The president of the Chamber, Meritxell Batet, together with the members of the Congress Table, the popular Ana Pastor and the member of Vox Ignacio Gil Lázaro, during a session of the last legislature. Uly Martín
The resignation of Meritxell Batet to run as president of the Congress of Deputies, a position she has held since 2019, and the progress in the negotiations to invest the PP candidate, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, or the PSOE candidate, Pedro Sánchez, as head of the Executive , open new questions about the constitution of the Lower House, set for the next day 17. That day, in little more than a week, all the members of the Board of the Lower House will be elected, in addition to the third institution of the State, in a key day to press the balance of forces between the blocks of left and right.
How the president of the Board is chosen. The Congress Table is made up of nine members: the president, four vice-presidents and four secretaries. The voting for the nine posts is carried out on the same day of the constitution session of the Lower House —on this occasion, on the 17th—, and whose procedure is regulated in articles 36, 37 and 38 of the Regulations of Congress . For the most prominent position, that of president of the Board and, therefore, of the lower house, whose figure is crucial to set a date for the legislature session and organize the legislative agenda, a first vote must be carried out in the that the parties can present a specific candidate; and whoever achieves an absolute majority in the first round (176 seats) will be appointed. If no one brings together said sum, a second vote will be held, held on the same day, and in which only a simple majority will be required: more yeses than noes. Voting is slow, since it is carried out secretly, by means of an individual call to each deputy, who puts his vote in a ballot box.
The possibilities of the PP. The forces of the parliamentary arc usually reach agreements to join efforts and bring together the greatest number of supports possible. And, these days, the parties are speeding up these talks, influenced in turn by the negotiations for the eventual investiture of the blocks led by Feijóo or Sánchez. After the offer made by Vox this Sunday, when it announced that it will give its vote in favor of Feijóo without demanding a counterpart, and the PNV’s repeated slamming of the door on the popular ones this Monday, the bloc led by the popular candidate has its 137 more seats guaranteed the 33 of the ultras. It could also add the seat of the Canary Islands Coalition, which this Monday opened to support Feijóo having ruled out a coalition with Vox, in addition to that of UPN, favorable from the beginning. In this way, this bloc would have 172 seats, so the popular ones could not get the presidency of Congress in the first round because they are four short of an absolute majority, but they could by simple majority in a second vote in case the bloc otherwise I would not have at least the same yeses.
The sum of the PSOE. The last movement of the Canary Coalition would currently leave Sánchez with 171 votes in favor. The Socialists aspire to unite around their 121 seats Sumar’s 31, ERC’s 7, EH Bildu’s 6, PNV’s 5 and the only deputy from BNG. It remains to be seen how negotiations continue with Junts, Puigdemont’s formation, which won 7 deputies. In an interview published this Monday in El Periódico with one of the new ERC deputies, Teresa Jordà, the Republican confirmed that the Socialists aspire to continue presiding over the Chamber and that in exchange for the support they are willing to cede a position on the Board to one of the pro-independence formations and to allow ERC and Junts to have their own group.
Therefore, the PSOE could only achieve the presidency of Congress in the first round by an absolute majority if Junts grants at least five votes in favor in this scenario, which would place it at exactly 176 seats. Or, in the second vote, if Puigdemont’s party provides three votes in favour, the essentials for a simple majority. The sum would in that case be 176, compared to Feijóo’s 172. These mathematics are left out of the investiture session, but they will act as a radar that draws a distribution of forces. In 2019, Batet was elected president of Congress in the second round by 175 votes in favor by rallying the support of the PSOE, Unidas Podemos, the PNV, Compromís, the Canary Islands Coalition and the Cantabrian Regionalist Party. Her opponent was the PP candidate, Ana Pastor, who got 125 yeses.
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Vice Presidents and Secretaries. To elect the four vice-presidents and the four secretaries, each deputy must write the name of a candidate on a ballot paper and also put it in the ballot box. And that the four who receive the most support be designated. If there is a tie, successive votes will be called until the tie is broken. As there are 70 of the 350 deputies in Congress, a party with 71 votes would secure one of the seats, because there could not be another four with the same or better result. But nothing can be taken for sure.
The political importance there is not so much in who is the first or fourth vice president or third secretary, but in how many positions of those eight, in two votes out of four, remain for each ideological block of parties. The important thing is to have a majority at the Table. In the previous legislature, the progressive bloc, from the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, maintained five seats and the right-wing PP and Vox, four.
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