Thursday, February 25

The power struggle in the Government is sharpened by the equality laws | Spain

The internal tensions in the government coalition are intensifying and they no longer even have the excuse of the Catalan electoral campaign. This time it is not pensions, rents, or the minimum wage, which continue to cause differences, but the key laws of the Ministry of Equality, a very sensitive issue, which have caused the first large divided vote of the partners and an injury deep that won’t stop bleeding. United We can demand that the PSOE let it direct the Equality policy and the socialists consider that Pablo Iglesias’ group has crossed all lines by moving with others, such as ERC, to try to overturn the Zerolo law.

Equality may seem like a minor ministry, because historically it did not have much relevance and in fact it was never its own department. In the last government of Pedro Sánchez before the coalition he was within the vice-presidency of Carmen Calvo. But in the history of the PSOE-United negotiations, Podemos has a decisive importance. The last message that Carmen Calvo and Pablo Echenique sent each other in the failed negotiation of July 2019, which led to the repetition of the elections, was from the vice president to the Podemos negotiator: “Pablo, is it not worth it with Equality either?” He had no response because he sent it on WhatsApp and Echenique, more aware of the Telegram, was slow to see it. And when he did it was already broken. But it is proof that the PSOE resisted until the end before handing it over.

Finally, Pedro Sánchez yielded Equality, and Irene Montero became a minister. And precisely the first great fight of the coalition came in February of last year, on account of the sexual freedom law, the call of “only yes is yes.” A year later, and with that rule blocked since then between reports from the Judiciary and internal discussions, the first break between the PSOE and United We Can in an important vote in Congress, apart from their usual discrepancies on matters related to the Monarchy, has come up with another law of equality, the so-called Zerolo law, presented by the PSOE without an agreement with United We Can, which tries to assert its control over that management area.

In the group of Churches, they point out that the Socialists, who have practically all the relevant departments of the Government, should at least let them direct politics in the five that they manage. The Socialists, on the contrary, consider it a real betrayal that United We can maintain contact with almost all groups, including the PP, on Tuesday to probe them and even pressure them, according to the PSOE version, in order to vote against the admission for processing. of the zerolo law and thus be able to knock her down. United We can abstained, but the law passed with ease because the PP also did. ERC, which found itself in the middle of a crossfire between the PSOE and United We Can, decided to support the socialists and vote yes.

In Unidos Podemos they point out that they only spoke with the spokesmen of other groups as is usually done to probe, but not to overturn the law. The truth is that this vote, added to the problems that the ley trans, Another star measure from Irene Monte’s ministry, questioned by a part of the Socialists, has caused enormous internal tension. And, despite everything, the sources consulted insist that the breakdown of the coalition is still not anywhere near the table, because no one is interested. And less so now that the opposition has been very weakened after the Catalan elections and the Government trusts in a truce of up to two years without elections in which it can calmly design a long-term strategy to execute the newly approved budget and above all spend the huge European fund of up to 72,000 million.

But, at the same time, nothing indicates that the tension is going to decrease. Unlike. Every time there have been sensitive issues and the blockade has been reached, it has been resolved with a meeting between Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias. Government sources point out that this time, probably next week, after the Catalan hangover is over, the leaders will meet or speak calmly to try to redirect the coalition. But the Equality issues are dealt with between the vice president, Carmen Calvo, and Irene Montero, and there it does not seem that the negotiation will flow.

Today there will be a new delicate vote: a non-law proposal that United We can promote to urge the Government to reform the current abortion law, of the PSOE, “to include obstetric violence, reproductive exploitation, forced sterilization and abortion forced as forms of violence against women; as well as the elimination of the reflection period ”.

The Socialists do not like this initiative and have tabled an amendment. United We Can not accept it. The PSOE could take revenge on Tuesday’s vote by rejecting the initiative of United We Can, but everything indicates that the fight will not go that far and the initiative will succeed. The difference is that with its 35 seats, an abstention from United We Can may not be definitive, as was seen on Tuesday, while one of the 120 of the PSOE itself can knock down initiatives from the purple.

It will not be this time, but the socialists believe that the ban on voting against the coalition partners has been “opened” with the United We Can decision on Tuesday, and the tension is likely to repeat itself. While in Unidos Podemos they insist that the trans law is basic for them and argue that it is also one of the commitments of the coalition program, so they announce that, if the PSOE refuses to approve them, there will be serious consequences in the functioning of the Executive .

The PSOE feels very reinforced after the Catalan elections, and has decided that it is not going to let the tensions with United We can pass without further ado. But Iglesias has also seen, according to the analysis installed in his group, that the PSC has not taken votes from him, because practically everything that has grown has been at the expense of Ciudadanos. And that result encourages the small partner to continue fighting for their space so as not to be eaten by the big one. And the big one to not miss a single one.

Everything indicates that the tension will grow now that big economic questions come: rents, pensions, labor reform, direct aid or distribution of European funds. A more difficult coexistence, although nobody is willing to break.

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