Tuesday, December 1

Puig and Oltra have not held a formal meeting for eight months despite the covid crisis


The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, together with the vice president, Mónica Oltra.  |

The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, together with the vice president, Mónica Oltra. |
ROBER SOLSONA / E. PRESS

Sources of the Department of Equality and Inclusive Policies that directs Monica Oltra recognized yesterday that the department has not executed 637 million, as this media announced yesterday, but they assured that in this pandemic year the budget execution of all the ministries is expected to be lower than in previous years after two months of administrative stoppage.

In fact, the average budget execution of the regional ministries in October 2020 is 51.24%, as they maintain from the surroundings of Oltra. Despite this administrative stoppage, the Department of Equality defends that it kept the essential services up and running and in the case of benefits, it continued processing those of the Dependency and those of the Valencian Income of Inclusion and meeting the needs of the centers with the distribution of own material and social services, injecting money for emergency aid and reinforcement of personnel with an amount of 11.9 million, of which 900,000 euros went to the Alicante City Council. In the case of Dependency benefits, the Valencian Community, under the management of the Department of Equality, was the one that processed the most aid.

Ximo Puig and Mónica Oltra have not convened a formal meeting on the agenda for eight months to address the management of the pandemic. After making public this medium the low execution of the budgets of the Ministry of Equality, which is directed by the vice president and leader of Compromís, from the Oltra environment they have taken a step further and have replied that their senior positions feel isolated by the president. They insistently ask for dialogue to seek consensus. The escalation of tension is increasing and threatens to break the stability of the Valencian Government after ten days of constant disagreements over the regional budgets and the restrictions that must be imposed to contain the second wave of the covid.

The president and vice-president of the Consell chain a new controversy that fuels the spiral of tension in recent times. Now the leaders have broken communication and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic they are staging the fragility of their alliance, bringing to the surface a crisis that seemed buried. They don’t even try to convey a certain out-door friendliness anymore. Puig and Oltra have not sent a single message for nine days, as they maintain from the environment of the vice president. Throughout these months of pandemic, they have seen certain casual and plenary meetings, but they have not closed a formal meeting to talk, for example, about the dramatic situation of the centers for the elderly managed by Oltra. This is reported by sources close to the Compromís leader, who also emphasize that she has repeatedly requested to meet with Puig. The same sources acknowledge that after the Friday press conferences they have discussed other issues, but casually, without having been officially scheduled. For its part, the president’s environment reiterates that they meet every Friday to discuss the issues that go to the plenary session of the Consell and that they were together at the Cofrentes seminar.

The last time Puig and Oltra they spoke was by message early last week, when the also leader of Compromís asked him for a meeting to address the conflict opened by the regional budgets and the disagreements around the appropriation of 21 million euros that he was asking for his Department. Since then, silence and coldness. In Compromís they regret that the president does not want to have Oltra face to face and insist on the importance of having contacts to find a way out of this situation. They know that their destinies, at least for the moment, are linked and that this scenario of tension should not last any longer. However, the political upheaval between them continues to increase and, with it, nervousness begins to shoot among the leaders of the PSPV, who insist on the importance of focusing on the management of the pandemic, and also among Compromís, who criticize that the Socialists are isolating their Government partners to capitalize on the management. They say verbatim from the nationalist formation that “their personalist vision should not lead to the loss of co-governance within a coalition government.”

The complicities and agreements of the past have resulted in reproaches and mistrust between the two main partners of the Botànic. Of the formal meetings published by the Presidency from March to May, in the first wave, none was with the vice president and also the Councilor for Inclusive Policies who manages the centers for the elderly in which the incidence of covid soared. However, according to sources close to Compromís, 12 official meetings were convened with the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló (PSPV); 13 with the owner of the Territory, Arcadi Spain (PSPV); 5 with that of Universities, Carolina Pascual (designated by the PSPV); 7 with that of the Treasury, Vicent Soler (PSPV); 2 with that of Education, Vicent Marzà (Compromís); 6 with the Minister of Economy, Rafa Climent (Compromís); one with the second vice president, Rubén Marínez Dalmau (Podemos); and no meeting with that of Transparency, Rosa Pérez (Podemos-EUPV) and that of Agriculture, Mireia Mollà (Compromís).

The last tug of war began with the budgets, but it increased in revolutions when Oltra questioned the sanitary measures that the Consell is adopting. Compromís wants a strong hand and that the hotel industry be closed for around ten days to bend the contagion curve and be able to save the Christmas campaign. The vice president is not in the decision-making bodies of the Consell and from Compromís they defend that the president has made the decisions unilaterally. There is no doubt that the lack of dialogue between the two puts the Botànic on the ropes and conditions the negotiation of pending issues and immediate projects. After Oltra has insisted, through different media, on the need to speak, the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, affirmed yesterday that his concern is the pandemic. He did not want to comment on the disagreements with the vice president or on how to soften the dialogue. “I am concerned about the pandemic from the beginning, and I have always made decisions in accordance with the experts and taking into account the reality of the entire Valencian Community, which has epidemiological and life-related aspects of the citizenry,” said the chief of the Consell.

Reinforcement of personnel and emergency aid

Sources from this department assured that to verify the operation of the Ministry in terms of budget execution, we must wait until the end of the year with the closing of the budget. In total, the execution of 2019 was 90.17%; in 2018 it was 91.22%; while in 2107 it was 91.48%. As of October this year, the budget execution is 255 million executed in Social Inclusion. The initial forecast was 186 million, so in October it has been executed above 100% in the item referring to the Valencian Inclusion Income.

The budget executed in the Office as of October 2020 is 379.8 million. In this case, it has also been spent above the 100% expected at the beginning of the budget year, in which a forecast of 358.3 million was made, according to the Oltra area.

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