Pedro Sánchez decided to alter the planned script to make use of his word after each intervention by Alberto Núñez Feijóo and thus respond directly to the leader of the opposition. A face to face that lasted for three hours and after which there was a disbandment of senators that left the hemicycle of the Upper House half empty. “I have to show my surprise at the format of the debate. It has been raised as a face to face between the Government and the main opposition party and the rest of the groups are left for the rest. Out of respect for the citizenry, I am going to use the time, I also hope that you will dedicate the time necessary for the response, ”the PNV senator, Estefanía Beltrán, began complaining.
Sánchez discredits Feijóo’s leadership for “insolvency” and “bad faith”
The president listened from his seat to the intervention of the different spokespersons and with them he did wait to answer them all together at the end. Feijóo, on the other hand, left the debate after his intervention and did not listen to the rest of the groups. In general terms, the majority of spokespersons were critical of the leader of the Executive, who also had to listen to reproaches from the Catalan independence parties unrelated to the economy or energy saving.
Especially aggressive was the tone and speech of the ERC senator Mirella Cortés, who returned to the more independent discourse of the Republicans to once again blame the economic problems of the Catalans on the rest of Spain. “Do you know the name of the great drag on the Catalan economy? It’s called Spain”, she blurted out before concluding that “a majority of Catalans are already aware and that is why they are committed to independence and a Catalan republic that overcomes the mortgages of the 1978 regime”. Cortés also demanded that the President of the Government dismantle “Francoism” established in the institutions. “If you are not able to remove Francoism from the police, the army, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Courts, not only will your democratic commitment be in question, but the conflict with Catalonia will remain entrenched, and without a solution you will not be able to count on us again in future,” he warned.
The Junts per Catalunya senator, Josep Lluís Cleríes, began his speech by ironically about the reasons for the Prime Minister’s appearance. “I thought it was very good the announcement of his appearance in the Senate just after the UN ruling that proved that fundamental rights were violated in Spain, but it has turned out not to be for this. Not because of the ‘Catalangate’, but what can you expect from someone who boasts of 155”, he stated. Cleríes admitted the importance of a debate on the economic situation and on the search for energy saving measures in the context of the war in Ukraine, although he warned Pedro Sánchez not to forget the situation in Catalonia. “The economic situation is very important, but so is the other,” he said.
More focused on a debate purely related to the energy crisis, the EH Bildu senator, Gorka Elejebarrieta, openly asked Sánchez to “intervene in strategic sectors such as energy and approve far more courageous structural and permanent measures. A request for common sense that even the liberal sectors and the European Union itself no longer deny”, he demanded. After the allusion of Feijóo disfiguring the agreements reached between the Government and Bildu during the legislature, the Basque senator claimed that his formation has shown to act with high-mindedness, always putting the interests of the most unprotected and most disadvantaged popular sectors ahead “.
Another of the groups allied with the Government during the legislature was also very critical of the leader of the Executive. The senator from Más Madrid, Pablo Perpinyá, began his turn to speak by congratulating the leader of the opposition. “I feel compelled to congratulate Feijóo for a double success: he has forced the Government to discuss the reduction of VAT instead of the nationalization of electricity companies and has also made the Government assume that taxes they are a problem for the economic recovery instead of a guarantee that that recovery is socially fair”. Something that, Perpinyá said, represents an ideological defeat for the left: “We already know how it ends: they lowered VAT on electricity, prices continued to rise and electric companies continued to cover themselves.” The spokesman for the Madrid formation also disfigured the president for having turned his appearance into a debate with the leader of the opposition, an almost unanimous criticism in all the groups in the Chamber: “Mr. President, despite bipartisanship, the Senate needs a urgent constitutional reform”, he requested.