Sánchez looks to cut off any shadow of corruption with Ábalos in the target

"Not a euro cent".

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 February 2024 Sunday 10:30
6 Reads
Sánchez looks to cut off any shadow of corruption with Ábalos in the target

"Not a euro cent". It is the value that was unanimously granted, as Pedro Sánchez usually remembers, to the survival of the first coalition government between the PSOE and Unides Podemos, which formed in January 2020, after winning the investiture by a narrow simple majority. But, as the president himself always remembers, that executive, despite being in the hands of an ERC that a year earlier dynamited its first mandate after the motion of censure, enjoyed great stability, when it managed to approve three consecutive general State budgets and more than 200 laws.

Sánchez is now celebrating the first hundred days since the last investiture, in November 2023, this time with a coalition Government between the PSOE and Sumar, and with a mandate that is presumed to be even more difficult due to the fact that it is in the hands of more, from Junts per Catalunya. The president insists that the new legislature will be as long and fruitful as the previous one: "The elections are in 2027, I have all the time in the world", he assured on Wednesday, before meeting in Rabat with Mohamed VI.

The leader of the PSOE regrets that the PP did not grant him even 24 hours of truce again, but the first hundred days since the last investiture coincide with a real political storm, which keeps the course of the legislature in uncertainty. The spokeswoman for the Government, Pilar Alegría, trusted yesterday in the resistance "the most difficult moments, when the storm grows stronger". just like now

Last week was terrible for Sanchez. It began with the fall of the PSOE in the Galician elections of February 18 and culminated in the scandal of alleged corruption for which Koldo García was arrested, who was personal assistant to the former Minister of Transport and former secretary of organization of Ferraz, José Luis Ábalos, until it ceased in July 2021.

Meanwhile, the processing of the Amnesty law that allowed the new investiture of Sánchez is still blocked, while Carles Puigdemont does not give in. And there is already a deadline, March 7, to be able to close an agreement with Together in Congress, while the possibility of approving the first general State budgets of the new term is still unresolved.

If it's not the perfect storm for Sánchez..., it's a lot like it.

The president, however, makes a show of encouraging himself in the face of difficulties when he is at the edge of the abyss. If it is not the most important thing, it is certainly the most urgent thing to try to cut off the shadow of corruption that haunts it with the Koldo case. It's the first goal of the week. The ex-minister Ábalos is reluctant to give up his seat in Congress, as he has not been cited in the judicial investigation or in the fiscal accusation, at least to ease the political pressure and the offensive with which the PP will try to corner him Sanchez at Wednesday's control session.

The pressure on Ábalos from Sánchez - "the fight against corruption must be relentless, no matter where it comes from and no matter who falls" - or María Jesús Montero - "I know what I would do" - did not seem to take effect "Zero tolerance towards the corrupt, whoever they are, wherever they come from", reiterated Alegría yesterday.

And the PSOE executive, which meets on Monday in Ferraz, is considering adopting some decision, if Ábalos does not hand over the minutes of deputy. Sánchez, many think, needs to remove the slab to face the complex panorama that is in front of him, which is already quite complicated, without wasting time.

At the same time, the Prime Minister is trying to derail the new mandate: "There will be an Amnesty law", he assures with absolute confidence. "And there will be four years of the legislature, like the previous one", he insists imperturbably.

Sánchez intends to quickly turn over the bitter leaf of the socialist electoral defeat in Galicia, towards the elections in Euskadi, already set by Iñigo Urkullu for April 21.

The leadership of the PSOE hopes to be able to revalidate the coalition government led by the PNB, in a territory where the PP is still "irrelevant". "We will meet again", challenged the PP the spokeswoman of Ferraz, Esther Peña, regarding the new electoral date.

Sánchez, meanwhile, highlights the successes of the first hundred days of the new mandate to achieve "more employment, more rights and more coexistence". "I will sweat the bacon", he promises. Of the hundred days, highlights include the increase in the interprofessional minimum wage and the revaluation of pensions, the reform of the Constitution to eliminate the term diminished, the recovery of several bills that lapsed in the previous legislature - equal representation, sustainable mobility – and the extension and expansion of the anti-crisis social shield. In Moncloa, they point to Microsoft's new investment of almost 2,000 million euros in Spain as the best example of the country's power.

And Sánchez maintains an intense international agenda at the same time, which usually brings him more satisfaction than the always tempestuous domestic political scene. After last week's trip to Morocco, today – after attending the opening of Mobile in Barcelona and meeting with executives from Meta, Ericsson and Nokia – he will travel to Paris to participate in an aid summit in Ukraine . And he already has planned visits to Brazil and Chile, to meet with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Gabriel Boric.