There is less than a week left for the first vote of the legislature. The Socialist Party hopes to achieve a parliamentary majority to preside over Congress and from there begin to tie the investiture vote for Pedro Sánchez. But so far, most of the meetings have been tentative and the parliamentary partners with whom the Socialists must put together a new investiture bloc are beginning to press for speed up contacts.
Sumar accuses the PSOE of “lack of ambition” in the negotiations for a new coalition government
“The talks are going as they have to go,” said a member of the PSOE on Thursday who was aware of the negotiations with the rest of the parliamentary partners. Ferraz has begun to make movements after the latest statements by parties that are key to the votes in the coming weeks and this Thursday he has called face-to-face meetings with both the Republican Left and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), as confirmed by sources from those formations.
The PSOE has a busy end of summer ahead of it that will begin next week with the vote for the Presidency and the composition of the Congress Table. In the party led by Pedro Sánchez, they say they are calm and are confident that they will achieve a progressive majority for that body, but for this they must have the support of all the parliamentary forces that are not framed in the bloc of the right. And that essentially happens by moving Junts from the ‘no’ of the last legislature to explicit support.
This Tuesday, the acting Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, appealed to the discretion of the talks. “The intention, of course, is that Pedro Sánchez be president of the Government and we are working for it,” he said in statements to the media in Congress, moments before going to collect his deputy credentials for the next legislature.
Bolaños’s process coincided in time with that of the Republican representatives and the post-convergents, who also went to the Lower House on Thursday morning to fill out the forms, take the obligatory photo and collect the portfolio of deputies. Parliamentarians from Carles Puigdemont’s party avoided speaking to the press or making any statements, while the Republicans did give any further clues about where things are going in the talks with the Socialist team.
Teresa Jordà, who will be the ‘number two’ of the party in Congress, did so on two occasions, revealing that since 23J there have been “some meetings” but that the central issues of the negotiations for the Table have yet to be addressed . Jordà specified that these conversations are limited exclusively to the scope of next week’s vote and that in no case has she begun to speak with the Socialists about their possible support for the investiture of Sánchez.
In any case, Jordà ruled out that his ambition with these negotiations is to obtain a position on the Congress Table or to speak of “names” for the future Presidency. The goal of the Republicans in their exchanges with Ferraz is to talk about “politics.” And this in the case of ERC translates into the Catalan question: “The most important thing to advance in Catalonia is to be able to negotiate and speak. This is much more likely with a supposedly progressive Board”. Although not alone. Republican sources explained that within this negotiation they are considering asking the Socialists for the presidency of a congressional commission in exchange for their votes.
Where it does seem that there is more progress, judging by Jordà’s statements, is in the possibility that both ERC and Junts may have their own parliamentary group despite not meeting all the requirements for it. Something that they could achieve with the favor of a progressive Board, which they have advanced and are willing to support despite the fact that their votes will not be “free”. “It is obvious that we prefer a progressive government in the Mesa. We are not going to talk to the PP but it would be a mistake to think that ERC votes are free”, Jordà insisted.
The results of 23J produced a difficult parliamentary puzzle for the PSOE and Sumar to articulate a new investiture bloc. A block for which they have 152 own votes from the start and to which they have to add those of ERC and Junts (7 each), EH Bildu (6), the PNV (5) and the BNG deputy. The Basque votes seem more on track and this Thursday the spokesman for the Galician nationalists, Néstor Rego, warned that they will not give a “blank check”.
Rego said that this Thursday afternoon he would meet for the first time in person with the PSOE negotiating team, after some telephone contact, to focus on the negotiation of the Table since the Socialists, he said, “intend to make the process by steps”. The Galician deputy, as the rest of the partners have defended these days, believes that this Table should reflect the “plurality” that emerges from the new Congress that came out of the polls in July.
Sumar calls for “ambition” in the investiture agreement
The PSOE has also held talks with Sumar, although the coalition led by Yolanda Díaz asks for discretion about its content. They do believe, like the rest of the partners, that the Board should have a plural composition in which the government partner has a presence. Sources from the comuns, one of the main parties that have joined the platform, affirm that the presidency and the Congress table are part of the conversations that they are already holding with all their might to pave the way for the investiture.
And in this sense, they say, the agreement for the vote on August 17 must take nationalist forces into account. Without going into assessing whether a vice-presidency or a secretariat should correspond to these forces, they believe that the pact should reflect the drawing of the new progressive majority that has been cast at the polls.
But the coalition is not only thinking about next week’s vote and is asking the Socialists for more ambition in negotiations that they say are already underway with a view to an investiture pact. This is what the coalition spokesman, Ernest Urtasun, claimed this Wednesday when he stated, in an interview on Cadena SER, that his possible government partner was lacking in specificity in the talks for a program. “The problem is not one measure or the other, but rather the methodology and the PSOE understanding that we need an ambitious, concrete and detailed agreement,” he said.
Urtasun did affirm in that same interview that the talks for the investiture with ERC and Junts “are progressing positively”, although he did not give many more details. Shortly after, the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turrull, responded with a tweet, ironically: “First news.” Sumar’s spokesman did not want to assess whether in his formation or in the PSOE they value some formula to work on an amnesty that serves the Junts leaders who are abroad, including their leader, Carles Puigdemont.
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