same time, the imminence of the new electoral cycle advises him to speed up to clear up as much as possible the panorama of conflicting issues for the electoral interests of the PSOE, every time the trans law creates more controversy between different sectors of socialism than within the confluences of United We Can.

Up to three socialist ministers appeared yesterday at Moncloa to justify the decisions taken. The head of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, defended the "absolute suitability" of former Minister Campo for the TC and argued that "it is not a judicial body." In addition, he assumed that the TC will not veto his appointment, since he warned that he only has to prove that he meets the requirements. The Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, assured for her part that the Trafficking law is "the result of interdepartmental consensus" between ministries of the PSOE and Podemos. And the spokesperson for the Executive, Isabel Rodríguez, minimized the tensions in the coalition, stressing that what is important is not the previous debates on the laws, but their final result.

“And this government has 174 legislative initiatives approved. Not a single vote has been lost. That is where you have to see the true state of health of the coalition ”, they settle in Moncloa.

From United We Can, the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz –on a trip to Mexico–, protested the amendments introduced by the socialist group to the trans law. Despite the surprise expressed by Belarra for the paralysis of the Family Law at the last moment, there is no burning issue in this regard that confronts the partners of the Government, after the discussions on the scope of paid leave for cohabiting care . The socialist group's own spokesman, Patxi López, assured that the socialist calendar maintained the forecast that it would be approved, including the trans law, before the end of the current session – that is, before Christmas – and he was convinced that there would be an agreement with the investiture majority groups.

In the United Podemos parliamentary group, on the other hand, they are “concerned”. The expression was repeatedly repeated by the spokesman, Pablo Echenique. But they agree with the socialist sources in the evident electoral purpose of the coup on the table given yesterday by Pedro Sánchez.

Nobody sees the coalition government in trouble, but it has not gone unnoticed that two of the laws that the president has thrown water at – the Trans and Families law – are the figurehead of the portfolios led by the ministers of Podemos, Irene Montero – to which his formation organized a public act of reparation on Saturday that included the participation, among others, of the former socialist Carla Antonelli, a staunch defender of the trans law, and the former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – and Ione Belarra.

Meanwhile, another law in the department of Belarra, that of animal protection, which Patxi López also predicted would be approved before the holidays, is equally blocked. Yesterday his ministry denounced that the PSOE refused to withdraw the amendment that leaves hunting dogs unprotected, an amendment that the Socialists launched to attend to the electoral interests of the president of Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García Page. Precisely as a message to Page and the rest of the barons who oppose the elimination of the crime of sedition, Campo's proposal for the TC was read yesterday. Sánchez's gesture of strength also reverberates within his own party.