In Spain, saying a motion of censure is synonymous with failure –with the permission of Pedro Sánchez–, but never with embarrassment. The current President of the Government is the only opposition leader who, when he was, achieved Parliament’s support for the one registered against Mariano Rajoy in 2018. The previous ones, in 1980 (González against Suárez), in 1987 (Hernández Mancha against González), in 2017 (Pablo Iglesias against Rajoy) and in 2020 (Abascal against Sánchez) they did not prosper, but at least they did not return to the opera buffa that this Tuesday was performed in the Congress of Deputies. Embarrassing spectacle that neither the Parliament nor the Spaniards deserve.
It was known in advance that the sixth motion of no confidence in democracy would be a disaster in numerical terms. It was also intuited, from the caricature of the prolegomena, that it would have something of the grotesque, that mixture of tragedy and comedy that is characterized by a comic exaggeration of the most grotesque features of reality. But it was even worse than that.
Everything evoked a scene between ridiculous and absurd. For disturbing. Due to the exaggerated deformation of some characters. Because the Government was unscathed and the main opposition party, sheared. Because the proponent formation came out worse off than it entered the Lower House. Because the session seemed eternal to the nonagenarian candidate and he couldn’t even bear reading the entire speech he had written. And, above all, because of the result of all this, which was the projection of a heartbreaking framework on democratic institutions that reminds us that democracies, although some do not take it for granted, no longer die by military coups as before, but by that slow fire that erodes them from within. It is in the manual of the good populist and it is called anti-politics.
Even so, the Vox ultras returned to the spotlight for a few hours and, with the invaluable help of the already declared abstention of the PP, they advanced in that alleged democratic normalization that is denied to them in most of Europe. Feijóo’s right wing, which was absent from the session but could not avoid being the target of criticism from left and right, is unable to get rid of its main competitor and, by putting itself in profile before this comic opera, what it emits is a clear sign of his willingness to agree on a coalition with neo-Francoism after the general elections. If they give you the numbers, of course.
The heirs of Blas Piñar
Just in case, Sánchez dedicated himself above all to warning of this, of a PP-Vox alliance behind the generals which, given the fragmentation of the current political map, is the only real alternative to the current progressive government. The president responded to the interventions of Santiago Abascal and Ramón Tamames – whom he made ugly for accepting to be the candidate of the heirs of Blas Piñar – but in reality who he wanted to put in the center of the target was a Feijóo who resists break the umbilical cord with the extreme right: “Those who are going to abstain tomorrow are as responsible as you, Mr. Abascal,” he snapped at the VOX leader, whom he accused of spreading hatred and providing a “plus of brutality” to the PP and even to be the “glutamate” of the right. He would tell him even more while the popular bench tried to go unnoticed without success throughout the day: “You are the wild card that the PP needs” to return to the policies that he applied in 2013.
All of this was released by the tenant of La Moncloa against the neo-Franco leader in his first response to a motion that he described as “bizarre and delusional”, but which he conscientiously took advantage of – even with an excessive and immodest abuse of time – to display the catalog of progressive measures promoted by his government. On the contrary, he drew Vox as the party of “fury”, unable to provide a single proposal in favor of coexistence between Spaniards and whose performance he summarized as follows: “In the streets, agitation; in the stands, anger; insults, in Parliament; two sterile motions and everywhere, hate”.
He also denied that Vox had presented the motion because the unity of Spain or the Constitution is in danger, for Catalonia or for the economy and yes, because he intends to destroy his entire government, he is leading the BOE to go back 10 years and return to the Spain that he cut pensions and the Welfare State and devalued wages.
Before, Abascal who began his intervention with insults to the press “for spokesperson” or for having “tomorrow’s editorials already written today”, against Sánchez for presiding over the government “of the dictatorship” and against some of his lordships for their clothing, it had also been primed against the PP. He urged the absent Feijóo to “recover credibility” and demonstrate it with a “yes” to his motion to overthrow a president whom he accused of “lack of dignity”, of “deceiving all Spaniards” and of being “a despot” and “an autocrat”. “If this motion is a grotesque, what the hell is yours called?” the Vox leader asked.
