The president faces a key month of negotiations for the stability of the legislature
Mariano Rajoy takes the reins of the negotiation of the Budgets from this week. The leader of the PP has until the end of April to convince Andoni Ortuzar and Inigo Urkullu that the PNV join PP, Citizens, Forum, UPN and CC to knock down the amendments to the entire project.To attract the president of NC, Roman Rodriguez, he has until May, when he will need 176 votes against the partial amendments.
Culminate a deal with seven parties would ensure the legislature and push the PP in the elections of 2019. But not everything is in the hands of Rajoy: while the independentistas do not form Government in Catalonia, they will maintain the 155 and the veto of the PNV to negotiate.
“The Government appeals to the responsibility of all political forces to defend the general interest of citizens, be useful to society and, in a shared way, support these Budgets.” This request of the government spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, after the extraordinary Council of Ministers on Tuesday, will be translated into the personal work that Mariano Rajoy will now undertake so that the Budgets are shared.
We do not start from scratch, because the president has already had contacts without publicity with representatives of the highest level of the parties he needs to carry out the accounts of 2018. The Vice President of the Government, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, has also been and remains involved in getting the necessary supports. And the Executive’s agenda begins to gravitate around fundamental negotiations to ensure the stability of the legislature.
On Tuesday, the finance minister, Cristobal Montoro, will explain the project exhaustively after handing it over to the president of the Congress, Ana Pastor. On Wednesday, Rajoy will receive at La Moncloa a delegation from Las Kellys, the collective of chambermaids who demand an improvement of their working conditions, a nod to Nueva Canarias.
And during the week it is foreseeable that the presidential cabinet will receive a call from Roman Rodriguez, the president of the Canarian nationalists, to resolve the pending political commitments of the 2017 Budget-Canary Islands Statute, economic and fiscal regime or electoral system- as previous step to begin the negotiation on those of 2018.
Although convincing the PNV is more urgent than gaining support from NC, it also requires a longer timeframe. After the convulsion of last week for the imprisonment of Catalan independence leaders and the detention of Carles Puigdemont, for the Basque nationalists it is now impossible to even approach the PP. It was also impossible for the leaders of the PNV to reach the Aberri Eguna yesterday in full negotiations with the Government. And it is impossible, finally, to adopt a sudden change of position when there is still a month to talk.
Investiture in Catalonia
Rajoy will try to match the negotiations of the accounts to the evolution of events in Catalonia. The failed vote to invest Jordi Turull as president has launched the two-month discount after which it will be mandatory to call elections if there is no new Government.
The Executive is working with the hypothesis that this will urge the independentistas to elect an “effective” president. Once his government is constituted, Rajoy will not delay the lifting of article 155 and Catalonia will recover its self-government. According to the government’s proposal, the PNV will no longer have reasons to refuse to negotiate a Budget charged with beneficial items for the Basque Country.
Then, Rajoy will speak personally with the lehendakari, Inigo Urkullu and with the president of the PNV, Andoni Ortuzar. Vice President Saenz de Santamaria; the Minister of Finance, Cristobal Montoro; and the parliamentary spokesman, Rafael Hernando, will also play a leading role. His interlocutors in the PNV will be the spokesman of the Basque Government, Josu Erkoreka, and that of the Congress, Aitor Esteban.
However, the Basque party warns that the national policy would greatly complicate the negotiations even after the end of the 155. Citizens will control any government concession to Basque nationalists, argue from the PNV, and that limits the ability of PP action.
In fact, Saenz de Santamaria and Erkoreka have not made an appointment for weeks to address if it is possible to initiate transfers of skills that nationalists ask to complete the Basque statute. Both parties separate the two negotiations, but none that has begun serves as a thermometer of the difficulties that Rajoy faces in order to successfully complete his project.
The president wants to believe that it is possible to move forward the Budgets, although he knows that a spark in Catalonia can undermine the operation, increase the intrinsic weakness of its parliamentary minority and endanger the duration of the legislature.
THE PACT FOR THE ACCOUNTS DOES NOT BRING THE PRESIDENT AND RIVERA CLOSER
Mariano Rajoy and Albert Rivera have not talked much about the Budget, just “one or two telephone conversations,” according to government sources. Your equipment yes.
On the part of the Executive, Alberto Nadal, the Secretary of State for Budgets, has carried the weight of negotiations in which the Minister of Finance, Cristobal Montoro, has been involved. And on the part of Citizens have assumed the bulk of the work, the professor of the London School of Economics, Luis Garicano, and the deputy Francisco de la Torre. In any case, the new agreement has not brought about an approach between the two leaders, distanced by their different way of understanding politics and their interest in seducing the same electorate.
In fact, the negotiation of the accounts has deepened the distrust between the two parties. The PP leadership saw with suspicion that Citizens announced a pre-agreement months ago for budgets and then added new demands, such as equalization of salaries of security forces.
At the time, the formation of Rivera criticized with harshness that the PP took months in obtaining that senator Pilar Barreiro happened to the mixed group, although the pact of investiture between the two parties picks up the separation of the imputed ones.
Finally, the Government judged with severity that Rivera announced on Monday 26 that an agreement had been reached, and that this included an average increase of 2% for pensions. A day later, Montoro wanted to demonstrate that the Budgets are prepared by the Government and not Citizens: denying Rivera, announced that pensions would rise by 3% on average.
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