Tuesday, September 21

Citizens’ weakness complicates Pedro Sánchez’s plan b




The last two weeks have shaken the Spanish political board with a first clear consequence: PP and Ciudadanos, formerly preferred partners and called to some formula of future understanding, are today further away than ever. Already before the panorama became even more curled, ABC gave an account of La Moncloa’s intentions. “If they are from the center, there may be agreements”, they were saying. A vocation of understanding that has already been explored in the Budgets and that Ciudadanos contemplates, the pact with the PSOE, as a strategic option on an equal footing with the pact with the PP. Although the political moment points more to the socialist-liberal entente.

In that fracture of the right pretending to find revenue Pedro Sánchez. That Ciudadanos remains alive limits the possibilities of growth of the PP. And that it also does so by opening up specific pacts with the PSOE. That is the ideal setting for La Moncloa: the right divided into three and the brawl between them.

But the revolution of events from the motion of censure in the Region of Murcia has placed Citizens in an extreme weakness that threatens their future. The positive, for Sánchez, is that what remains in Ciudadanos is already defending the possibility of pacts with the PSOE.

The fundamental question that complicates this wide range of partners with which Pedro Sánchez intends to shield himself is precisely whether Ciudadanos will hold out. And it is that hehe vocation of Pedro Sánchez to seek understandings with Citizens is in the medium and long term. But also immediately. The recent crisis has had consequences for Citizens that have yet to be calibrated.

May 4, with the elections in Madrid, is the litmus test. But the consequences are already being felt. Of the ten deputies in the Congress of Deputies, two have resigned last week. Marta Martín, head of the list for Alicante, has left her minutes. But the Sevillian deputy Pablo Cambronero, who will go to the Mixed Group, has not done the same. From now on Inés Arrimadas negotiates for nine deputies.

Every vote counts

The Reduction of the weight of Citizens complicates things for the Government in its search for a majority that does not need ERC and Bildu. And that a part of the PSOE yearns for and that in La Moncloa they already wanted to explore. Pedro Sánchez knows that agreements with those of Inés Arrimadas can help to focus his position.

But the arithmetic is very complicated. The coalition has 155 seats. Adding PNV and Cs to 170. From there, you have to start calculating to reach 176. With Teruel Existe, Nueva Canarias, Más País and Compromís 175 seats are added. These are stable allies of the Government, so a majority against it is not feasible.

But if the relationship with ERC and Bildu is complicated – in the PSOE they see the first more feasible than the second -, need to consolidate some additional support between less common partners: Regionalist Party of Cantabria, Canary Coalition and BNG. Or the four deputies of the PDECat. Without the removal of the deputy for Citizens, who has gone to mixed, none of these parties would be necessary. In this cracked landscape, every vote counts.

The Government has, yes, a comfortable majority as long as it has ERC and Bildu. But that is precisely an underground pulse in the coalition between PSOE and United We Can. In the medium term, the Socialists want a scenario of variable geometry in which PNV and Cs complete the support of the coalition. While Pablo Iglesias always claims, and until now has achieved, that ERC and Bildu should be the main allies.

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