Tie at 171 and eight votes to reveal. It is the state of the parliamentary negotiations for the transcendental session next Thursday, with which the legislature will begin and which will serve to elect the Presidency of Congress and the composition of the governing body of the Chamber. An important vote in itself, but it will be the first test to glimpse the possibilities of Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo in the face of a hypothetical investiture. The seven deputies of Junts and, in case of abstention, that of the Canary Coalition, will tip the balance of the Congress Table: a progressive or right-wing majority at the head of the Legislative.
The PP pressures Felipe VI for a “quick” investiture of Feijóo: “We are convinced that he will propose”
In the next 48 hours, all the unknowns will have to be resolved about a vote that will determine the future of the entire legislature. The election of the Board of Congress is always key because it is the body that largely determines parliamentary life: it can veto laws, investigative commissions, lengthen or shorten the processing time for a regulation, among many other issues.
Its composition is a common bargaining chip between the parties to achieve a better position on technical issues during the legislature: who can or cannot form a parliamentary group when it is on the verge of what the regulation establishes, where the deputies sit, the hiring of the groups, the times of intervention in plenary. But with the result of the elections on July 23 and the complex articulation of majorities that guarantee an investiture for one side or the other, what happens on Thursday may give clues about a future investiture session.
And how are the accounts two days before the vote? The progressive bloc has 121 deputies from the PSOE, 31 from Sumar, seven from ERC, six from EH Bildu, five from the PNV and one from the BNG. In total, 171. The PP adds the same 171: its 137, Vox’s 33 and UPN’s.
To tip that balance, and although the Socialists maintain the information blackout decreed by Pedro Sánchez after the July 23 elections, negotiations have intensified in recent hours with the different formations whose votes are decisive in this Thursday’s session. According to parliamentary sources, the PSOE is being extremely prudent even in those discreet meetings that are taking place in Congress and is not even transferring to the majority of its members in the Chamber its plans for the candidacy for president of Congress, a position From which the hitherto third state authority, Meritxell Batet, has already publicly excluded herself, and for whom the name of Francina Armengol, the former Balearic president now a deputy, has been heard in recent days.
In private, at the PSOE headquarters they also do not offer details of the conversations with Junts but they do admit that the state of the negotiations is far from being considered on track. “We continue working”, they limit themselves to pointing out those who pilot the contacts at the highest level. In public, the few appearances of socialist representatives offer no clues either and it is palpable that the instruction is neither to say nor to insinuate anything that, for one reason or another, could further complicate conversations that all parties agree to describe as extremely complex. “There are 48 hours left for this new legislature to start and there are also 48 hours of prudence, dialogue and discretion,” the PSOE spokeswoman and acting Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, limited herself to answering questions from the press. this Monday in Congress.
Two days after a vote that could be decisive for the viability of the legislature, some parliamentary groups from the progressive block do not hide their nervousness before a impasse which, in any case, they believe does not benefit anyone. “The numbers are too complicated to play negotiations to the limit,” says a deputy from one of the left-wing groups that have already shown their predisposition to support a Congressional Table with a progressive majority. Another, who agrees with the concern before the time trial on Thursday, adds: “The one at the Table is a technical negotiation, if they are not capable of negotiating that we can start closing the legislature.”
Junts postpones the decision
Thus, everything is in the hands of Junts. The seven deputies that Carles Puigdemont’s party won will not reveal their position until Thursday, with one eye on the governability of Spain and the needs of the former president of the Generalitat who fled to Belgium, and the other on his fight with ERC for the hegemony of the independence movement, severely punished at the polls on July 23.
ERC has not wanted to leave the slightest doubt that it is aligned with the progressive bloc in the vote for the Table of Congress, the same as in a subsequent and hypothetical investiture of Pedro Sánchez. With everything, and despite the fact that last week the spokeswoman, Teresa Jordá, took it for granted that a Socialist would preside over the Chamber, in the last hours the Republican general secretary, Marta Rovira, has increased her demands before the end of the negotiation.
As indicated by the ERC leader, they demand that the person who directs Congress give the green light to initiatives vetoed in the last legislature, such as the use of Catalan in plenary sessions, allowing a commission of investigation into the espionage of Pegasus or the processing of a possible amnesty law.
Even so, the Republicans are aware that they need a table in favor to guarantee their own parliamentary group, something that they will not achieve automatically. Also to avoid a right-wing majority that would block any of their claims.
Less clear is the role of Junts, which remains hermetic under the slogan given by Carles Puigdemont. The former president momentarily broke his silence this Monday to ensure that “decisive days” are coming, among which he places next August 17, when the composition of the Legislative Committee will be voted on.
In Junts they talk about their majority hinge position in Congress as a “golden opportunity” to negotiate. But they also consider that they must allow time to pass in the most stoic way possible so that the PSOE makes them a complete offer for the investiture. “As the days go by,” said Puigdemont, “nervousness grows and the auction goes up.” A strategy that they maintain, for the moment, until the constitution of the Cortes.
And the PP, waiting
In the PP they also do the math while waiting for de Puigdemont to defoliate the daisy. And the numbers can come out. The 171 that it adds could be insufficient if Junts supports a progressive majority for the Table. But if the Catalan party decides not to join that block, those of Feijóo could achieve control of Congress if they add the other undefined vote: that of the Canary Coalition
The number three of the party, Elías Bendodo, took the support of the Canarian party for granted on Monday, after the PP had given the Presidency of the autonomous Government in the islands to Fernando Clavijo, despite the fact that the elections were won by the PSOE.
“The PP has much more support than the PSOE for the investiture,” Bendodo said in Malaga. “The PP has 171 guaranteed yeses, 172 if we count the Canarian Coalition, which is very possible,” he added, to settle: “Work is being done.”
What seems ruled out is the move proposed by Clavijo so that the Congress is presided over by the PNV. Neither the PSOE nor the PP are for the job. The ‘yes’ of the CC deputy, Cristina Valido, would only be definitive in the absence of Junts. If Puigdemont’s men allow a majority of the rights at the Table, Sánchez’s investiture options would plummet. And Feijóo’s options of submitting to a vote in Congress would increase, with the PP putting pressure even on the head of state. If, on the contrary, they prop up a progressive Congress Table, a new process would be opened to elect the president of the Government. And there, yes, the time would come to really negotiate.
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