In Spain, the desperate search for support to form a government consumes both the Popular Party (PP) and the PSOE, the two majority forces that are exhausting efforts to avoid, at all costs, an electoral repetition.
The general elections of July 23 gave the PP victory, although this victory does not guarantee its candidate, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the presidency of the government.
Despite the fact that the PP was the party with the most votes – it obtained 33.1 percent of the polls and that allowed it to seat 137 deputies in Parliament -, Núñez Feijóo needs, to be invested as president, half plus one of the 350 seats that make up the Spanish Parliament or, in the second instance, obtain more “yes” than “no” to his investiture.
If he did not succeed in the debate scheduled for September 26 and 27, there would be two months left to try to invest another candidate.
November is the decisive month: if there is still no government by then, the Spanish will return to the polls at the beginning of 2024.
King Felipe VI, as head of state, entrusted Núñez Feijóo with trying to form a government. But, for now, the PP candidate does not have the 176 essential supports to be invested.
Last week he met with Pedro Sánchez, PSOE candidate and current acting president, and proposed a ridiculous pact for the socialists: to let him govern for two years – half of the constitutional term – and then call elections.
Pedro Sánchez with the world soccer champions. AFP Photo
On Tuesday, Núñez Feijóo will meet with the leader of Vox, the far-right Santiago Abascal, one of the few guaranteed supports for an investiture of the PP candidate.
Meanwhile, the government’s latest move is generating controversy.
With her sights set on the possibility that Pedro Sánchez could become president again, Yolanda Díaz, second vice president and Minister of Labor, traveled to Brussels this Monday to seek the “yes” of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who almost six years ago He escaped from Spain to avoid going to prison for having unilaterally declared the independence of Catalonia in 2017.
It is the first time that a member of the government meets with the former regional president who in Spain is considered a fugitive from Justice.
Self-exiled in Belgium since 2017, Puigdemont is today a member of the European Parliament and leader of Junts Per Catalunya, a radical force in the independence movement that he pursues for the Catalans and liberal in its economic aspect.
In the general elections on July 23, Junts obtained 1.6 percent of the votes, which, translated into parliamentary seats, is equivalent to 7 deputies. They would be decisive for Pedro Sánchez’s PSOE to achieve the necessary majority to be invested once again as president of the government by Congress.
Sánchez stands out
Although the current PSOE- Podemos coalition government is only in office until a new one can be formed, from the Moncloa Palace they tried to distance themselves this Monday from the meeting between Yolanda Díaz and Puigdemont, whose parliamentary immunity was revoked by the European Parliament and could to be claimed by the Spanish Justice to answer for having tried to separate Catalonia from the rest of Spain.
MADRID, 08/30/2023.- The leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, and the acting president of the Government and general secretary of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez. Photo EFE
And they assure that the minister attended the meeting with the former Catalan president as leader of Sumar, the political force with which Yolanda Díaz debuted in the July elections and in which she came fourth with 12.3 percent of the votes.
Sumar is the main ally of the PSOE, which obtained second place, behind the Popular Party, with 31.7 percent of the vote, and is the best interlocutor to “soften” Junts.
Sánchez would need support or abstention from Puigdemont’s party so that he can be held accountable and be able to remain in La Moncloa.
In any case, the possibilities of a debate that culminates with his appointment as head of the new government will have to wait for the result of the first attempt that the PP leader will make, which, according to the support obtained so far, would fail.
Since the electoral result confirmed the indispensable role that the pro-independence and Basque parties will have for Sánchez to achieve his re-election, Junts assures that they will negotiate in exchange for the amnesty for Puigdemont and for the Catalan nationalists with judicial processes for reasons of the illegal self-determination referendum on October 1, 2017 and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia.
The meeting between Yolanda Díaz and Carles Puigdemont lasted almost three hours.
Díaz was accompanied by the former deputy Jaume Asens, the one chosen to carry out the negotiation with Carles Puigdemont and his party.
The former Catalan president attended the meeting with Toni Comín, a former adviser to his government who fled with him to Belgium in 2017.
“The meeting has been fruitful and allows us to establish a normalized and stable relationship between both political formations,” says the statement from both parties.
According to reports, Díaz and Puigdemont agreed to “explore all democratic solutions for Catalonia.”