Marcelino Iglesias (Bonansa, 1951) presided over the Government of Aragon for twelve years, a record not yet achieved by any other political leader. Since this socialist leader, who became Zapatero’s number 3, left the tasks of Government in 2011, he has hardly made any statements and has preferred to remain in a discreet background. In the absence of a month and a half before the regional congress in early November, Iglesias breaks his silence in this interview, in which he values Lambán’s decision to run for re-election for the third time to the Regional Secretariat. He also talks about the future role of Pilar Alegría, the quadripartite, the possible electoral boom in Teruel Existe and the situation in Aragon and Spain, among other issues.
Javier Lambán has just announced that he is presenting his candidacy for a third term as head of the PSOE-Aragón leadership. If you are elected, which is expected to be the case, you will equal your record.
The instability that Aragon had during the first fifteen years of autonomy, in which the presidents lasted an average of two years, was very entertaining, but for the Community it was negative and sterile. That we are in a more stable stage is very good for Aragon.
Does Lambán’s decision seem right to you given the illness he suffers?
If you are in good health after the operation and in good spirits, I do not see any problems. I don’t think it’s time for organic fights.
To what extent has the appointment of the Aragonese Pilar Alegría as Minister of Education and her greater public projection precipitated the announcement of Lambán?
I have no idea. Lamban’s candidacy is the natural one being president of the Community
You attended the inauguration of Alegría along with numerous representatives of the PSOE of Huesca. It is clear what the bet of the Huesca socialists is.
I attended the exchange of portfolios of the ministers for the political relationship that we had had: Pilar Alegría was part of the Department of Education in my years of government; later we shared a cycle in the Federal Executive Commission and she was also my organization assistant in the stage of organization secretary of the PSOE in Ferraz.
Regarding the bets of Huesca. I am not part of any organ or of any stretcher table. I am a simple member of the socialist party who pays his fee, who aspires not to get in the way, as exes often do, and who is willing to help if he can be useful in something. The colleagues know that they can count on me to add.
Some leader of the PSOE-Aragon was missed. I remind you that Alegría is the Aragonese Prime Minister in history.
The President of Parliament and the Councilor for Citizenship were at the event. I think the president was with the king in Roncesvalles that day. I do not think that much can be taken out of the matter.
What role do you think Alegría should play in the PSOE of Aragon?
Better ask her; He is young and I suppose he has a long time; but I think that now in the ministry he will also have a lot of work.
And the PSOE of Huesca, what prominence will it claim in the regional congress in early November?
I do not know; I have already said that I am not a spokesperson for the PSOE of Huesca, nor can I speak for them; of what I am sure is that they will act with the maturity and responsibility of always.
And Marcelino Iglesias?
No prominence. If they invite me I will attend. See, hear and shut up, I am a retiree who is still very interested in what happens and who maintains his commitments and ideas but as a spectator. My time as a political actor is over. I say it without any nostalgia. My fundamental feeling, after so many years, is rather one of deep and sincere gratitude.
Do you think Lambán will be the PSOE’s candidate for the DGA in 2023?
Better ask him. I suppose he will say it when he sees fit.
Teruel Existe has announced that it will be presented to the regional ones. Would you say that this fact will especially harm the PSOE?
He had votes from the left and the right. I think that subtracts votes from all the parties that appear in Teruel
To what do you attribute the possible electoral boom in Teruel Existe?
We will see what happens in the next elections, two years from now, which in current politics two years is a geological era. Now they are a political party and not a citizen movement. I do not share that the autonomous community has marginalized Teruel. The problems of that province come from long before autonomy and it must be borne in mind that one thing is to preach and another to give wheat. With this formula of one party for each province, this country would be very difficult to govern. In Spain, there are twenty provinces that have similar reasons to Teruel.
In the next legislature, there may be up to nine political parties in the Cortes. A hypothetical pentapartite is already being speculated to govern the Pignatelli.
If so, it will not be easy to manage. There were many who were dazzled when the new parties emerged; in Aragon it meant the end of the imperfect bipartisanship where the PAR acted as referee. The new parties, which appeared in the heat of the crises we have suffered, seemed to be going to solve the world’s problems in four days and renew politics: With all due respect, I think they are being a huge disappointment. Despite the first fascination that the novelty produced, the supposed freshness of these parties and the demonization of bipartisanship, the best democracies: Germany, Great Britain, France, the United States, have traditionally functioned with this formula and they have not done so badly. .
What balance do you make of the two years of government of the quadripartite?
Lambán has done a great job leading a very complicated coalition. In the first legislature, tempering the indomitable Podemos of Echenique and in the second, weathering a dangerous pandemic. I remember the first negotiation of the coalition, televised live, with Podemos in its stellar moment; That did not bode well and not only has it controlled the parties that are in government, but some, who remained in the opposition, seem to be asking every day and on their knees to enter the Pignatelli. That has a lot of merit.
