Congress gave the green light this Thursday to the creation of a commission of inquiry into the purchase of masks during the pandemic. The initiative, promoted by the Socialist Party after the information about the ‘Koldo case’, has gone ahead thanks to the votes of the investiture bloc and with the abstention of the Popular Party.

The commission, which seeks to “analyze the purchase of medical supplies from Public Administrations at the time of the coronavirus pandemic”, has moved forward with 175 votes in favor, 126 abstentions and 33 Vox votes against. The Congress Board meets this Thursday to begin the procedures for the launch of the commission.

The Socialist Party decided to promote this investigation just a few days after the outbreak of the scandal over commissions for the sale and purchase of masks within the Ministry of Transport during the pandemic, during the José Luis Ábalos era.

Faced with the so-called ‘Koldo case’, by Koldo García, Ábalos’s main advisor at that time, the Socialist Party asked the former minister and, also then, secretary of the Socialist Organization, to resign from his deputy status. At the same time, the party also decided to launch this commission, in which they intend to call all those involved in irregularities regarding mask contracts during the pandemic.

In recent weeks, following information from about the commissions and tax fraud that the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating against Alberto García Amador, partner of the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the Socialist Party has been open to also calling the leader of the Popular Party.

The commission’s debate has once again become, as is usual in recent sessions in Congress, an exchange of reproaches between the Popular Party and the Government over corruption.

New crossing between PP and PSOE

“You are to leave the forum,” the socialist spokesperson, Esther Peña, said during the debate in Congress. “Aznar didn’t know anything about Rato, Rajoy didn’t know anything about Bárcenas and Ayuso doesn’t know anything about her partner or her brother or the elderly people who were going to die, according to her, anyway,” she reviewed. “We do want to know. Because from the Socialist Party we are clear: collaboration,” she concluded.

The PP, which finally abstained in this Thursday’s vote, had announced that it would not vote in favor of this commission if the president of Congress, Francina Armengol, did not resign. “We are talking about the fact that the president of Congress has to submit to a commission to explain her responsibilities.” [cuando era presienta de Baleares] “in a plot of bribes, of charging commissions on the purchase of masks when Spain was confined,” said PP spokesman Miguel Tellado two weeks ago, in line with his party’s strategy to attack Armengol despite the fact that It does not appear in the summary of the ‘Koldo case’.

The clash between the PP and the PSOE over this issue already generated a fight last week in the Board of Spokespersons, when the meeting addressed the agenda item on the investigation commission. Tellado asked that Armengol leave the room to recuse himself from the decision made by the board on that commission. At that time, the socialist spokesperson, Patxi López, described his proposal as “shameful,” according to some sources, since the only name among those present that appears in the case summary is that of Tellado, he reminded him, a mention that has angered the PP deputy. They both raised their voices from their seats.

The PP deputy who intervened in this Thursday’s debate, Macarena Montesinos, took advantage of her intervention to once again attack the president of Congress. “She has not yet resigned as president,” she said at the beginning, to accuse her of “inaction” and of “hiding a network of prostitution and trafficking of minors supervised by her government.” “The same one that paid the plot in full for the masks knowing that they were useless and hid them in a warehouse for three years and that guaranteed Koldo’s company,” she continued.

In his speech, Montesinos has been listing all the ministers against whom the Popular Party usually attacks in its interventions in Congress: former minister Ábalos, Fernando Grande-Marlaska and Oscar Puente. And he has also taken the opportunity to accuse, as the president of his party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, did yesterday, Begoña Gómez, the wife of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.

Partners criticize the “infinite tie” of the two-party system

Sumar has criticized the clash between both parties. Aina Vidal, deputy spokesperson for the parliamentary group, has stated that people are “fed up” with “spectacles” like the one this week taking place in Congress. “For every Koldo there were thousands of decent people who did not take advantage, for every Ayuso, thousands of workers who fought to save the lives of people they did not even know,” she reproached.

The spokesperson for EH Bildu, Oskar Matute, has also criticized these reproaches, which he described as an “infinite tie” between PSOE and PP. The spokesperson for Podemos, Javier Sánchez Serna, has referred to the “turnism of corruption” and the spokesperson for the Canarian Coalition, Cristina Valido, has defended the commission at a time when people are “ashamed” that Congress has converted into a “tavern”.


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