Alberto Núñez Feijóo has already finished his internal tour as the sole candidate for the presidency of the Spanish PP, but his focus has not changed. Still president of the Xunta-he still does not reveal when he is going to make way for his replacement-, his occupation and concern is actually outside Galicia. This Tuesday he used a surprise appearance in the Galician Parliament on the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine to attack Pedro Sánchez. And, true to his rhetoric, he took the opportunity to be at mass and ring. He made the criticism of the platform that has called for a transport stoppage ugly for the central government, but at the same time he demanded the intervention of the Army and Police to guarantee “safe corridors” for perishable food.
Feijóo, contradiction as the art of doing politics
Military involvement was one of the ten measures that Feijóo solemnly presented to the Galician Legislative Chamber. But it was not about the measures that he is going to adopt his cabinet. They were the duties prescribed to the central government. “Responsible governments do not look for culprits or delegate their own tasks to others,” he affirmed before going on to break them down. Tax cuts, Social Security exemptions, making public contracts more flexible, speeding up European funds or the search for new markets form the core of what is required. “The central government has to take an example and make decisions immediately,” he added, before insisting over and over again that the Xunta does not have the powers to deal with the crisis. He did not mention the laziness regarding his 13-year mandate: he neither requested nor obtained any new transfer, something unheard of in the history of autonomy.
But what Feijóo extended the most was in the justification of what he called “decalogue of urgent measures.” “Spain is in the hands of two governments and orphaned by State policies,” he maintained. He was referring to the discrepancies between the Socialist Party and United We Can and, especially, Pedro Sánchez’s abrupt turn around the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. “The swerve has an impact on state politics,” he assured. He did not go into details. His diagnosis of the state of the Spanish economy, in any case, ranged between extreme harshness and catastrophism. And with a single responsible: the central government. Inflation, which affects all Western countries, failures in the energy transition -which he called “disorderly and unfair energy rupture”- or the global supply crisis are solely the result of the policies of the Sánchez Executive. So intense was his effort to divert the origin of all evil to Madrid that the opposition bitterly reproached him. “You throw balls out, look for culprits and come to this Parliament with propaganda,” snapped Ana Pontón, from the BNG. The socialist spokesman, Luis Álvarez, even made the calculations for him: “Four-fifths of his appearance, and I am generous, were to assign duties to the central government.”
Feijóo appeared before the Galician Chamber of urgency. Last week the nationalist formation in the board of spokespersons had requested it, but the PP vetoed it. This Tuesday, the right wing retracted and agreed that the president appear in person to defend his policy in the face of the crisis unleashed by the transport strike and the serious situation in the primary sector. But he barely dedicated ten minutes of the hour that his initial speech lasted to this. The novelties were not many, given that most of them had already been announced in the last Council of the Xunta last week. A small extension of the thermal social bonus that reaches 66,000 families, an advance payment of aid for farmers linked to the Common Agrarian Policy or the exemption of two months in the rates of the ports dependent on the Xunta are the main ones. Ana Pontón reproached him, however, for Galician Official Gazette Haven’t picked one up yet.
It happens that the Galician president went to the Parliament of Galicia with another roadmap and another objective. “In the central government we see the same attitude that we saw during the pandemic. His answer is none”, he came to affirm, while excusing himself: “The autonomy margin for maneuver is scarce. Collaborating with the central government does not imply assuming responsibilities that do not correspond to the Xunta de Galicia”. Actually, Feijóo applied his usual tactic. He harshly criticized the other administrations and avoided committing the one he presides over, the Galician Government, in substantive actions. The socialist Luis Álvarez saw it this way: “He uses the Parliament of Galicia for a screening that he does not have, because he has already finished his tour, and that is quite ugly, it leaves Galicia and the president of the Xunta in a rather bad place.”