You have twelve years of government experience with the PAR, can you imagine sharing a table with Podemos and CHA as well? What Lambán calls a transversal government.
I don’t even want to imagine it. In the twelve years in coalition with the PAR, it already seemed to me a sufficiently complex puzzle. Circumstances have changed. We may now be less demanding.
Will the electricity bill end up taking a bill to the Government of Pedro Sánchez?
The elections are two years away and I hope for better times for everyone after the pandemic. Someone would have to say to Married “if you want to go far, you can’t run away”. This race is in the background, it is not a sprint.
Do you like the newly remodeled Sánchez government? Will it last for the remainder of the legislature?
The president does not have a sufficient majority to carry out the government that he would like the most and he has ministers imposed by his partner, who may not be the ones he likes the most, but it is what there is. How long will it last? I do not know, but the normal thing in two years is that there is some change. Pedro Sánchez cannot be accused of not knowing how to change ministers no matter how important they are. Remember Carmen Calvo and Ábalos.
You have been Secretary of Organization of the PSOE with Zapatero, how do you see your party? In your opinion, does Sánchez accumulate too much organic power?
It has absolutely everything. It is what the primaries have that whoever wins cancels everything else. I am not against the primaries; I won a very tight primary in 1998 and then I presided over Aragon for twelve years; but the primaries have some drawbacks that should be corrected and we have not done so; the party is left without internal control bodies and that is not good.
He has also been a regional senator. All parties speak of the need to reform the upper house to prevent it from being a elephant graveyard as it is now and yet no one takes the first step because no one cares.
In my opinion, the Senate would have to be a territorial chamber like the German Bundesrat. The system would look more or less like this: Congress elects the prime minister, controls the government, approves budgets, debates general policy, the economy, defense, foreign policy, security, etc. and the Senate, everything transferred to the Autonomous Communities. The senators would be representatives of the autonomies. It is the model of the large federal countries (Germany or the USA). But for that, the Constitution must be modified and the right has never thought it appropriate. And so the Senate has been in stand by. In the last forty years, Germany has modified its Constitution fifty times. We have been unable to agree to make some essential reforms. It is one of our problems
What do you think of the permanent blockade of the PP in the renewal of the judiciary and the strategy against the coronavirus?
It is intolerable. It seems like a scandal to me. Casado says that he does not comply with the law because he does not like it and adds that he wants to change the system of election of the members of the Council. Changing a law is legitimate, but it is necessary to have a majority in the chambers; As long as there is no other law, the PP, like every neighbor’s child, has to comply with the law that is in force. In reality what happens is that some are interested in maintaining the current situation with majorities that are close to them, in the bodies where the judges who will have to judge their pending matters are appointed. It must be remembered that the PP has had absolute majorities and has not changed laws that it claimed to consider fundamental and not only the election of judicial bodies, but also abortion, divorce, homosexual marriage and I am afraid that it will do the same in the future with the euthanasia. A curious example is what they did with homosexual marriages. In Zapatero’s time, they took to the streets, with a lot of noise and with great scandal; A short time later, Rajoy, already president and with an absolute majority in parliament, not only did not change the law but also went to Vitoria to normalize the wedding of a party colleague. Live to see!
Finally, I ask you for a diagnosis on the current situation in Aragon, Spain and the world.
Everything will depend on the end of the pandemic at once and that we finally return to normality. If so, Spain is one of the economies in Europe that will grow the most in the coming years. With a 6% growth, some will have to modify their opposition strategy. For the country, it will be important to make good use of European funds to properly channel a new economy that will have to be digital green and sustainable.
Regarding Aragon, we are well positioned for the future, we are the center of the north; we are well communicated and we are a community that has many resources: water, clean energy, space, situation, good workers, very competitive irrigated agriculture and political stability. I am optimistic about the future of Aragon. Regarding the world: we are in a moment of great changes: the geopolitical center of the world is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific and this will produce great upheavals. The United States is no longer the only superpower. China, India, Indonesia, Korea are arriving … Whatever many opinion-makers say, the fact that the West has left Afghanistan is good news. If the vaccine ends the pandemic once and for all, we will have such an intense period of growth that it will send raw material prices and inflation skyrocketing. I also believe that in the next few years the energy problem will be solved with alternative sources, with some form of electrical accumulation and possibly with nuclear fusion. With this outlook, it is likely that we will have a new bubble, now, related to renewable energies because there will be a lot of installed power left over. The big questions for the immediate future, I think they are, the sustainability of a growth that cannot be infinite, on an increasingly smaller planet, climate change, migration and overpopulation. In twenty years we will be 10 billion, the majority in Asian countries with deep inequalities that will create many tensions and possibly instability.