Friday, December 3

Co-government crisis, with coalition in the background

It seems that in the end, the most serious crisis suffered by the coalition government has been closed with a solution that has been called methodological. However, everything indicates that the method resource is not going to be enough either. Swords are still high among the contenders also in terms of content, between the repeal of the PP labor reform advocated by the vice president and UP labor minister and the balanced reform of said counter-reform, now defended by the vice president and minister of economy of the PSOE, as well as between the advances of the negotiation with the social agents and the only preliminary calls by the minister of economy. Proof of this is that, apart from the method in which the leadership of the Ministry of Labor is maintained in the negotiation of social agreement, the participation in it of the Ministry of Economy and Inclusion is now added, and if all that is not If it were enough, it is the President of the Government himself who, with his presence at a forthcoming meeting prior to that of the agreement, takes action on the matter. In any case, something more than methodology.

A solution that has satisfied the two parties of the governing coalition, which seem to have buried the hatchet, but which has left a bitter feeling of greater mistrust among government partners, in the unions, and among UP and Voters. on the left in general, but above all it has ended up lowering the role and profile of the Minister of Labor within the Government. In short, it gives the impression that the PSOE and the CEOE are the apparent winners of a battle, in any case Pyrrhic, within the coalition government, since the deterioration has been of both and of the Government as a whole. In addition, the alliance between the PSOE and the CEOE is made explicit, which has managed to limit the influence of the UGT and CCOO in the Government. With this, the Government is politically rebalancing itself towards the center, as the sense of the socialist congress had already announced beyond its most epidermal and effective manifestations.

It is true that the discrepancies between the government partners are not new, nor is it that they noisily transcend public opinion. assuming the implication of the President himself, opting for the side of his party and by extension of the Vice President of Economy, and above all that these changes will project their effects on the contents of the labor reform to be negotiated and on the dynamics of social agreement itself , providing the CEOE with greater bargaining power and therefore greater capacity to influence the result that will ultimately be sent to the European Union within the commitments for the receipt of recovery funds. Nothing more and nothing less.

In parallel, the paradox of the minimum sentence replaced by a fine and the maximum penalty of disqualification applied to deputy Alberto Rodríguez of Unidas Podemos has only added fuel to the fire in the relationship crisis between the two support groups for the Government, also in the Congress of Deputies and precisely at the most delicate moment of a budget negotiation with the parliamentary partners, which was already difficult.

The problem that has emerged with this crisis is that the origin of the coalition government, unprecedented in Spanish democracy, after the rupture, the call for new elections and the failure of the sorpaso, was based on the reluctant acceptance by the PSOE of the incorporation of UP to the Government and more in a climate of animosity than of confidence, as well as in a hastily negotiated program basically focused on the deconstruction of the policy of cuts and austerity of the last PP governments, but above all in the struggle over the number and names to be incorporated at the head of the ministerial portfolios and vice presidencies, from the majority party to the governing partner.

In short, we opted for a shared government or co-government of one-color ministries, and not for a mixed or coalition government, which would have required, in addition to previous experience, a base of mutual trust, a greater detail of the government program and above all share the responsibilities in each ministry or at least contemplate the participation of the two parties in the key positions of the most strategic ministries for the development of the priorities of the progressive project. For example, in the Ministry of Labor, in the Ministry of Finance, Ecological Transition, Justice, Health or Interior. Quite the contrary, United We can join the periphery of a government that is structured with the aim of making the main areas that can influence power waterproof for the left. The only exception, and half, had so far been the Ministry of Labor.

The ministerial organization itself is made thinking about the hypothesis of the departure of UP from the Government whose permanence, from the first day, is understood as something provisional. That is why the ministries have functioned since then as watertight compartments of each partner, an autonomous operation and each with the logic of each party, and therefore with frequent public disagreements and with an added difficulty to achieve agreements, achieved ‘ in extremis’ and gestated by jerks as a consequence of the difficulty of approaching from previous almost closed positions, which has been at the origin of a complex dynamic and cyclical crises. It is the consequence of a government pact that arose from the sum of electoral weaknesses after elections caused by populist logic and the disregard for the potential of the parliamentary pact. A logic in which the echoes of the sorpaso still resounded, along with the populist climate of simplification, overacting and pulses between the parties.

A good example of this has been the eventful process experienced by the Housing Law project, until its recent approval, or also that of the Law of Guarantees of sexual freedom from the other part of the Government. The closest antecedent in the Ministry of Labor has been the rise in the minimum wage, which finally resulted in the apparent defeat of Vice President Calviño and frequent friction with the Ministry of Inclusion and Social Security and in particular with the statements of Minister Escrivá , first in relation to the contribution periods and more recently on the delay in the retirement age as an alternative to offset the effect of the baby boom on the social security coffers. Both issues caused, in addition to discomfort, divisions within the social consensus.

The most recent political determinants of the crisis within the coalition have been the resignation of Vice President Iglesias and the consequent change of interlocutor on the part of UP in the person of Yolanda Díaz, together with the reshuffle in the Government of the ministers of the PSOE and the main officials in the Moncloa cabinet, all this had already modified the initial balance of forces to the detriment of United We Can. Because it is not the same to be an external ideological reference than to be in the kitchen of the Government and the Presidency in Moncloa.

But also and fundamentally there have been the congresses of the government parties, firstly that of Podemos, which returns to the strategy of sorpaso, but without Pablo Iglesias and with Yolanda Díaz in the chapel, due to the incipient germination in its bosom of strategic divergences that may be difficult to manage. In this sense, the different intensities of the reactions to the two crises mentioned are very revealing, the parliamentary one with the Supreme Court and the last one of the Labor Reform, which have shown two mentalities that still coexist in United We Can. There has not been the same reaction either in form or in tactics when responding to two different paradigms. This variable may have consequences for the next year.

On the other hand, the PSOE congress, once reconciled with itself and under the undisputed aegis of Sánchez, has reaffirmed itself in the social democratic space, even as a European reference.

Also the public image of future candidates in the polls, in particular that of Vice President Díaz compared to President Sánchez, may have influenced the noisy management of the crisis.

In short, the co-government model and its compulsive functioning is the one that has entered into crisis, to which a solution is now being given as if it were a coalition, but exclusively for the Ministry of Labor and its labor reform, when the Government as a whole it remains a shared government. A strange departure from the agreed model, but also partial and asymmetric that does not guarantee the solution to the underlying problem of the final content of the repeal or the partial reform of the labor counter-reform imposed by the PP government, and which if generalized will accentuate mistrust and interference between the ministries of both parties, if the increasingly necessary reconsideration of the co-government continues to be avoided.