It was past 8 in the afternoon when one of the most tense moments of the debate on the state of the nation arrived. It was the turn of the ERC spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, who has questioned Pedro Sánchez’s turn to the left with his new announcements and has taken advantage of the ‘face to face’ meeting to expose bullets used by the Moroccan gendarmerie in the massacre of Melilla. The president from his seat has shown indignation with the Republican deputy and has reproached him as soon as the reply began. “He has been seriously mistaken. The mere display of bullets in this chamber is an unforgivable mistake”, the socialist began, and while Rufián reproached him for what happened at the Melilla fence, showing the projectiles, he told him from his seat: “I am not a racist”.
Immigration, a pending issue for the Government
“Today he has risen from the left, congratulations,” Rufián told him as soon as he began his speech in reference to the measures he announced this morning, such as a tax on energy companies and banks. “He has come to give us big headlines for a better future. I have come to give you information about a present that is much worse”, he warned before listing some figures, such as that people are “3,000 euros poorer”; that 30% of the population no longer buys clothes; that 96% of cleaners have anxiety and 40% depression; or that the gender gap is already 36%; there are 11 suicides a day today or that 23,000 large multinationals pay less taxes than the self-employed, among others. “This is the state of your nation,” Rufián told Sánchez.
Criticism of Rufián to Yolanda Díaz
Sánchez has replied that it would have been good if he had “risen from the left” the day the labor reform was voted and has reminded him that 80% of new contracts are indefinite thanks to an error by a PP deputy that allowed the approval of what is the star measure of the coalition. Rufián has questioned the ambition of that reform that the Republicans did not support for, among other things, not toughening severance pay. Thus, he has addressed Yolanda Díaz to ask for her support for an initiative that aims to expand her labor reform. The socialist has also reprimanded Rufián for that attitude. “What obsession do you have with the second vice president?”, He has asked him before remembering that she cannot intervene in that debate. “What an obsession because he took a photo with CEOE and not with ERC”, added the president, who recalled that not only the employers were in the agreement but also the UGT and CCOO unions.
It had not been Rufián’s only criticism of Díaz, with whom the relationship suffered a lot precisely in the negotiation of the labor reform. “It takes much more to stop Feijóo and Abascal than to smile a lot, say that everything is going to be fine and, above all, try to talk all the time without disturbing anyone,” assured the Republican deputy. “Much more is needed,” he added, “and that something else is military in utility.” “We leftists need a military in utility. and that has a name: fill refrigerators. We need to stock people’s fridges. Military in what is most useful, in what is most shared, and that is school, work and family”. In short, Rufián has said, “learn, work and love”. He has also told Díaz that “before adding, you have to listen” in allusion to the name of his project and again reproaching his attitude regarding the labor reform.
He has also thrown a dart at the government parties regarding Commissioner Villarejo’s audios by showing “support” for United We Can, but warning: “Hopefully now every time we say that of the following, you pay attention to us”. In addition, he has taken the opportunity to ask Sánchez to “legislate against media contamination.” “This is also the state of your nation, because your nation many times more than a democracy has been a platocracy”, he has expressed: “Just as it is legislated against environmental pollution, because it does not allow breathing in a healthy way, just as it is legislated against noise pollution because it does not allow us to sleep in a healthy way, we should legislate against media pollution because it does not allow us to think in a healthy way”.
Without a doubt, the most tense moment was when Rufián blamed Sánchez for the Melilla massacre. “Why is killing with sticks on the southern border less serious than killing with bombs in Ukraine?” He has asked himself: “What is the difference between Putin massacring Ukrainians and [el presidente de Turquía, Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan massacring Kurds? The first are blond and blue-eyed and the other are not. From there, the Republican has taken some red bullets from his pocket and placed them on the lectern explaining that they had been collected at the Melilla fence where 37 people were killed. Sánchez has been very angry. “Not you, the Moroccan gendarmerie. And you said it wasn’t that bad, ”he said while the president answered him annoyed from his seat since he said those words before seeing the images of what happened. However, the president has avoided questioning Morocco’s actions.
“Why is the 2% increase in defense that the US is asking for so important? Is it to protect the people or to please NATO? I’m telling you: in exchange for all this, NATO considers Ceuta and Melilla NATO territory and in the face of any threat NATO’s defense will come in and that’s valid for a jump over the fence of Ceuta and Melilla”, added Rufián .
“Today you made a serious mistake. The mere display of bullets in this chamber is an unforgivable mistake”, the president told him visibly angry at the beginning of his reply in which he said that he should not do it “not even for evidentiary purposes” or as a “gimmicky” method, although The president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, had recriminated him. “Congress is the temple of the word. Bullets entered here and were brought by coup plotters. You were wrong, Your Honor”, Sánchez snapped, who has put the socialist bench on its feet before reproaching him for having distributed “the leftist card” again.
The tone has softened in the second confrontation, when Rufián has lowered decibels against Sánchez and the rest of the Government. Although he has mentioned the labor reform again, he has said that he has not done it because he had “no one’s obsession”, alluding to Yolanda Díaz, but because he believed that it should have been approved with the entire left, despite not having the approval of the patronal.
Lower the tone to resume the dialogue
The second intervention of the ERC spokesman has been focused on the dialogue table between the Government and the Catalan Generalitat. Rufián, who has claimed the position that ERC is having despite the clash with Junts, has reproached Sánchez for having only “literally dedicated a sentence to the political conflict that the Spanish State is still experiencing with Catalonia” during the morning speech. And he has assured her that this confrontation “either is resolved with judges, police and sticks, which does not work, or the negotiated route, of dialogue.” “The failure of the negotiation route is not a failure of the independence movement, it would be a failure again of the Spanish left. They haven’t learned anything from Zapatero”, he snapped at the Socialists. “If you don’t give solutions to the people of the Basque Country and Catalonia, not only in the social sphere, these people will beat us by raising flags,” he added, alluding to the PP and Vox benches.
In his response, Sánchez thanked him for the change and told him that the Government is going to bet “always on dialogue”, although he has also asked the ERC and the rest of the pro-independence forces in Catalonia to dialogue with those who do not advocate for the independence. “I hope that soon we can conclude an agreement”, he has concluded, ending the plenary session this Tuesday, after almost nine hours. Sánchez arrived at the debate on the state of the nation precisely after thawing relations with the Generalitat, which had been practically broken with the espionage scandal. This Friday the president will receive the head of the Government, Pere Aragonès, in Moncloa.