The Congress Table hangs by a thread, with rivalry between ERC and Junts

The election of the Board of the Congress of Deputies hangs by a thread.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 August 2023 Wednesday 04:20
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The Congress Table hangs by a thread, with rivalry between ERC and Junts

The election of the Board of the Congress of Deputies hangs by a thread. This Thursday, before the parliamentary session begins, Junts per Catalunya, Esquerra Republicana, the Basque Nationalist Party and the Canary Islands Coalition will announce their verdict. Nothing like it had ever happened. Agonizing start. Airs of repetition of the elections, depending on how the vote ends.

The two main leaders, Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo appeared before their deputies and senators. Sánchez, sure of himself, perhaps too much. He feels invincible and that may be a mirage. Feijóo, something off. He does not have them all with him and he does not feel comfortable in Madrid.

Everything hangs by a thread. Even if Sánchez obtained the investiture in a few months, the PSOE and Sumar could hardly govern for more than a year, having against the Congress Table, the absolute majority of the right in the Senate, three of the four main autonomies (Community of Madrid, Andalusia and the Valencian Community) aligned against the Executive, with parliamentary alliances almost impossible to weave (if they fail this Thursday), with most of the media system against it and the high magistracy entrenched in the headquarters of the General Council of the Judiciary , Marqués de la Ensenada street, number 8, Madrid 28004.

On the contrary, it is very difficult for Núñez Feijóo to win the investiture vote, if he obtains the King's order. His main problem is the alliance of the Popular Party with Vox, from the base to the heights. From the municipal and regional alliances, just sealed and signed, to the plan devised by Manfred Weber, president of the European People's Party, to set up a broad conservative bloc with segments of the continental extreme right after the decisive European Parliament elections scheduled for June from 2024. That alloy repels the PNV that has elections to the Basque Parliament next spring (shortly before the European ones), in tough competition with EH Bildu.

Agonizing start. Repeating the elections would become a sick constant of the Spanish political system, with the consequent demand to carry out a thorough modification of the electoral regime, intact since the Political Reform Law of November 1976.

The negotiation for the Table of Congress has ended up being a tactical exercise with three tracks. On the first track, the PSOE with Junts per Catalunya and ERC. In the second, the PSOE and the Basque-Canary Islands consortium (PNV and Canary Islands Coalition). In the third, the PP locked in a cage with Vox, sending emissaries to Bilbao and Morse messages to Waterloo.

On the first track, Junts has demanded gestures from the Socialist Party, "verifiable facts", in the words of Carles Puigdemont on Wednesday morning on the X network. The first socialist gesture has been to replace Meritxell Batet with Francina Armengol as candidate for the congressional presidency. Batet has suffered first degree burns in a very tough legislature. Armengol now appears as the figurehead of a PSOE that one day could sail to the port of Antwerp for a meeting in Waterloo.

There have been more gestures. Sánchez promised this Wednesday before his deputies and senators that he will work actively for the official recognition of the Catalan language (plus Basque and Galician) in the European Parliament. It is an old Catalan claim since the days of José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero. Every time this issue is raised, he runs into the Brussels bureaucracy. The words of the socialist general secretary were not banal. Recognition of Catalan in Brussels is one of the demands that Puigdemont has sent to Moncloa, according to La Vanguardia. The Junts leader wants Sánchez to activate his network of contacts in European politics to get that recognition. As a member of the European Parliament, Puigdemont wants to work hard on this goal. European elections in June 2024, in which Amer's favorite son will be a candidate again. Esquerra tries not to lose footing in this new dialectic. There is anxiety. There is jealousy. As of early Wednesday night, Armengol still did not have his support. ERC did not want to leave Puigdemont alone in the suspense narrative. Yolanda Díaz did not want to be left out of the photo either. The Sumar leader explained that she was actively participating in "high-level" negotiations, together with former deputy Jaume Asens, always well received in Waterloo.

On track number 2, the Basque-Canarian consortium has offered the PSOE the possibility of reaching 172 votes and winning over the right (171), if it allowed the PNV to enter the Table. It is the proposal advanced to this newspaper last Sunday by the president of the Government of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo Batlle. Bildu does not like that plan. Neither did the PSOE, until Wednesday afternoon. The Socialists do not want to lose control of the Table, giving up one of their positions to the PNV, which would become the balance of the balance. In the event of a tidal wave – a request from investigative commissions, for example – the PNV would decide. A senior leader of the Euzkadi Buru Batzar was in Madrid this Wednesday afternoon to try to get the negotiation back on track.

If there is no deal on clue 1 and no deal on clue 2, you can win clue 3 with Milei the lion inside the cage.