The Government was controlled by the Congress of Deputies a total of 38 times during the 195 days that the second state of alarm lasted. The President of the Government, the then Minister of Health Salvador Illa and the rest of the members of the Executive appeared in up to 48 control sessions both in plenary sessions and in commissions of Congress and the Senate, that is, of the Cortes as a whole.
Some of those sessions, particularly in which the president took stock before the plenary session on how the fight against the pandemic was taking place approximately every two months, lasted more than seven hours.
Parliament, in reality, was only fully closed for 18 working days during the first state of alarm decree, which began on March 19, 2020 and lasted until April 17 of that same year.
The President of the Government appeared three times before the plenary session to make those balances of the second state of alarm, which lasted from November 9, 2020 to May 9, 2021, and the Minister of Health relieved him on another occasion. All those plenary sessions were monographic and extensive on the coronavirus. In the specific commissions of Congress, the head of Health appeared seven times and the rest of the ministers 27 times. On another occasion, Minister Illa went to the corresponding Senate committee and the other ministers did so in the Upper House nine times.
The groups that make up the opposition presented a total of 29,675 questions in Congress in those months and 15,919 in the Senate; as well as 1,615 requests for reports. The Government assures that it responded, in different phases, to almost all these 47,209 requests for information, although in many cases it did so in a generic manner.
When the Constitutional Court already ruled that the first decree of a state of alarm violated the rights of parliamentarians to control the work of the Executive, in a vote that was divided by six votes in favor to four, the president of the Cortes, the socialist Meritxell Batet, already issued a statement in which he denied that accusation and explained that in reality the Congress was only closed for all purposes “18 business days and circumscribed in the parliamentary sphere to the deadlines applicable to the presentation of amendments, to the initiatives legislative and the computation related to the written control initiatives ”.
On April 13, 2020, the activity was resumed and in the following months, until July, 25 plenary sessions and 80 commissions were held, 16 of them from Health, in the midst of the crisis of the virus. The president of the Cortes already explained, after the Constitutional ruling on the first state of alarm, that the Chamber had held those sessions and had continued “to process all parliamentary initiatives, with special attention to those related to the declaration and extension of the state of alarm, the appearances of the Government and the validation of Royal Decree-laws, as well as the maintenance of parliamentary control, which was never suspended, responding in that period of eighteen business days to more than a thousand questions from the deputies ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.