Wednesday, December 7

The blockade of the Judiciary occupies the Royal Palace

This October 12 there were two parades in Madrid: the military and the authorities who, after half an hour standing on the Cuesta de la Vega, decided to get out of their official cars or VTC to walk the last few meters to the Royal Palace, where the traditional reception of the National Holiday is celebrated. The traffic jam foreshadowed the long duration of the kissing of the kings, which this time had 2,500 guests after two years of decaffeinated celebration due to the pandemic. The situation forced the attendees to wait in their corresponding rooms for nearly two hours and the members of the Government and other powers of the State to await the end of the greeting in an express room, as required by protocol. “I was getting nervous, because Feijóo and Ayuso were there with everyone and the Government, locked up,” a socialist president commented when leaving.

Inside the military parade on October 12: “We whistle Sánchez and we applaud the king furiously”

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But what really occupied the Royal Palace was the blockade of the Judiciary, which for the first time did not have the representation of its president in the pomp, having resigned two days earlier as a method of pressure for an agreement that the Government has been resisting for a long time. four years for the refusal of the PP. The matter became, together with Sánchez’s slight delay in his arrival at the military parade in which he has already assumed the whistles, the focus of radio and television programming from early in the morning due to the noise of the members of the conservative sector of the CGPJ for the delay in receiving the invitations and the consequent ‘sit-in’ to Defense. In Moncloa they maintain that the invitations to the members of the governing body of the judges were issued on Friday.

Despite these absences, the Judiciary took over most of the conversations in the traditional “huddles” of the palace in which there is an unwritten rule that they can be counted. Two days after their meeting in Moncloa after the departure of Carlos Lesmes to give themselves a “last chance”, Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo defended their positions before the journalists. The leader of the PP has been confident that there can be an agreement. However, he demands a written commitment from the Government that within six months steps be taken to change the system of electing the governing body of judges. That is the great stumbling block and in the Government they recognize that they have to give something to the PP that they can sell as an achievement. The question is what and, if there are advances in that direction, they did not want to reveal them.

Sánchez made it clear that he is not going to compromise with a change in the election system that has been in force for three decades. “Congress has rejected that formula twice. That has not changed. The PP knows that this is not going to change the position of the Government and the PSOE”, he explained to the journalists. “There is not much debate on this. Do you want to comply or not with the Constitution? Do you want to continue on the path of [Pablo] Married or not? When the PP decided on the previous renewals, it was resolved in an afternoon. Here the key is whether he follows the Casado line or not”, insisted the socialist leader, who is trying to remove Feijóo from the moderate suit.

The president is convinced that it is the PP that has gotten into a “corner” and that it has to get out of it: “They are going to have to digest it.” The one who tried, unsuccessfully, to go unnoticed as much as possible was the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, who is in charge of negotiating the fine print with Esteban González Pons, appointed by Feijóo for judicial matters. “It is progressing adequately,” said Bolaños, who camouflaged himself in a corner with the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, who was the only member of the Government who followed the recommendation not to wear a tie in the face of Zarzuela’s rigid protocol, which required “dark suit” for men and “short dress” for women.

Montero, the guardian of the tax on the rich

Bolaños did not manage, however, to go unnoticed and was one of the ministers most in demand by the guests, as was the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, who has become the guardian of the tax on the rich. The person in charge of the finances of the State had well signed the great patrimonies present in the palace who will have to pay the new tax and with some she commented. But above all, Montero is approached by public officials and mayors to claim funds. “Ask your president,” he responded to a PP alderman addressing Juanma Moreno Bonilla, who was, along with the Murcian Fernando López Miras, one of the last to leave the palace. Moreno Bonilla was one of those who gave the most hugs in front of the low profile that Isabel Díaz Ayuso had, who, used to being the protagonist at all parties, went quite unnoticed this time.

The polls and the possible change of cycle in the next municipal and regional elections was also a recurring theme in what will be the last National Holiday before those elections. The Socialists are convinced that they will manage to retain all their power while the Conservatives cling to the ‘Feijóo effect’ in tune with what happened in Andalusia. “When the time comes, we will play the match. Thinking about May with what lies ahead…”, Sánchez said about those surveys. However, he made it clear that he will fight “the party until the last second” convinced that “citizens will recognize” the work that the government is doing.

Sánchez recalled that Spain “will continue to grow”, despite the initial revision of expectations and defended the “effort to lead responses to the energy crisis”. It was the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, who delved deeper into the international situation between greetings to the ambassadors present, including that of Morocco after his return to Madrid to rebuild relations half a year ago. Albares defended the need to promote the Midcat gas pipeline for the benefit of the EU as a whole against the resistance of France which, in his opinion, rejects it thinking only of his national position. The head of Spanish diplomacy pointed out that the closure of the embassy in kyiv is not considered due to the resurgence of Russia’s attacks on the Ukrainian capital, which he considered “episodic” for now.

It was approaching 4:00 p.m. when Albares interrupted the conversation to leave because he had an “important call” and the king and queen had just left the room after nearly two hours of conversations. Few people were left, but the blockade of the Judiciary persisted, waiting for the Government and PP to find a way out.