“The effort that unites us” is the motto that was thought just this year for an unprecedented National Holiday, for the first time in decades without a military parade due to the coronavirus, with Madrid in a state of alarm and the political environment in extreme tension. King Felipe VI will preside over some very austere acts for the seventh time surrounded by all the members of a never-seen-before coalition government, with the members of the United We Can present who have publicly questioned some of their actions. The political class lives a climate of total fracture at the worst moment of the second wave of the virus.
The King will arrive this Monday with the Queen and her daughters at the courtyard of the Royal Palace Armory, precisely where the State tribute to the thousands of victims of covid-19 was held in July, in one of the most critical moments in the country , with institutional life stressed to the maximum and in the middle of the second wave of the incidence of the pandemic, both from the health, economic and social point of view. The main parties are not living their best moment either. The act will be very simple, without a military parade and with social distance and a mask, but it will serve to bring together the main leaders of the country, both national and regional.
It will also be the first National Holiday for the coalition government of the PSOE with United We Can, which has been living for weeks in an environment of obvious discrepancies, particularly in the relationship between the executive power and the head of state. The second vice president, Pablo Iglesias, will be at the raising of the flags together with the four ministers of that formation who criticized the King’s behavior after La Moncloa’s decision not to attend a judicial act in Barcelona. But today he will greet the monarch with “institutional normality”, according to sources in his environment.
Spain thus bursts into the lead in this uncertain autumn among the countries in Europe with the worst rates of contagion by covid-19 in this second wave, with an Executive that still survives with Budgets approved three years ago by a PP Government and without finishing to outline or agree on the new ones, with the territorial tension without progress in Catalonia and with a new open front in the Community of Madrid, with unpredictable electoral consequences. In some cities, such as Madrid or Seville, the flags of Spain have reappeared in parks as a symbol of the country’s unity and an ultra party like Vox, with 52 seats and 3.6 million votes, has called for today his followers to demonstrate in the center of several capitals by car and without the permission of government delegations.
The two most powerful administrations in Spain, the central government and Madrid, have taken their confrontations to the limit. Disputes between the Cabinet of the socialist Pedro Sánchez and the popular Isabel Díaz Ayuso have been recurrent from day one but have worsened in the pandemic, due to differences in health and political criteria. Meetings, appeals to the unit and to help each other have been of no use.
The Community of Madrid, which from the beginning denied the states of alarm decreed since last March 14 due to the damage they caused to its economy, has now become the center of the pandemic in Europe and the main opposition battering ram to Sánchez. Despite the high data on infections, the plan of the Madrid president is to keep swords raised, demanding day after day the central government to lift the state of alarm that it imposed on Friday.
The national leadership of the PP, led by Pablo Casado, Ayuso’s promoter, supported his positions in principle without nuances, although now the PP leadership is struggling to wait to see how events evolve and if Ayuso gets any political revenue from this battle . The perception that the Madrid leader carries her own agenda and has become the reference on the right of the opposition to Sánchez also worries in the PP, because it overshadows Casado.
The partisan dialectics have not helped to calm things either. Yesterday, the PSOE spokesperson in Congress, Adriana Lastra, attacked the Madrid president and the leader of the PP. He recalled that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has agreed restrictions in cities with 50 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants, “but Ayuso and Casado do not see reasons in areas with 500 or 700 cases.” And he added: “Casado could have decided to follow Merkel’s path, but he preferred to become the Bolsonaro of Europe.” The PP parliamentary spokesperson, Cuca Gamarra, replied: “With 56,000 dead, at the head of the deceased and infected in Europe, and restricting freedoms in the Maduro style every day, they are not there to teach lessons.”
All political actors are in tension. United We Can is preparing to face a political and judicial ordeal due to the threat of imputation of its vice president, Pablo Iglesias. The party is aware that the opposition is preparing an offensive to try to force its exit from the Government and Churches will be its main objective in the parliamentary sessions of this and many weeks.
Ciudadanos suffers, for their part, to try to open a centrist space outside the trenches. “It is very difficult to be from Cs right now,” laments an important party leader, who tries with difficulty to maintain an elastic center strategy that includes enduring as a partner in the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso while Inés Arrimadas offers a budget pact to Pedro Sanchez.
Cs is increasingly uncomfortable with Ayuso but the Budget agreement with Sánchez is also complex, given the president’s nods to independence. “Sánchez teases us, it is a humiliation,” some Cs leaders complain, but in Arrimadas they do not rule out continuing to negotiate the accounts even in the event that Iglesias is charged, although they recognize that this option will still put everything more difficult. “It does not help”, they admit in the address.
Vox especially benefits from the climate of anger and anti-politics in the citizenry due to the partisan fracture, which once again shakes the street and with its budding motion of censure. Abascal’s party does not stop increasing the disqualifications against the Government, which it calls “criminal.” Now, coinciding with the National Holiday, it launches a new digital propaganda medium “brave that comes to give the cultural battle”. The name of the foundation behind it, chaired by Abascal, is “Dissent.”