Govern in Euskadi, win and govern in Catalonia and save the furniture in the European ones. That is the ideal scenario to which the PSOE entrusts itself so that the political climate is redirected to the return of spring and gets the legislature and, incidentally, the Government out of the current quagmire. Once the parenthesis of the spring loop of appointment with the polls has been assumed, which for the moment has already meant the resignation of the Executive to even present the Budgets, in the Moncloa they cling to the idea that the left can emerge strengthened after the wear and tear of the setback of the Galician women, the approval of the amnesty and the scandal of the ‘Koldo case’.

“We are going to do well in Euskadi and very well in Catalonia. And the PP is going to crash in both. That will help calm things down,” says a senior socialist leader, who flatly rules out a scenario of early general elections next fall. Ferraz does admit that the roadmap planned by Sánchez was very different back in November, when he was sworn in as president. “The idea was to have expedited the processing of the amnesty a little more and to have approved Budgets that would provide a certain stability, but it has not depended on us,” acknowledges that same leader, who still conveys the tranquility of his party regarding the legislature. .

The President of the Government himself appeared on Friday as convinced as ever of what more and more people in Congress see becoming more complicated by the day: a four-year legislature supported by political groups that will play against each other in April and May his options to govern in Euskadi and Catalonia. “The path will be to approve the 2025 budgets and continue with our reform sheet,” Sánchez said in Brussels.

However, no one in the Executive denies that there are no shortage of unknowns about the political panorama that the results in Catalonia may reveal and that it will not be until they are clarified that medium-term plans can be made. The confirmation that Carles Puigdemont will be a candidate is a variable that was already contemplated in Moncloa and which they are officially trying to downplay.

“Mr. Puigdemont presented himself in 2017, he presented himself in 2021 and he is going to present himself now in 2024. But it happens that we are in a completely different time, in a new time. And I believe that Catalan citizens on May 12 have a dilemma to resolve with their vote: whether they want a Catalonia that looks forward or a Catalonia that looks backward,” Pedro Sánchez said on Friday in Brussels.

The doubt that no one knows how to clear is how the role that Puigdemont plays will influence Congress as of May 12. If he governs, in the socialist ranks there is fear of a reinforcement of the more orthodox independence movement that will complicate relations with Catalonia and dilute the effects of the amnesty law to provoke something similar to a relaunch of the process. Just the opposite of what is sought with the measure of grace. Another question is what will happen if Junts does not enter the new Government and if, in that case, Puigdemont maintains some incentive to support Pedro Sánchez’s Government in Madrid.

Electoral machinery in motion

For the moment, the socialists’ electoral machinery is deploying a full-fledged counteroffensive aimed at Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Isabel Díaz Ayuso in response to the PP’s attacks. Not without criticism and internal discussion, the PSOE and the Government have decided to impose an extra dose of aggressiveness in the hand-to-hand combat with the opposition, convinced that the opposite was a burden in the municipal and regional elections last year.

“Last legislature we learned that we cannot remain silent in the face of lies. We saw that not confronting their attacks and lies takes a toll. And that is why now we respond,” one of the most responsible people in Pedro Sánchez’s Executive explained to journalists this week in Congress.

This conviction is not only the result of the analysis of what happened in the 28M campaign, but also of a much more recent event that has caused the president’s team to challenge: the popular reaction to the scandal involving Isabel Díaz’s partner. Ayuso in contrast to the response of the socialists in the so-called ‘Koldo case’.

This case of corruption that arose within the team of the Ministry of Transportation of the last legislature claimed no more nor less than the political figure of José Luis Ábalos, the all-powerful minister and Secretary of Organization of the PSOE. His expulsion from the party and his move to the Mixed Group due to the political responsibilities derived from the alleged crimes committed by his main advisor were assumed as an indispensable step in the display of exemplarity, but it also represented a hard emotional blow due to the symbolism of the figure of the Ábalos himself.

On the other hand, when reveals the scandal involving Isabel Díaz Ayuso’s partner for two alleged tax crimes prior to the acquisition of a luxury apartment that the Madrid president also enjoys, the PSOE interprets that the reaction of Feijóo’s has been to turn on the fan and personally attack the couple of the President of the Government to divert the focus. Something that, they say, led them to make the decision to “put their foot on the wall.”

During this week’s plenary sessions, wrapped in an atmosphere of unbearable political toxicity, this reaction from the socialists has been confirmed. Members of the Government such as María Jesús Montero, Félix Bolaños and Sánchez himself responded to the opposition’s continuous attacks on Pedro Sánchez and his partner, Begoña Gómez, with more direct attacks on Ayuso, Feijóo and even his own partner. . A harsh tone championed by the current Minister of Transport, Óscar Puente, who has become a de facto scourge of the opposition and whose messages already arouse suspicion among his own bench.

In fact, there are those in the PSOE who are beginning to ask for restraint to avoid fueling the escalation that the right has undertaken since Pedro Sánchez’s first inauguration. “Responding to machismo and lies from the right with machismo and lies from the left can be a temptation, but it certainly doesn’t seem like the best idea,” says a deputy after being questioned about Óscar Puente’s tweet in which he points to the Ayuso’s partner as a “front man with the right to friction.”

In Ferraz they remember that slogans such as “Let Txapote vote for you” or “I like fruit” have almost become campaign slogans for the PP that seek “dehumanization and perpetual insult” to the President of the Government. But they admit to some doubts about the effect the current level of political noise may have on a jaded progressive electorate. “For our part, we will moderate,” the socialist spokesperson promised in Congress this week.

For fifteen days there will be no noise in Congress because the Easter holidays will be followed by a week not authorized for plenary sessions. And right afterward it will be the campaign again, surely the least favorable terrain for promises of moderation.


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