The dispute for control of the Board of the Congress of Deputies enters discount time and with the certainty that there will be a second part. The acceleration of the political negotiations to decide the composition of the governing body of the Lower House marks the path of the bustle that is coming to achieve an investiture of the President of the Government. The progressive coalition and the alliance of PP and Vox compete to take the lead. The equation is full of unknowns, but without Junts per Catalunya, no one can count. The first step to be able to assess the desire of the party controlled by Carles Puigdemont is taken, this week, in the election of the members of the Bureau. The direction of the vote of the seven pro-independence deputies will leave clues as to where the compass of the Spanish political map points.
The general secretary of Esquerra Republicana, Marta Rovira, stated this Sunday that it is necessary to reach a “strategic understanding with Junts” to reel off a list of priorities for the independence movement, before sitting down to negotiate the re-election of Pedro Sánchez as head of the Government. The good connection that Rovira has with the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, is an anomaly in the ardent hostility that both parties dispense. Junts has become a useful ally that everyone is looking for. The party led by Puigdemont imposes total silence when it comes to addressing the investiture debate, but without spotlights or tape recorders it is implied that the strategy is ambitious and has little to do with the claims that ERC may make and with the attention that Pedro Sánchez can grant.
The Republicans have made clear their predisposition to reach out to the acting president to close the door on Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Vox, but they want to avoid appearing as a smug partner who lays out the red carpet for Sánchez: “The PSOE cannot take it for granted the ERC votes”, Rovira warned.
The Congress Table marks the first stop on the road. On Thursday, a president, four vice presidents and four secretaries must be chosen, who are going to divide the powers to qualify the writings and documents that enter the Chamber, decide on their admissibility, set the institution’s budget, define the calendar of activities of the plenary session and of the commissions or distribute in which seats each parliamentary group sits.
The former deputy of Convergència i Unió (CiU) Josep López de Lerma is blunt when asked if what happens in the vote of the Table can be an indication for the investiture: “Yes, absolutely,” he says. He was the strong man of CiU in Congress, in the days when Jordi Pujol ruled Catalonia with an iron hand. “Supporting the PSOE at the Mesa has to be interpreted as a predisposition to the investiture of Sánchez,” says López de Lerma. “This has always worked the same way, when you need parliamentary support you give up space on the Board in favor of future allies.”
Jordi Jané, the last representative of a Catalan party who held a position in the governing body of the lower house, is not so categorical: “What is negotiated in the Table affects the Table, and an agreement to preside over it does not have to be an indication that an investiture is going to be facilitated later.” Jané was a deputy for CiU and acted as vice president of the Bureau between 2008 and 2015, with the presidency of Congress divided between José Bono (PSOE) and Jesús Posada (PP). Then, the outbreak of the independence challenge fueled the idea that a representative of sovereign Catalonia does not paint anything in the command posts of the Spanish parliament.
What affects the most is what happens closer. To not miss anything, subscribe.
The tight distribution of seats left by 23-J has reopened speculation about the possibility that the Table could again have unusual guests. The conjectures have led the secretary of the Canary Islands Coalition, Fernando Clavijo, even to state that the presidency of Congress should go to the PNV. In the Catalan political arena, the current scenario represents a leap into the past, to the time before the process and the illegal referendum of October 1, 2017. “It seems that we are recovering the situation of the past decade, it is still curious that those who now call themselves independentistas want to participate in such a fundamental institution of the Spanish State”, says López de Lerma. “What a contradiction for the independentistas, do they want to separate from the State or do they want to participate in the governability of the State”, abounds López de Lerma, totally unrelated to politics and very critical of the confrontational drift promoted by the heirs of the CiU legacy from Junts .
Between 1993 and 1996, López de Lerma was vice president of the Board with the socialist Félix Pons and, later, revalidated the position when the command of the institution was taken by Federico Trillo (PP). “Aznar won without a majority and he needed allies. He called me Trillo and congratulated me in advance, announcing that I was going to be the president of the Congress. I knew not, because Pujol wanted to have decision-making capacity, but he would never have accepted that one of his own was presiding over a State institution ”.
Jordi Jané agrees that the role of the Catalan parties in Madrid has been blurred by giving scope to demands that are as bombastic as they are ethereal: “CiU exercised a position of centrality in Madrid, negotiating laws and becoming involved in State affairs. Regardless of which party was governing, there was a willingness to negotiate and agree. We were a group of anar per feina (get to the point), willing to complement majorities, from a demanding point of view”.
Teresa Cunillera was a deputy for the PSC and sat on the Congress Table between 2008 and 2016, reaching the position of first vice-president, when José Bono was in charge of the Chamber. She avoids making forecasts about the interest that the Catalan pro-independence parties may have in the investiture. “What is clear is that the whole of Spain has said that it does not want the right and the extreme right, and we have the responsibility of knowing how to respond. Any political person in charge has to know how to read the result of the elections”.
You can follow EL PAÍS Catalunya on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
#negotiation #Catalan #parties #Table #Congress #anticipates #investiture #maximum #tension