With 180 votes in favour and 169 against, the Spanish Parliament has kicked Mariano Rajoy out of the Moncloa [Parliament] and elected the socialist Pedro Sánchez.
Sánchez becomes president of the government after a no confidence motion, an intelligent and timely action.
The election of the socialist Pedro Sánchez, to be President of the Spanish government after a no confidence motion against Rajoy and with the support of parliamentary groups that are very different in their ideas and objectives, was applauded with a “Yes, we can” chanted by the deputies of Podemos: United We Can”.
After today, a good part of the population of the Spanish state takes a deep breath and celebrates that corruption has ended with the government of Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy has exercised his presidency by swimming among the corrupt in and out of prison, denying the evidence that his party had become a mafia organization; betraying ‘his own’ – those who gave him the most – every time the opportunity presented itself; signing laws and adopting increasingly dictatorial measures in every sense; and developing deeply anti-social policies, with cuts that have led a high percentage of the population to poverty and precariousness, to public health being degraded as we never imagined, to public education losing quality to private education, to the public pension system being called into question, etc.
Meanwhile, a complicated and destabilizing stage is opening, but one of great opportunities if the new president of the government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, knows how to take advantage of them.
Pedro Sánchez’ background
Sánchez, a politician who seemed “flat” to many, whose political career has been cut short by those who have maintained seats and places of power within the Socialist Party (the so-called `barons’, those who came to power in Suresnes* and in the years that followed), has turned out to be much more intelligent than what – at first sight – his speech showed and the image that the big media have been showing of him.
Heir to a Socialist Party that betrayed the hopes of entire generations who had fought for democracy; that brought Spain into NATO after promising that it would not do so; that introduced Spain into the European Union under loser-starting conditions to the countries of northern and central Europe and whose consequences we continue to pay for; that it has and had to its credit not a few cases of corruption; that modified article 135 of the Constitution by giving priority to the payment of private foreign debt in exchange for huge cuts that have produced death, suffering and poverty in hundreds of thousands of Spanish families… Pedro Sánchez represents internally -just in some way- someone who has confronted this history and these practices in a socialist party that forgot that it was working class and Spanish, by putting as a priority the interests of the big multinationals and financial capital.
Whether Sanchez representsq socialist renewal, remains to be seen in the near future. But he has shown enough intelligence to set in motion a very timely action. Some voices doubt it was him. The truth is that if he hasn’t been, he has been able to surround himself with a good team, which speaks well of him and his ability.
This timely action can be summarized in this way:
First, he resigned as a deputy – after the barons of his party had carried out an action clearly aimed at removing him from the general secretariat and which they managed to do for a few months, since he was re-elected by the rank and file – thus distancing himself from the decisions of his party’s old policies, the party that had turned its back on the citizens and which has also had loud cases of corruption to its credit.
Afterwards, he has dedicated himself to rebuilding the ties with the party’s foundations, with the support of a team that wants to clean up the party’s image.
In the same way, he does not enter into provocations from other parties.
Finally, he waited for Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party to fall after a historic ruling against corruption, with the so-called Gürtel Case (illegal financing of the Popular Party), and then quickly raised a no confidence motion against Rajoy, who has been forced to leave the presidency of the government today.
In short, he did not oppose the great force represented by the image of his party in the streets and to the very apparatus of power that came from afar within his own ranks. He allowd everything to fall as he built his space, seeking support, and restoring the hope of a good part of the socialist activists, in order to advance in hours, in a few days, with determination towards the achievement of his objective.
But he did manage to become prime minister, creating a union among those who did not love Rajoy; it was not for many – who supported him – a yes to his figure but a no to the popular government. And this is a handicap for its management.
Challenges and opportunities
The same difficulties, which he has, can turn into opportunities to make a policy towards the people and with his back to different kinds of powers.
The same support he has received to be able to reach the presidency speaks of transversality (it has been supported by openly anti-monarchical and pro-independence parties – such as Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña, conservatives – as part of the Catalan and Basque nationalists -, leftists – such as Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Compromís… or new formations such as En Comú Podem or Las Mareas, among others). The new policy in different places speaks of overcoming the classic right and left. We don’t know if from his ideological point of view he will be able to do this, but the opportunity is there.
This puts him in a situation of having to be inclusive with different positions and sensibilities, also a sign of new times.
At this point, it must necessarily to use dialogue and forget about police burdens, the judiciaryisation of public life, political prisoners and the criminalisation of political positions other than one’s own.
Thinking about opening up to question the Constitution of’78, heir of Franco’s dictatorship and guarantor of privileges for a certain political and economic class in this country, and the kind of state that Spaniards want to give themselves… maybe it is too much, but this is pending, it is urgent and Pedro Sánchez has the possibility of going in that direction.
What he does in the coming times will or will not open up his future and the future of this people (the sum of its peoples), who are so in need of democracy and social/human rights. Time will tell!
* The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the party of Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, changed its course towards social democracy at the historic Suresnes Congress (1974), in which Felipe González (alias Isidoro) was elected General Secretary, and which was attended by Willy Brandt and François Miterrand as guarantors of the process.