“The first obligation of a politician [prosiguió] it is sincerity and it is not possible to approach the PSOE and Vox at the same time. And what is being voted on today is whether or not Sánchez deserves censure and whether or not it is necessary to call an election immediately. We ask that we vote together today and that we understand each other tomorrow to offer the Spanish people a solid alternative of institutional strength. If they don’t want to do it, all their voters have the right to know.”
No sign of early elections or absorbing autocracy
By the time the Vox leader had finished his presentation, which lasted almost an hour, Tamames already seemed exhausted from looking at the clock so much waiting for his minutes of glory. From Abascal’s seat, seated and with a tone of torpor that instantly infected the entire chamber, the veteran ex-communist languished in each of the disconnected sentences that he uttered and that did not complete the speech that he had written. From the version advanced by elDiario.es, he made a bland and boring summary in which he did not include either the request for early elections on May 28 – the raison d’être of the motion according to Vox – nor the allusion to the “absorbent autocracy”. which according to him represents Sánchez, as it appeared in the initial draft. It did include a reproach of the president’s pacts with the separatist parties and an alleged “assault on institutions” and “separation of powers”, although the 31 pages that he had prepared seemed as long as the entire session. . Proof of this is that Tamames had requested, before entering plenary session, to the disbelief of the House services, a blanket and a pillow for the recess determined by President Batet and which he should have used conveniently in the office where he he withdrew for 45 minutes, after three in the afternoon.
He had already given signs of exhaustion before taking a nap when he raised his hand during Sánchez’s reply to complain that the president had shown up “with a stack of pages prepared to talk about things that I have not said.” In his hour and twenty of reply, the president had certainly responded to questions that Tamames had written in his draft but did not pronounce. Due to forgetfulness, fatigue or because after Abascal’s presentation it was difficult for him to add anything else.
In any case, the complaint of the Vox candidate had no effect and he dedicated himself to making fuss and raising his hands until, after the president’s reply, he was able to say that in the time spent by Sánchez “the history of the Roman republic was written , but also of the Roman Empire”. He did not say much more, except for a plea to Batet to promote a “change of regulations” that shortens the time for the participants, something that caused the entire House to laugh. “Otherwise, we die with the speeches we make,” he pleaded.
The grotesque day gave little more than evidence that Vox had promoted a motion against the PP, but also against itself; so that Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz marked their first campaign rally, since the president coordinated with the leader of Sumar to overwhelm, in this order, the PP, Vox and the veteran Tamames.
The also Minister of Labor put on the suit of a leader of the confederal space and threaded an intervention with which she claimed the management of the entire Government. She arrived at the chamber escorted by all the parties in the confederate space, except Podemos. And on the lectern, one by one, she valued the work of all the ministers and ministers, also that of Ione Belarra and Irene Montero, with whom she maintains serious differences ten days after launching her political project for the general elections. She also spared no praise for the Prime Minister in a speech with a marked feminist profile. “I welcome 2023 and the Spain of women”, she snapped at Tamames in a rallying tone that the candidate himself referred to in his concise final reply of a minute and a half. After responding to Díaz, who focused his speech on the Constitution, feminism and government action, the old professor did not speak again, although he remained seated throughout the session on the bench, something that not even Abascal did – absent much of the afternoon– and neither did the President of the Government, who stayed in La Moncloa for the second part of the day.
Even if the candidate is silent, the vice president did not miss the opportunity to reproach him for “vilifying democracy”, for not presenting “a program” despite the fact that the motion of no confidence by law must be “constructive” and not “destructive”. Also her political ups and downs, from the PCE to Vox: “You never get out of coexistence with the ultra-right and extremism unscathed,” she warned him.
The spokesman for Mas Madrid, Iñigo Errejón, told him even more clearly hours later: “He has volunteered to act as a spokesperson for a formation based on hatred and resentment of the Spain that we are. That is not funny, even though many memes are made. The one who was the founder of Podemos did not want to ignore the sad role of the PP and its condescension with Vox either: “These are your crows, you have raised them, and it is their eyes that are in danger.”
This Wednesday, turn for a PP, who is photographed beforehand.