“They don’t talk to us.” “It seems that for them we do not exist.” “As we have sometimes supported government initiatives, they take it for granted that they have nothing to negotiate with our group.” These are some of the reflections made by deputies from different opposition forces. Left, nationalist or pro-independence parties that assure that Pablo Casado’s Popular Party does not even contact them when it presents initiatives in Parliament to try to gain their support, as they assure that it did when Mariano Rajoy was in government.
PP and Vox veto the reform of the Constitution to stop calling people with disabilities “disabled”
This lack of transversal communication with other groups on the part of the PP has caused that in the present legislature Casado’s party has lost all the relevant votes in the Lower House. They do not refer only to key projects, such as budgets or key votes, not even to request the appearance of ministers or to monitor specific projects, the PP goes to the rest of the parliamentary groups, monitored as it is by Vox, which still insists on that they are more of the same.
In the proposals of law, motions or requests to appear, the conservative formation has only sometimes received the support of Vox and, sometimes, of Citizens. A sum of the three rights -which in total reach 150 of the 350 congressional deputies- is insufficient to be able to implement these initiatives.
All this despite the context in which the government forces – PSOE and United We Can – are far from the absolute majority. The PP could form alternative majorities in the case of negotiating and, on some occasions, convincing regular members of the Executive with whom it has had no qualms about agreeing in the past, such as the PNV or PDeCat.
The impossible dialogue with the nationalists
Relations with these two formations are not completely broken but they have cooled down a lot in the last two years, according to different parliamentary sources that now see the agreements with a PP that tries to blend in with Vox since the arrival of Casado to the presidency of the party, placing the nationalists as one of his great enemies, whom he calls “filoetarras”, and proposing recentralizing proposals.
The figures produced by the congressional record show that parliamentary isolation of the popular, which only negotiates openly with Vox and Ciudadanos, its partners in regional and municipal governments. Of the 35 bills registered by the Popular Parliamentary Group since the XIV legislature began, in December 2019, not a single one has been approved. All have been rejected in the admission for processing, have declined or have not yet been submitted to a vote of the plenary session.
Of the more than a thousand non-law proposals registered by the PP, it has only managed to carry out 14 without modifications and another 76 after incorporating amendments from other groups. But all of them came forward in the different commissions of Congress, none in the Plenary, the highest decision-making body of the Lower House.
The lack of allies of those of Casado was reflected in the last plenary session, this week, which was held on Wednesday the 13th and Thursday the 14th. The Chamber rejected all the amendments to the totality presented by the PP to the bills on the remuneration of CO2 not emitted, the Democratic Memory and the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom, as well as the different motions and interpellations presented by those of Casado.
Something similar happened in the plenary session that was held between Tuesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 30. All the votes that were carried out were for amendments to the whole – which try to avoid their processing – presented by the PP against different legislative texts, and all they were rejected with a large majority.
Unhappy plenary sessions for the PP
The conservative formation did not get enough support to overthrow the reform proposal of article 49 of the Constitution to stop calling people with disabilities “disabled”, nor did it manage to deactivate the United We Can proposal to decriminalize so-called crimes of opinion such as insults the king, nor did it stop the reform of the Regulations of the Congress of Deputies to incorporate a new Title XIV for the regulation of interest groups or lobbies. The Plenary also rejected the Casado party’s claim to overturn the Bill to guarantee the purchasing power of pensions.
The isolation of the PP in Parliament was also graphically reflected in the two meetings held by the Permanent Delegation, the body that replaces the Plenary session outside of sessions, last summer. In that of July 21, the Chamber rejected, after more than five hours of debate, the 25 requests for urgent appearances registered all of them by the popular so that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, 13 of his current ministers, former ministers and other high-ranking officials of the Executive, such as the former head of the Sánchez Cabinet, Iván Redondo, testified before the Lower House in August.
The PP only counted in some of the votes with the support of PP, Ciudadanos and Vox, but the Government parties, the rest of the left and the nationalist and independence forces knocked down all the requests, including the one referring to Sánchez himself, that the popular They wanted him to go to Congress to explain the remodeling of his Cabinet, which had taken place just a few days before.
In the August session, the PP did manage to carry out three requests for appearance – those of the third vice president of the Government, Teresa Ribera, that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, and that of the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias – but because these interventions were accepted by the PSOE, the majority group in the chamber , by sticking to three specific crises: the rise of electricity, the departure of troops from Afghanistan and the situation of the pandemic.
Isolation will deepen, according to parliamentary sources
But the popular they saw the rest of their proposals decline again. The Permanent Deputation of that August 25 thus rejected the requests for appearance in an extraordinary session of the Plenary of Pedro Sánchez, and of the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, in an extraordinary session of the commission of his Department.
Likewise, the requests for appearance in extraordinary committee sessions of the Minister of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory, Félix Bolaños; the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto; the Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero; the Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez; the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez; and the Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop.
Spokesmen for different parliamentary groups consulted by elDiario.es venture that the isolation of the PP in Congress will increase in the coming months on the one hand due to the permanent rapprochement of the Casado leadership to the Vox postulates – reflected in its National Convention of beginning of the month – which removes any possibility of agreement with leftist or nationalist forces. And, on the other hand, because the battle of the rights will intensify as new electoral appointments approach, which will cause, according to the sources consulted, that the PP tries to mark its own profile, distancing itself even from its autonomous partners, Vox and Citizens.