The new strong man of the Government does not have a vice president position, but will control the entire flow of laws and decrees that reach the Council of Ministers. Felix Bolaños, Minister of the Presidency, presided over his first ‘council’ on Thursday. From his department, the first law to which he will pass, before the last Council on August 3, will be that of Democratic Memory … the minister has already decided that it will continue.

His first resolution, as soon as he received the portfolio from the hands of Carmen Calvo, was to park the Democratic Memory Law. The rule was scheduled to come, already in the second round, to the Council last Tuesday. The former vice president boasted that her project “will give peace to the past” and “will build the future.”

The standard has received the mandatory reports. That of the Council of State, one very critical of the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), and a third that fractured the Fiscal Council. Last May, half of this body described the initiative as “confusing” and “contradictory” and warned that generates “false expectations” in the relatives of the victims, according to the dissenting vote signed by the five councilors of the Association of Prosecutors.

Now, after the contributions of the rest of the portfolios involved -Justice, Interior, Defense …-, Calvo had already given the go-ahead at the meeting of secretaries and undersecretaries in which the important one, that of the ministers on Tuesdays in Moncloa. Without anticipating it, it was his last little council … two days before being dismissed by Pedro Sánchez.

A “unique” law

The rule is at the heart of the legislature, and it meant a lot to the defenestrated number two of the government. Not in vain, he gives the name to the Ministry of which he was head, and now Bolaños has inherited: Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory.

The text should have come out of Moncloa last Tuesday, already direct to the Cortes, to be qualified, debated in committee and presentation, carried out in full … the entire journey of the bills. But this one in particular is so “outstanding for the Executive” and so “important for the ministry” -explain the sources consulted-, that Bolaños did not see himself with the capacity to defend it as your ownat least until you study it well.

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Until a few days ago, the Secretary General of the Presidency had been chaining two fundamental tasks that had absorbed his time for a couple of months: first, all the management in Moncloa of pardons; later -and partly overlapping-, the organization of the second State tribute to the victims of the Covid. The act, chaired by the Kings this Thursday, was led hand in hand by Bolaños himself with Michelangelo Oliver, Secretary of State for Communication … who will also be dismissed from his post next Tuesday.

“Very meticulous”

“Felix has everything. He will not need luck or anything. He has all the training, all the knowledge,” Calvo had sentenced, before also highlighting his “proven loyalty”.

The former first vice president worked with Bolaños almost a year ago on this text, which already passed through the Council of Ministers, as a preliminary draft, in September 2020. Almost a year later, Calvo explained at the transfer ceremony, his successor had to carry out “a treasure” like the Democratic Memory law. But Bolaños’ first decision was to postpone the text.

Carmen Calvo, former First Vice President of the Government, hands over her portfolio to the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños.


And it was not disloyalty to what was promoted by the former chief that made her paralyze the process of the bill. Otherwise “a technical postponement”. Those closest to the new minister, the minority partners of United we can, and even deputies of the popular opposition With whom he has negotiated in the three years that he has been in Moncloa’s offices, all of them emphasize Bolaños, who is, among other things, “a meticulous man.”

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And from his surroundings it is explained that this meant that, disconnected in recent times from the drafting of the regulation, after a Monday of inaugurations, portfolio transfers and landing in a new office, it was not the best time to sit before the press to defend a text promoted by its predecessor.

“Maybe it’s just to make it yours”explains someone close to Bolaños in conversation with this newspaper, “and to know where he wants to put the accent when explaining it at the press conference.”

The new Minister of the Presidency considered it convenient to reread the norm well and postpone its approval. And all despite having been a close collaborator on this and other issues of the outgoing incumbent: “The president has entrusted us with things in these years … some of them even simple,” he smiled in his portfolio exchange speech.

Along with Bolaños were, to tuck him in on his arrival at the Ministry, the former president of the Government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero; the president of the Council of State, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega; the three vice presidentsNadia Calvin, Yolanda Diaz Y Teresa Ribera) and up to seven ministers (from the PSOE and United We Can).

Specific, Jose Manuel Albares (Exterior), Fernando Grande Marlaska (Interior), Maria Jesus Montero (Hacienda), Carolina Darias (Health), Reyes Maroto (Industry), Ione Belarra (Social Rights) and Alberto Garzon (Consumption). The president of Extremadura also attended, Guillermo Fernandez Vara.

“Since Sánchez arrived in Moncloa, he has been involved in one way or another in dozens of negotiations and he is a very dear person“says a government source.” That’s why there were so many people, “he adds … before suggesting that yes, it was also because, without the position of vice president, Bolaños will be the new power in the shadow of Moncloa.

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