The political pace picks up in the second week of August. 10 days after the constitution of the Cortes, the leaders of Sumar get down to work to close the negotiations on the composition of the parliamentary group. The coalition led by the acting second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, who with 31 deputies became the fourth force in Congress on 23-J, is crucial to complete a majority of the left and revalidate the government with the PSOE, but of its future internal organization also largely depends on the success of the new project. While the Executive parties negotiate with the nationalists for the first litmus test, the composition of the Table, the distribution within the party in the Lower House is key to defining the functioning of the political space, made up of 16 formations. Sumar’s team conveys that the intention is to put together a “plural and, at the same time, cohesive” group, which gives a voice to the different families that make it up in the largest territorial integration project that has occurred to date in Spanish politics. It is expected that the deputies will hold a first meeting on Wednesday, August 16, just one day before the first plenary session and when Díaz will go to present her credentials, and that is then the moment in which the organization chart becomes official.
The balancing game is complex. Forces such as Podemos or Compromís —also the United Left, in a very different tone— have already clearly marked positions by demanding “political autonomy” or threatening to break voting discipline if they are not sufficiently taken into account. Several voices within the space recognize the difficulty of coexistence and that Díaz must have a “left hand” to manage the new structure and organization in a stage with a radically different distribution of forces, and in which he also faces the challenge of consolidate Sumar as something more than a mere electoral tool, organizing its own Assembly in the coming months. Among the key positions to be decided these days are that of the parliamentary spokesperson, the deputy spokespersons, the presidency of the group, the general secretary, the representatives on the Congress Table and those of the commissions.
Of all of them, the one with the most visibility is that of the parliamentary spokesperson. For this position, occupied in United We Can in recent years by Pablo Echenique, the name that sounds the most is that of the head of the list for A Coruña, Marta Lois, although several sources from the confluence clarify that the appointment must still be debated and is not closed. The coalition agreement sealed in June does establish that this position corresponds to the vice president’s party (Movimiento Sumar), as well as her substitution. Former councilor of Compostela Aberta —one of the Galician tides that came to the local government of Santiago in 2015 with Martiño Noriega as mayor—, this doctor in Political Science, practically unknown at the national level, is a person very close to Díaz. Lois appears as “president” in the record of the training of the Minister of Labor and has accompanied the process from the beginning. Together with her, Sumar must appoint a series of deputy spokespersons to give the rest of the parties a visibility that with more or less tenacity they already claim as a fundamental condition. In the last legislature, both Podemos and Izquierda Unida, En Comú Podem and Galicia en Común had their own representatives and in key debates in plenary session the times were shared, with all four taking part. Now there are eight parties represented and the scheme is yet to be defined.
The Table of Congress will also show the new distribution of forces in the Chamber and the battle has not been won. Although in the last legislature United Podemos somewhat unexpectedly obtained a vice presidency and two secretariats (two positions for Podemos and one for the common ones), in this case the most plausible thing is that Sumar will get at most one less and in any case It all depends on the alliances that are forged. In the case of the group’s general secretary, Txema Guijarro, elected by Alicante, is emerging as the deputy with the most options to repeat in office, according to different sources. Already experienced and a former member of the Podemos leadership, Guijarro is part of the second vice president’s trusted environment and in these elections he appeared as part of the Sumar Movement quota.
The coalition document signed by the parties and registered with the Central Electoral Board establishes that “a single parliamentary group” will be formed -something that complicates any possible split- and that the operation of this space “will be governed by regulations that will respect the agreements adopted and will be agreed between the political forces that make up the coalition”. Those standards are yet to be determined as well.
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As required by LOREG, the June letter also mentions that a Coordination Commission will be created made up of a member designated “by each of the political parties that make up the electoral coalition”, that the decisions adopted by this body ” they will not be contrary to the agreements reached and they will be adopted by consensus” and that, in the event that there is not, “the representatives will have a weighted vote based on the percentage of participation of each of the parties in the coalition”, which gives greater control to Díaz’s formation, which has 10 representatives compared to five from Podemos, Izquierda Unida and Catalunya en Comú, respectively.
The questions to be cleared up in the group are still many and all, while the government program and the ministerial structure of a hypothetical coalition with the PSOE are being negotiated. They are parallel conversations, but they are part of the same balancing game. The one that could allow Díaz to comfortably navigate the first bars of the legislature or, on the contrary, force him to wage a public battle with organizations such as Podemos that are already pressing to assert his votes.
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