Friday, March 24

The PSOE risks reforming the ‘only yes is yes’ without Podemos and with the PP

Ministers Félix Bolaños and Isabel Rodríguez / EFE

Belarra affirms that his party “has been forced” to negotiate the change because the socialists’ “legs are shaking”

Miguel Angel Alfonso

PSOE and Unidas Podemos remain stuck in the formula to reform the law of ‘only yes is yes’. Four months after the municipal and regional elections on May 28, time is running against the Government and Pedro Sánchez’s threat to toughen the norm with or without his partner is becoming more and more evident. However, in Ferraz they are beginning to be aware that, if they go ahead without the pleasure of the purples, they will be forced to carry out the change in the Penal Code at the hands of the PP and Ciudadanos, the only formations that have offered so far publicly the vote of its deputies to undertake the modification of the norm.

The Socialists maintain that the political cost that this movement would have “is calculated to the millimeter”, but from Podemos they begin to use parliamentary arithmetic as ammunition to pressure negotiations. In the midst of a liturgy similar to that practiced in other high-voltage negotiations such as the housing law or the cap on variable mortgages, the general secretary of the purples and Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, acknowledged that her party “has been forced to put forward proposals” for reform because the PSOE “tends to shake their legs.” In statements to TVE, she insisted that her partner is “receiving pressure from the right.” She also recognized that from Equality they have put new proposals on the table, which she did not detail, but assured that “they are being rejected by the PSOE.”

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Regarding the reduction in sentences for sexual offenders – at least 372 until this Wednesday, with twenty releases – the minister avoids giving ground and maintains the defense that it is “a minority of judges who are applying the law is incorrect” and that, as happened in 2004 when the law on gender violence was approved, “it will take time to be applied properly”.

For the PSOE, the option of resorting to the allies of the so-called investiture bloc dissipated this week, once the positions held by the coalition partners became evident. To a greater or lesser extent, Esquerra, EH Bildu, PNV and Más País closed ranks around the shielding of consent in the ‘only yes is yes’. These parties had already expressed their concern about “the negative effects of the law” when the talks between the coalition partners were still being carried out in secret, but they made it clear that they maintain their support for avoiding a differentiation between aggressions with or without violence or intimidation, as the Ministry of Justice has been proposing since last December 8. Proposal that those of Belarra categorically reject.

The second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, one of the first voices in the United Podemos space to recognize that an adjustment to the norm was necessary, has broken her equidistance and also aligns herself with Podemos on this issue. “The important thing is that we respect consent as required by the Istanbul Agreement itself,” she settled this Wednesday on a visit to Valladolid.

force machines

Meanwhile, negotiations are going on intensely. The head of Justice, Pilar Llop, decided at the last minute this Wednesday not to get on the Madrid-Rabat flight that took Pedro Sánchez and eleven other ministers to the High Level Meeting with Morocco, as planned. From there she went to the negotiating table with the aim of forcing machines to prevent her own threat to reform the star norm of Equality without Podemos from being fulfilled, which would show a rupture in the Government. The most serious of the Legislature.

In Podemos they trust that this possibility will become another pressure tool in the talks. “The positions have not changed, we trust that the PSOE will end up moving from its trenches, as it has done on other occasions,” sources close to the purple address explain to this newspaper. From the PSOE, on the other hand, they try to convince their partners that consent will remain “untouchable” in the reform of the “only yes is yes” law and that the socialists’ proposal for modification only intends to aggravate the penalties so that the “heartless” sexual offenders do not benefit from sentence reductions in application of the norm. This was reported this Wednesday first by the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, and later by the Secretary of State for Justice, Tontxu Rodríguez.

But it is precisely this “hardening” that activates the alarms of Podemos. Those of Belarra consider the purple ones that to distinguish crimes with violence or intimidation from the rest of sexual assaults would inevitably imply blowing up the consent and “returning to the probative ordeal”, as they say from Equality, to which the victims were subjected when they had to prove that they had been raped and not abused.

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