After weeks of intense negotiations that have been on the verge of derailing at various times, there is still no agreement but the general secretary of the Socialists in Navarra, María Chivite, finalizes a preliminary agreement to reissue the progressive coalition government for the 2023/2027 legislature also with Geroa Bai, the Socialverdes and PNV brand led by former president Uxue Barkos. In the absence of resolving the programmatic differences, which are still “pervasive”, according to Geroa Bai, according to the sources consulted by elDiario.es in Navarra there is a certain consensus that the PSN will manage the Presidency and eight portfolios, Geroa Bai the second vice-presidency and four areas and Contigo/Zurekin – which brings together Podemos, IU, Batzarre, Berdeak Equo and others – a portfolio reinforced with Housing competencies and with the possibility that its leader, Begoña Alfaro, has the rank of third vice president. EH Bildu’s contest will be necessary, at least in the form of active abstention, for this coalition of coalitions to surpass the bloc of the right in the investiture since UPN won the 28M elections.
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Geroa Bai left 17,000 votes and two seats in the regional elections. It became the fourth force in the regional Parliament behind UPN, PSN and EH Bildu. Chivite’s negotiating team interpreted that their presence in the cabinet had to be adjusted since PSN and Contigo/Zurekin had indeed maintained positions. At the same time, certain tensions in recent years between Geroa Bai and the PSN were not hidden. The Basque formation demanded to negotiate face to face with Chivite and without Contigo/Zurekin and to retain four advisers, the presidency of the Parliament of Navarra and to be able to appoint the regional senator, exactly as from 2019 to 2023. The group, which has had the leaders María Solana and Pablo Azcona as visible heads in recent days due to an injury to Barkos, interpreted as a slight that the PSN agreed bilaterally to Contigo/Zurekin assuming the Housing powers, while the coalition of Podemos and IU stressed that it was highly relevant that those policies be directed by a party that believed in the recently passed state law. The PNV has been very belligerent against it and, in fact, has promoted an unconstitutionality appeal from the Basque Government without having the Housing powers, which belong to the Socialists.
Finally, a midpoint has been reached in which Geroa Bai will retain four areas. From the formation they emphasize that their seats represent a third of those of the Government and that their weight in the cabinet is even less. If the conversations crystallize, something that all the parties involved take for granted, they change Housing for Health, a department with a large budget and exposure. In the last legislature, the person in charge was Santos Induráin, a Navarrese face in the pandemic and proposed by the PSN. The Navarrese brand of the PNV will also have an Agriculture, Livestock and Environment portfolio, another for Citizen Relations (here is Historical Memory, but in the last legislature this sub-area was controlled by the Socialists, and Euskera, although with limitations) and an economic vice-presidency . This is where its functions are limited. Already in the previous mandate the PSN controlled the box, the Treasury area, and now it will also scratch the functions related to Tourism. The philosophy, from the socialist prism, is that Socialverdes and PNV do not monopolize relations with the productive fabric and that part also falls on the majority force. The first vice presidency will remain in the hands of the PSN, as well as the cabinet spokesperson.
The agreement had already been launched with the transfer to Geroa Bai of the Presidency of Parliament. Unai Hualde, leader of the Navarrese PNV, is once again the second legislature of the autonomous community. Now, the PSN is also willing to return to the fourth force the regional senator assigned by the Chamber. Geroa Bai will determine who he sends to the Upper House. Navarra sends five senators, four elected by ballot box and one by Parliament. With the data from 23J, three were from the Socialists and one from the UPN, so the PSN feels that its presence will not suffer excessively.
“But there are more things than the structure,” stresses Geroa Bai, whose sources admit that the talks are advancing but not at the pace that Chivite would like. He now has to sink his teeth into the “program”. “You have to assess the discrepancies. Establish monitoring mechanisms. It cannot be that it seems again that Chivite leads a monocolor government. It is a coalition ”, they emphasize from the formation of Barkos. The start of the Estella festivities has brought together the negotiator Solana and the president Chivite in that town. “Mrs. Chivite, since she is not going to the negotiations, she still does not know that there are still meetings in which to see these disagreements, assess them, commit to comply with the agreements, because it is not enough to confirm them, that commitment must be demonstrated,” he said. the leader of the PNV and Geroa Bai in statements to the media. “We still have to wait a little longer,” she added.
EH Bildu, key for the majority
The Government, if this agreement is confirmed to three, would have 21 of 50 seats in Parliament. The key for the majority in legislative action or in budgets will rest with EH Bildu. The Abertzale coalition expressed its willingness to continue facilitating a progressive government as an external partner but even to take a step and support it with a ‘yes’ if Geroa Bai’s option was finally broken. The PSN now seemed more comfortable in this scenario given that, after all, Pedro Sánchez also needs the direct and express support of the sovereignist deputies in Congress. On the right, the weight that Navarra Suma previously had is now shared between UPN, PP and Vox, which has opened this legislature. For Javier Esparza, leader of the opposition, the negotiations are being a “show”, a “full-fledged game of thrones”.
Necessarily, the investiture must be formalized before August 28. No one in the parties involved is capable of setting a maximum defined period to find out if there will be white smoke between the PSN and Geroa Bai –Contigo/Zurekin has already said yes–, but time is running out. When three months have elapsed since the elections, Parliament is automatically dissolved if there are no agreements. In 2019, for example, all the formalities were already completed at the beginning of August, although this time the traditional Navarre break for San Fermín has been added to the general campaign. Formally, President Hualde must carry out a round of parties and propose a candidate for a session with a double vote in principle, since Chivite would not be able to be re-elected with an absolute majority.