The ERC’s refusal to support the royal decree law of measures against the effects of the war in Ukraine, due to the ‘Pegasus’ scandal, could have thrown the Government into the arms of the PP. Seek his abstention to save a vote, which in recent days had become very complicated. But that path was never seriously valued. For Moncloa and for the PSOE, according to the sources consulted by EL PERIÓDICO, that option was always impassable.
“And after that”, Socialist sources pointed out. The Government is fully aware that the survival of the legislature depends on the majority of the investiture and that the votes of ERC and EH Bildu, especially the former, are fundamental. Betting on the PP to carry out this royal decree law, which includes, among other measures, the discount on gasoline, would have meant put in check the current arithmetic that supports the Government and depend absolutely on the popular ones.
And this is not in the mind of the Executive. On the contrary, the concern at the moment is how to recover dialogue with the Generalitat and with the ERC. And it doesn’t seem easy to do it. The independence movement has found in the alleged espionage more than 60 charges, which is based on the investigation of a supposed independent entity Citizen Lab, a new cause. The Government has tried to respond with several initiatives: an internal investigation in the CNI, which means admitting that it has been involved in these wiretaps, and a change in the composition of the official secrets commission to accommodate ERC and EH Bildu.
heads won’t roll
None of this has satisfied the Republicans, who are calling for the purging of political responsibilities. The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has publicly called for the resignation of the Defense Minister, Margaret Oaks. Socialist sources assure that “none of this is going to happen”. That does not prevent Moncloa from making some of Robles’ latest interventions uncomfortable, which have not helped calm the waters with ERC.
United We Can, which has hardly participated in the negotiation to save the royal decree law, has internally pressured Sánchez to do what had to be done so as not to lose the Republicans and preserve the absolute majority of the investiture. But they also point out that it is not about anything personal against Robles, usually very critical of the purple formation, and that the dialectical combat with it reinforces them before their electorate.
From the Government, in private, it has been admitted that among the functions of the CNI is to confront the separatist process promoted from Catalonia and monitor both the independence referendum of 1-O 2017 and the disturbances that occurred in Barcelona and in the rest of the autonomy in October 2019, when the ‘procès’ sentence was known. But massive espionage with the Pegasus system is deniedthrough mobile phones. In Moncloa they consider that, after the movements they have made to stop the ERC discomfort, they do not have much more margin and trust in a gradual recovery of relations.
They never wanted to negotiate with the PP
Regarding the PP, they think that it did not exhibit a real will to negotiate due to the harshness of its conditions. The truth is that neither did the Government. On Tuesday night, the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, called the popular economic manager, Juan Bravo, but the conversation was fruitless. The next day the PP published a letter in which it asked the Government to process the royal decree law as a bill but to incorporate its four demands: a tax cut for low and middle incomea reduction in VAT for electricity, measures to streamline the management of European funds and a rationalization of bureaucratic expense and government politician.
Shortly after, the Executive announced that it accepted the processing as a bill. But that step was not taken to please the PP but to tie up the support of EH Bildu and small formations such as Teruel Exists, BNG and Nuevas Canarias. In fact, throughout Wednesday, they had already promised this last party to incorporate it into the alternative sum with which it was intended to overcome the ERC rejection.
That it was not a gesture to the PP was very obvious just by reading the official response of the Finance Minister to Juan Bravo, in a tone that was not at all favorable to the demands of the main opposition party. Montero reproached the PP for making his letter known to the media and demanded that his will to agree also include the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary, in addition to other reproaches. With this answer it did not seem very feasible that a minimum understanding could be reached between the Government and the main opposition party. Because at all times, despite the fact that the Executive has seen itself up to its neck in water, the bet was always EH Bildu and the small matches.