January 21, 2022 5:24 pm

Sánchez starts 2022 without a majority to get key laws from the coalition




Pedro Sánchez has passed the first half of the legislature with the oxygen balloon of two General State Budgets approved consecutively and within the constitutionally established deadlines. Something that had not happened in our country since 2014. In his opinion, this is the best guarantee he has to offer to the Spanish: the recovery of a certain institutional stability after a period of five years until the end of 2019 characterized by instability. Of which Sánchez himself was the main protagonist. Although now I want to project another image.

2022 has numerous tests so that the Government can measure its strength and the health of its parliamentary stability. If these tests are passed, it will be much more feasible to exhaust the mandate than if the setbacks begin to accumulate.

Although, in any case, in Ultimately, the decision is the sole responsibility of the President of the Government.

The official message is that they want to extend the legislature until its term at the end of 2023. Internally, the legal possibility that the elections are in the first week of 2024 has even been debated. There are reports from the State Bar requested by the Executive of Mariano Rajoy in 2015 which in principle endorse taking as a reference as the starting date of the legislature not the constitution of the Cortes but the date on which the Prime Minister manages to be invested, something that happened on January 7, 2020.

However, internally it is recognized that the exact date is still a mystery. “Not even the president, who is the only one on whom he depends, could approximate the exact day today,” acknowledges a senior PSOE official. What is consolidated is the idea of ​​not precipitating the electoral advance in the short term. As much as the polls are recalibrating the advantage of the PP until it is almost extinguished, no poll guarantees the PSOE to maintain the Government. They don’t even improve their arithmetic. While there would be a real risk of losing the Government. Although in the party there are other sources, especially among the territories where the PSOE governs, who do not dare to be so resounding. And they do believe that once the summer of this year is over, the polls can arrive “at any moment,” privately acknowledges a Socialist president.

A labyrinth in Congress

Sánchez has managed to carry out two Budgets by expanding the majority of the investiture. Basically thanks to being able to consolidate the votes of ERC and Bildu in support. “Everything costs but we get it all”, like to sum up a minister. And that is precisely what the partners feel bad: the Government’s feeling of sufficiency and the intention of carrying out their projects without sufficient negotiation. The warnings that someday patience will run out have been recurring by ERC, PNV or Compromís. Virtually everyone who supports the government has at some time stated that they do not feel well treated. But in the end they always support the government. So far this legislature, 47 laws have been passed.

But 2022 is a key moment. Pedro Sánchez is trying a kind of moderation convinced that there are votes that the PP will not be able to reach while walking hand in hand with Vox. And this year there are a series of important tests to check the health of the parliamentary alliance that gives life to the coalition. The first test will take place in the coming weeks with the validation of the labor reform. Pedro Sánchez insists that he does not want changes to the text. And that today is not acceptable for the parties that support the Government.

But one of the crucial moments of this first part of the year will be when the Housing Law is finally sent to the Congress of Deputies. Although it formally depends on the Ministry of Transport, the norm is one of the pillars on which United We can support the agreement with the PSOE. The rule has passed the first filter of the Council of Ministers after negotiations that were delayed in time. But in United We Can it has bothered that the PSOE did not keep its word to send it to the Congress of Deputies before the end of the year. The Government has not yet received the mandatory report from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ). The position that the PSOE adopts regarding its recommendations will already be a good thermometer of with what spirit it wants to take it to Congress. The regular partners already denounced when the rule was approved that was very far from their claims. In the Executive they are optimistic because they believe that ERC will agree to support the measure because they need a state legislative umbrella to protect their autonomic rule. But the stage is still wide open.

Another issue for which the Government does not have a majority is for its Democratic Memory law. Which is parked because there are no guarantees that it can be approved. If the government decides to take it to the courts now, it risks defeat. Labor reform, Housing and Memory are three key norms for the coalition that, at this time, Sánchez cannot consider approved.

Another element of tension with the partners will come with the proposal of law that UP to “Protect freedom of expression” and that includes changes in the Penal Code. In which the decriminalization of crimes such as insults to the Crown, against religious sentiments and glorification of terrorism is incorporated. There is no agreement between PSOE and UP and the period of partial amendments is being extended from September. In the reform of the Citizen Security Law PSOE and UP did reach an agreement that in the first part of the year they must try to definitively approve a rule in which they also need ERC, PNV and Bildu.

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