Sunday, March 3, 2024

Vox promotes radicalism and votes against constitutional reform

What has not been achieved in five years is solved in less than 48 hours through the emergency method and the summary method of reading. “This is a good day for our democracy; we settled the moral debt of four million citizens,” declared the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to end the debate. The Congress, temporarily placed in the Senate for the works of the Carrera de San Jerónimo palace, gave its final approval this Thursday of the third reform of the 1978 Constitution, which retouched Article 49 to replace the term “disabled” in “persons with disabilities.”. Words like dignity or justice are heard in the mouths of the most diverse and inconsistent speakers, from Navarrese of the UPN to Abertzales of EH Bildu, from Esquerra Republicana to the PP. Only one political force remained on the sidelines: the one that protested angrily every time it was portrayed as more right.

Vox, which had already avoided considering the project on Tuesday, went a step further and ended up voting against it, with attacks including the PP, its partner in the autonomous communities and city councils. The ultra deputy Lourdes Méndez Monasterio waved the change in general presented by the popular party in September 2021, during the mandate of Pablo Casado, in the face of the same initiative from the government. Then the PP firmly refused even a small change in the text of the constitution. “Proof of his inequality and political evil” attacked Méndez Monasterio.

The extreme right declared itself in favor of the content of the reform; the retreat of the term decreased, but it held to arguments similar to those used by the popular two years ago: “If the constitutional building is opened to a specific reform, it may lead to attempts to blow up the entire institutional architecture.” That, and the desire not to reach any agreement that would serve to “whitewash” Sánchez, At the end of the plenary session, in a statement without questions to clarify the agreement reached, the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, without citing Vox, limited himself to “regret” that others did not understand his commitment to “improve” the institutions.

The leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, with the first vice president, María Jesús Montero, after the plenary session. Samuel Sanchez

In July 2018, the government of Sánchez took the first steps towards a reform demanded by groups of affected people, who once again filled the guest gallery with gestures of great emotion that had been requested for two decades. The reluctance of the PP delayed the initiative, so many spokesmen, including Sánchez himself, apologized because this recognition was “late.” After a long wait, the project was completed at the maximum speed allowed by the legislative process: it was considered in the plenary session on Tuesday, the Board rejected some changes presented the next day, and on Thursday Congress gave it a final with 312 votes in favor and 32 against, exceeding the requirement of three-fifths of the Chamber required for constitutional reforms. Now all that is missing is a yes in the Senate for the constitutional amendment to proceed.

This approach makes some groups uncomfortable, especially PNV. Other nationalist formations took advantage of the debate to demand far-reaching reforms of the Constitution, but none presented changes in matters unrelated to the proposed “respect” of affected groups, as emphasized by spokespersons such as Mertxe Aizpurua, from EH Bildu, or Néstor Rego, from BNG. This is done by PNV. Its 11 amendments propose profound constitutional changes, such as the recognition of the “right to decide” of the Basques or the revocation of the King’s inviolability. Also, Sumar, on the initiative of Compromís, proposed another issue on the sidelines: the recognition of the constitution of the Valencian civil law. And, at the request of the Balearic Islands of Mès, Formentera will be given the right to elect a senator. The Board, with the votes of the PP and PSOE, did not even allow the changes to be put up for debate, saying that they did not strictly follow the issue raised.

The Minister Of The Presidency, Félix Bolaños, And The Spokesman Of The Pp In Congress, Cuca Gamarra, This Thursday.
The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, and the spokesman of the PP in Congress, Cuca Gamarra, met this Thursday. Samuel Sánchez

Mikel Legarda, from the PNV, clarified the strong discomfort of his group by accusing the PP and PSOE of making “anti-democratic anger” and subjecting other political forces to the “adhesion contract.” This attitude earned him scorn, even in kind terms, from his great competitor in Basque nationalism, EH Bildu. Mertxe Aizpurua defended that this reform is not the appropriate framework to obtain the “national recognition” of Euskadi and that any initiative in this regard must be proposed first by the autonomous institutions.

As already happened on Tuesday, some deputies intervened in the debate, declaring themselves members of the disabled group. This is the case of Vicenç Vidal, from Sumar, who concluded: “20 years have passed for the Constitution to stop insulting me and telling me that I am less valid than other people.”

Vox deputy Lourdes Méndez Monasterio spoke with the leader of the party, Santiago Abascal, this Thursday. Samuel Sánchez
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