Wednesday, May 18

The digestion of the pardons and the interim in various ministries bring the government crisis closer


When this Tuesday 29 the presidents of the Government and the Generalitat were seen in La Moncloa, in full hangover after the granting of pardons to the nine independence leaders condemned by the you process, the dialogue with Catalonia operation will have been activated. The meeting, more formal than political, is part of Pedro Sánchez’s round of contacts with the regional presidents, although it is expected that an approximate date will emerge from the meeting of the dialogue table on the Catalan conflict. The independence movement will not object to it being held after the summer and everything indicates that this will be the case as long as the Government is in favor of using all of July to build the framework for the negotiation and, once it has been drawn, sit at the table of I work in September. Another thing will be the rhythm of the work and the time horizon to reach an agreement that allows the legal-political –but also emotional– fit of Catalonia in Spain.

The Government hopes that the independence movement will make a move after the pardons

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When Aragonés and Sánchez meet this week, they will do so knowing that the deadline that Junts has demanded from ERC to obtain any results from the dialogue table is two years. And also that the Government believes that this is a reasonable time horizon to advance in the solution. A happy ending? For the Executive of Sánchez, it would undoubtedly be the recovery of the parts sectioned by the Constitutional Statute that the Catalans endorsed in a referendum in 2006 and that the independence movement parks the mantra of self-determination or at least “recognizes that with this generation it does not It will be “, as the PNV did after the failure of the Ibarretxe Plan, socialist sources long for.

“Basque nationalism, which has not renounced the independence of Euskadi, had its own you process and today he is aware that this is not the time, “adds the same interlocutor, for whom it is important that the Republicans fill the” meanwhile “proclaimed by Gabriel Rufián with content and institutional framework, which will require dozens of out-of-focus meetings until arrive in the autumn of 2023. In November of that year it would be four years since the last generals and Sánchez trusts that by then the economy will grow again with vigor, the pandemic has been forgotten and the Catalan conflict is channeled. For now, the proposal That the Government will bring to the dialogue table in September, say sources working on the agenda for the reunion, contains all the demands made by the Generalitat in the last decade, mainly economic and infrastructure, but also on social and competence policies.

The Constitution, the only red line

When the president of the Generalitat returns to Barcelona from his interview with Sánchez, he will do so with an invitation for the independence movement to move its file and, in September, overcome maximalist positions and bring proposals to the dialogue table that are within the constitutional framework. That will be the only insurmountable line for the Government of Spain until moving towards a consensus solution.

When on Wednesday 30 Sánchez left the Congress of Deputies after his appearance to explain the reasons that led him to grant pardons to the leaders of the you process, the Government believes that the controversy over the grace measure will be amortized and that after its “persuasion campaign” and the concerted deployment of the ministers by the media, it will be difficult to find someone from the progressive community who is against the decision.

When the president arrives on July 3 at the Federal Committee of the PSOE, the internal criticism about the cancellation of the prison sentences for the independentists will have subsided. In fact, those that remain internally are already lukewarm. Even Felipe González, the most critical of critics, has asked this week for dialogue, talking and seeking spaces for understanding, which is what the “political operators” should do. In any case, the highest body between congresses of The Socialists is no longer a space for debate or a place where the strategy or decisions of the Secretary General are questioned.That was before the particular and traumatic October 1 of the Socialists.

When the current tenant of La Moncloa meets the Conference of Presidents in mid-July, the echoes of the pardons will have already faded, the Government will try to turn the page of COVID-19 with more than half of the population already vaccinated and He will talk a lot about the distribution of European funds, economic recovery and post-pandemic Spain.

When Pablo Casado goes on vacation this summer, he will do so knowing that in his inflamed crusade against the Executive he has been left alone, beyond his argument with Vox and the castaways of Ciudadanos. The support of the unions, the president of the CEOE, the businessmen and the Catalan bishops has also joined the Episcopal Conference. Its general secretary, Luis Argüello, has asked in relation to the Catalan conflict to abandon “immovable attitudes” that make it more difficult to address an “increasingly entrenched” issue. He did not need to put names or acronyms, but he did emphasize that the hierarchy of the Church “is with the dialogue.”

A cabinet that identifies with recovery

And when all this has happened and the month of July progresses, everything indicates that Sánchez will have a new Government. Among those who advised him to postpone the remodeling of his cabinet until after the summer, specifically on the eve of the Federal Congress of the PSOE in October, and those who whispered that it is better to do it before the August holidays, the seconds are gaining weight. In Ferraz they take for granted that it will be in July, that the remodeling will be profound and that the new ministers will have a marked political profile. Not in vain, after the granting of pardons, the accelerated rate of vaccination and the rain of millions that are about to arrive from Europe, Sánchez “wants to give a new impetus to the remainder of the legislature and that the new team be identify clearly with the economic recovery, “say socialist sources.

All the roads traveled by Sánchez during June therefore lead to an early government crisis. “It is the best way to end the interim in which some ministers find themselves and even their second levels, who have been on the tightrope for weeks and have gone into shock,” state government sources. Among those who are seen more outside than inside are those who have already assumed the withdrawal and are only waiting to be replaced and those who “are campaigning to save themselves,” says a member of the Government. Therefore, that of the interim, adds the same source, is an argument in favor of the remodeling of the cabinet being faced before August arrives and once the debate on pardons has been amortized as soon as June 30 passes.

Nothing is known about those who enter and those who leave, beyond the rumors spread within the Government itself, where there is speculation about the replacement of the holders of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Culture, Social Security and even Justice. Possible substitutes? There are, there are. But, as they say in the PSOE, “if you want to kill a minister before he is, the best thing is to put him in a pool.” The antecedents are counted by dozens and the names that Sánchez shuffles are only, for the moment, in his head. Only he, as the “creative” press releases of the Secretary of State for Communication say, has that prerogative. And also that of the moment. We will see…



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