The entry of Ciudadanos on the scene complicates the strategy that ERC and EH Bildu had drawn up to force the Government to break the unity of the labor market. The passage to the front of the orange formation opens the way to a possible alternative majority that would allow the Executive to validate the text without the ‘yes’ of these pro-independence parties, which lose negotiating force when they are no longer necessary. And it is that in addition to Ciudadanos, other seven small parties that add eleven seats have not fixed their vote, but rule out taking a position against the reform if it remains with the current wording. In this group there are formations as ideologically distant as PDECat, Navarra Suma, Canary Coalition, Nueva Canarias, Compromís, the PRC
or Teruel Exists.
«We do not make a negative assessment of the reform. There are things that we would like to improve, but we make a global assessment. It is a reform that is the result of social consensus and we believe that it is good to protect the agreement reached between unions and employers, “PDECat sources point out to ABC. This formation has four seats in Congress and is waiting for the Executive to commit not to process the reform as a bill if it obtains enough seats to circumvent this step.
UPN, at the head of the two deputies from Navarra Suma, maintains a similar position. This party has not yet fixed its vote because it does not know if the Executive will end up introducing amendments that overturn the social pact, but if the reform presented is preserved, it seems difficult for them to vote against. “We value positively the agreement with unions and employers”, says its president, Javier Esparza.
This argument is repeated in the Canary Coalition, with a seat in Congress. “We agree by philosophy with anything that the employers, who are the ones who have to create jobs, and the unions, who are the ones who defend the rights of workers, agree,” says its parliamentary spokesperson, Ana Oramas. “If they agree (employers and unions), we have little to say,” warns Canarian politics, which broke the voting discipline of their party to not support the investiture of Pedro Sánchez.
Up to 174 ‘yeses’
Compromís, a regular partner of the Government, calls for more depth in the reform, but at the same time rules out voting against it. “We hoped it would be much broader and from the previous conversations we had with the minister, we believed that it would be like this,” criticize party sources. “We will try to see how the majorities are configured and we would try to deepen the reform, but it is an improvement and it would be very difficult to knock down something that is good,” they add, discarding their vote against. Sources from Nueva Canarias, PRC and Teruel Existe, with one seat each, also discard the vote against while Más País, with two seats, leaves the doors open. “The positions are far apart, but we believe that there is time for the Government to dialogue with the investiture groups,” say sources from this party.
This shelter to the agreement of unions and employers places the validation of the decree a stone’s throw away. The sum of PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos reaches 163 seats, expandable to 174 if the Government ties the ‘yes’ of PDECat, Navarra Suma, CC, NC, PRC, Teruel Existe and Compromís. In contrast, the formations that have confirmed or are betting on voting ‘no’ stand at 148 seats: PP, Vox, Junts, CUP, BNG and Foro Asturias. Even if ERC, Bildu, PNV and the former deputy of Ciudadanos Pablo Cambronero joined this block the ‘noes’ would reach 173Thus, the Government would still have room to negotiate and save the reform with the small parties.
However, Moncloa’s preference is to reach an agreement with its investiture partners. And that this parliamentary trance does not encourage the rupture. But, without a doubt, the Government is willing to use the possibility that opens with the exit of Cs from the block of negative votes. The negotiations therefore continue. The Government has maintained contacts in recent days with its three allies and in the case of Bildu it has several meetings scheduled this week. Training sources insist to this newspaper that «progress, at the moment, few. Not to mention none. There is also no rapprochement with ERC. The PNV, for its part, kept the pulse of the Government and charged against what it considers a “blackmail”, insisting that it will not support the reform if it does not reflect the prevalence of Basque agreements. Although the Government is convinced that if it depends on them, the validation will not be blocked.
The agreement is not touched
Faced with this scenario, the government’s position remains intact: the text agreed with the unions and the employers cannot be modified. It must be validated in the Congress of Deputies without being processed as a bill, thus preventing it from being open to possible alterations. In private, high-ranking executives are very clear: «It cannot be processed as a bill. It is the position of the Government. In the socialist part of the Executive they have this very clear. They argue that the agreement between employers and unions already has a balance that makes opening the text to introduce modifications may expel some of the parties.
Despite the fact that at first the socialist part aspired to abstention from the PP, something that was not liked in the purple part of the Government, in the Executive they see that route closed after the last words about the national leadership. That is why it is activated to put the partners before the mirror. In the press conference after the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, established a line of argument to force his partners to approve the text without changes: «To vote against is to vote in favor of the labor reform of the PP. Imposed, unilateral and unbalanced ”. If the norm is not validated by Congress, the labor framework established with the reform of Mariano Rajoy would be maintained.
And that is where the Executive influences: “I find it hard to believe that they are going to vote in favor of the 2012 reform”. The Government insists that it is an “absolutely positive” law and that as it is the result of dialogue between the protagonists of the labor relationship, it should be a text to which “naturally the vast majority of groups have to join.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism