Friday, November 26

The constitutional obscuration

The fate of discredit that the 1978 Constitution is gradually sinking into is extremely sad. A constitution that was born in its day as a collective promise, a democratic illusion capable of uniting the entire political arc, from the Communist Party to the Popular Alliance de Fraga and that, according to all indications, his days will end darkened, withered and emptied of all vital sap by those who claim to speak in his name.

The traces of its decline are many, but some stand out especially. In the first place, the Numantine refusal to reform it. The only two occasions in which the parliament has modified the constitutional text it has made it forced – “pressured”, if you prefer the euphemism – from outside. One, in 1992, to make it possible for the citizens of the European Union to stand as candidates for municipal elections, something to which the Maastricht Treaty obliged us. Another, in 2011, due to the pressures austericides of the troika, in an episode that the usual defenders of “national sovereignty” tend to ignore.

It is a particularly significant and lacerating democratic anomaly. If the fundamental pact that links citizens with the institutions is not renewed from time to time, there is nothing strange that disaffection and disenchantment germinate in the social body. The unspeakable sense of heresy that surrounds among us the mere mention of the possibility of a constitutional reform can only be approached from the parameters of psychoanalysis: it is simply not rational. The expression in use – “open the melon”, as one who approaches a dangerous explosive device (with which our democracy came, apparently, to the world) and not a legal text freely drawn up by all – already says it all. Since at least 2008, there is a supermajority advocates for reform, but again and again this is assumed, for some strange reason, as impossible. Everything happens as if, instead of us being the sovereigns and owners of the Magna Carta, it was her, endowed with her own will and willing not to be tampered with by upstarts, the owner and mistress, the citizens being her vassals. More than 70% of Spaniards are for reform, for more than a decade, but it is not that it is not reformed, it is that it is not even attempted. It is anathema.

The fundamental elements that are in question are, moreover, the historical ones of our constitutionalism. The territorial question, first of all. The situation in Catalonia would have been more than enough reason – what else, if not? – to proceed with a renewal of a pact that has now become obsolete. Faced with this political response – such as the one that was approached in Canada with Quebeq and in Great Britain with Scotland – here it was preferred to load two cruisers with riot control and go to the conflict blackjack in hand. Of course, the judicialization of the Catalan case has poisoned it without advancing one iota in its solution. Some seem to think that, since the rupture of a part of the Catalan population with the Constitution is no longer visible, the thing has been solved. But a deeper look does not sympathize well with such a diagnosis: for the first time in history, pro-independence voters have been a majority not only in seats, but also in number, something that never before, not even in the worst times of the year. you process, had happened. For those who know what the word “future” means, the problem has not been mitigated, but on the contrary.

The monarchy, second. There is little to say about the amount of discredit that the institution has inflicted upon itself after the abdication of Juan Carlos I. The corruption of the emeritus, moreover, is not perceived as an isolated event, but rather as the tip of the iceberg of a system in which it seemed to be allowed. And it happens that, once exposed to public debate, the question of the Crown can no longer escape the question of its democratic legitimacy. Juan Carlos I obtained it for his career after the death of Franco, whose heirs he betrayed. But it remains to be seen if Felipe will be able to validate that feat in some way. For the moment, and unlike his father, he has lost to Catalan nationalism and, by extension, to the other non-Spanishists. And on the left flank, the merely strategic reasons why communism allied itself with the monarchy after Franco’s death have disappeared. The horizon is another.

But it is perhaps in the question of the perception of the political and judicial structure where the fissure is greatest, and that is to say. The discredit suffered by the sphere of representation already seems chronic. The image of justice, for its part, is not much better. We continue to be one of the countries of the European Union in which citizenship perceive that Justice is less independent of political power. An evil that, far from remitting, is also exacerbated.

All these tensions boil in a closed pot in which some strive to prevent any constitutional reform, that is, to open a valve that releases the pressure. They also do so by unilaterally appropriating the elements that, insofar as they are supposed to be of all, should unite us: the flag, the nation and the 1978 Constitution. This last appropriation is relatively recent, and it is the one that has supposed a mutation with with respect to the first decades after 1978. The flag and the nation were already born, to a large extent, under the stigma of being above all of some more than others. The Constitution, however, belonged to everyone. The determination of some to call themselves “constitutionalists” is nothing other than the demonstration that, deep down, they are not. Or that they do not understand the Constitution as an agreement of all, but as a swallow of some. The pathetic election of the members of the Constitutional Court to which we are witnessing these days cannot be explained by itself: if you look at it with perspective, it is nothing more than one more shadow in a process of obscuration that comes from afar.

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