As expected, the new coalition government in Spain has begun its mandate announcing good news. The first measure adopted by the Cabinet, which met on Tuesday for the first time, was a 0.9% increase in pensions, a measure that had been suspended until a government could finally be formed.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who gave a press conference when the cabinet meeting ended, after weeks of avoiding reporters’ questions, said the new executive wants to quickly recover lost time and plans to see his full four-year term. years. despite lacking an active majority in Congress and needing the support of other parties to pass the legislation and see their budget approved.
The prime minister said today that Delgado’s curriculum is “impeccable” and “unquestionable.”
Sanchez won the repeated general elections of November 10 but, as in the April polls, he did not reach an absolute majority. However, he managed to win a recent investiture vote in Congress, thanks to a coalition agreement between his Socialist Party (PSOE) and the United Left, Podemos, the support of several smaller parties and the key abstention of the Catalan Republican Left ( ERC))
The prime minister did not go into detail on Tuesday about the decisions to be taken in the coming days, including a salary increase for officials, an increase in the minimum wage and the government spending limit. But he did come out in defense of his first important appointment: that of former Justice Minister Dolores Delgado as attorney general.
The decision has caused great controversy since the prosecutor is supposed to operate independently of the government. Opposition politicians and critics say the measure will jeopardize the image of impartiality of the judiciary and make it appear that “there is political interference,” according to Cristina Dexeus, president of the Association of Prosecutors of the Association of Prosecutors.
The prime minister said today that Delgado’s curriculum is “impeccable” and “unquestionable,” and explained that he had called her to “exercise independence” as attorney general. In addition to her role as minister, Delgado was also voted as a deputy of the PSOE in November and campaigned for the party. But Sanchez insisted that this would not limit his independence, and said he is “fully qualified to be the attorney general.”
Absent from today’s press conference was one of the new deputy prime ministers of Spain, Pablo Iglesias, who is the leader of United Podemos. The coalition agreement between the parties came as a surprise after repeated elections last year, given that such an agreement had proved impossible following the April polls. In addition, Sanchez said he “could not sleep at night” if he had accepted the demands of United We can for a coalition agreement.
However, on Tuesday Sánchez insisted that he “had no reservations” about Iglesias and the government agreement. “On the contrary, I am proud,” the prime minister told reporters. “It is true that this is an unprecedented experience, but all the ministers are now from the government of Spain and not from a political party.”
Sanchez gave a press conference after avoiding journalists’ questions for weeks.
Catalonia and the independence campaign in the northeast region of Spain was a key issue among the questions journalists asked Sánchez on Tuesday. The prime minister insisted that he was opting for dialogue and “a political solution to a political problem.” However, it did not go into more details about the content of the negotiations that it has agreed to hold between the Spanish and Catalan governments. Regional government on the future of the region. These conversations were a requirement of the ERC party in exchange for their abstention in the recent investiture vote.
Sanchez also tried to defend the plan to vote on the agreements reached by the Catalan negotiations among the residents of the region. “If we can reach a consultation in Catalonia, it will be because there has been an agreement, and I hope that is the case, because that would mean that the crisis has been resolved,” he said. “All this will be done under the protection of the Constitution, we are a pro-constitutional party, we don’t take lessons from anyone.”
Sanchez also made repeated references to the hardness of opposition parties during the investiture debate and in his post-press statements. “Before they called me squat,” he said, referring to criticism of the prime minister after he took office thanks to a successful vote of no confidence against former Prime Minister of the Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy.
“Now they are questioning our legitimacy as a government. We ask you to recognize the outcome of the elections. They are trying to obstruct politics and now they want to obstruct justice. There must be renewal, that is what institutions like [Spain’s CGPJ legal watchdog] demand, “he added, referring to the fact that the government will need the votes of opposition parties to see new members elected to key institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.
English version by Simon Hunter.