“I have the votes within my reach to be president of the government.” but I do not accept to pay the price they ask me to do it“Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the Popular Party (PP) and candidate for the presidency of Spain, said this Tuesday in Congress.
On the first day of his investiture debate, Núñez Feijóo thus referred to the support of the Catalan independence movement that conditions his “yes” or his abstention to the candidate who guarantees an amnesty for the crimes committed in 2017, when they organized an illegal self-determination referendum and unilaterally declared the independence of Catalonia.
“No end, not even the presidency of the government, justifies the means,” said Núñez Feijóo in a debate that, he knows, It is the chronicle of a defeat foretold.
Because despite having won the July elections, victory at the polls is not synonymous with obtaining the presidency.
According to the parliamentary system that governs Spain, the candidate must obtain the support of half plus one of the 350 deputies that make up Parliament. And Núñez Feijóo does not count on them.
Spain woke up this Tuesday with very few expectations about the great event that would happen hours later in Congress: the first inauguration debate of a presidential candidatemore than two months after the general elections of July 23.
Appointed by King Felipe VI, head of state, to try to form a government, Núñez Feijóo spoke for almost two hours.
He entered the chamber at 12:03, where the 137 deputies of his party were waiting for him on their benches to applaud him.
“In the project that I come to present to you amnesty does not appearself-determination or analogous or equivalent formulas do not appear,” said the PP candidate.
“For me, it is neither legally nor ethically acceptable. Outside the Constitution there is no democracy,” he insisted.
“What the independence movement proposes, in addition to being a legal and moral aberration, is a direct attack on the essential democratic values of our country,” he stressed.
“I have principles, limits and a word”added Núñez Feijóo, aware that he has 172 openly confirmed supports: 137 deputies from his party, 33 from the far-right Vox, 1 from the Canarian Coalition and 1 from the Navarro People’s Union.
However, if there are no surprises, 178 deputies will say no.
In his speech, Núñez Feijóo fired at his main adversary, the current acting president and general secretary of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, who listened to him without making a grimace.
The candidate for the investiture proposed the incorporation of the crime of institutional disloyalty into the Penal Code and that the penalties be increased again for those who embezzle public funds.
He based his candidacy on six State pacts and an agreement to “defend the territorial integrity” of Spain.
When it was time for retorts, Pedro Sánchez stayed seated on his bench. Although no one admits it, the acting president’s strategy would be to avoid friction and exposure that would erode his image.
If there are no unforeseen events, Núñez Feijóo’s investiture will come to nothing and that will be his moment, if he finishes agreeing with the Catalan independence movement on the amnesty demanded by Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia who fled Spain in 2017 to avoid going to prison.
Deputy Oscar Puente, former mayor of Valladolid, spoke on behalf of the PSOE.
He reproached Núñez Feijóo for having obtained governments in exchange for joining a coalition with Vox. “It was touching to see him demand respect for the winner of the elections,” the PSOE deputy said ironically.
“Explain to me, Mr. Feijóo: on all those occasions in which your party has been able to govern based on post-electoral alliances, despite not having been the party with the most votes, you have formed a government by displacing the party with the most votes and integrating, without any shame, to the extreme right. That is what you have done, Mr. Feijóo,” Puente reproached him.
“I want to make it clear that there is nothing illegitimate about it,” he said. “It is the application of the Constitution and the law.”
“In a parliamentary democracy, the list with the most votes does not win.”. Whoever manages to form a government wins,” said Puente.
Challenges and warnings from Vox
Santiago Abascal, from Vox, confirmed his support for the investiture of Núñez Feijóo without avoiding recriminations and warnings:
“Your obsession with not depending on Vox in that government that some sycophants promised you led you to make the very serious mistake and tolerate a campaign to demonize Vox that was promoted from the left,” Abascal told candidate Núñez Feijóo.
“We are going to govern together in many autonomies, in many municipalities and I think it is not logical or understandable that the party itself attacks the coalition governments,” he added.
Yes to amnesty?
The Catalan independence movement He claimed the negotiation of an amnesty.
“An amnesty for the events of October 1 (date of the 2017 referendum) must lay the foundations for a new October 1 to take place,” said Gabriel Rufián, spokesperson for Esquerra Republicana.
Míriam Nogueras, spokesperson for Junts Per Catalunya, Puigdemont’s party, was clear in the “no” to Núñez Fejóo and in the amnesty as a bargaining chip for future support for Pedro Sánchez: “The conditions of Junts have not changed. We are not here to remind you of history, “We are here to change it.”
The debate lasted until after nine at night. Wednesday will be the first vote, in which Núñez Feijóo would have to obtain the absolute majority in Parliament.
If it does not succeed, as expected, You will have a second chance 48 hours later.
This time, he could manage to be named president with a simple majority, that is, obtaining more “yes” than “no”.
An option that nor is it presented as probable on the horizon of the PP candidate.