From kicking to shaking hands, by Joan Tapia

Spain suffers great polarization due to protests against the amnesty and the right-wing rejection of Sánchez’s investiture due to the pact with pro-independence parties. And the investiture debate was marked by this climate of tension and a fierce clash between PP and PSOE. How long will this situation last?

It does not encourage optimism that President Sánchez amalgamates PP and Vox into a “retrograde right” and laughs at Feijóo saying that he is not president only for not having given in to Puigdemont. Nor does Feijóo claim that Sánchez is corrupt because he has not negotiated but rather “bought” the independence votes. And even less so that Abascal accuses Sánchez of coup plotting and compares him to Hitler. AND The weight of the extremes (Vox and Podemos) is partly the fault of this war between PP and PSOE.

And yet, democracy works. Very bad, because of a thunderous noise, but it works. Sánchez has been elected in the first vote with 179 yeses against 171. We will have a Government. And Feijóo, in a disqualifying speech, stated that It will be a Government elected with constitutional norms. The language was apocalyptic, but it did not fall into Isabel Ayuso’s “we are entering a dictatorship” or Abascal’s coup d’état. He acted, with very strong language, as leader of the opposition. And at the end of the session, he went to greet Sánchez who extended his hand so that they could fit it. Feijóo told him: “This is a mistake and you are responsible,” but they kept their manners. And the only newspaper that yesterday displayed that photo on the cover was ‘La Razón’, conservative, but which does not intend to give lessons on right-wingism to the leader of the PP. Noted.

Let’s be realistic. At the point we have reached, neither Sánchez nor Feijóo could do anything very different. The investiture is a great TV set in which each leader has to instil morale in his people and score goals against the opponent. Sánchez, beaten very harshly throughout the legislature and in the electoral campaign, could not stop hitting back. And show that he won. And Feijóo, who was the most voted, but who did not achieve the absolute majority and who will not be the tenant of La Moncloa due to the PSOE-Puigdemont pact (in a very strange document), had to insist that this amnesty is unconstitutional (it may be), and that everything has been a shady maneuver. He needs to keep the PP united (with Ayuso) and strong (against Abascal). Sánchez and Feijóo know that they need each other, but they neither agree nor would they know how to agree without losing ground to their wingers.

And the only published survey (‘El Mundo’) says that both achieved it. 84.4% of PSOE voters believe Sánchez’s speech is convincing. And 90.3% of the popular ones, that of Feijóo. Sánchez’s grade is 5.4 and Feijóo’s is 5.1. Like it or not, that’s how things are. Although both of them should know that a 5 is just a passing scratch.

And now that? Sánchez will have serious problems in his coalition, although as the amnesty will take time (due to the PP Senate, due to the constitutionality issues of the judges & mldr;) Puigdemont will not be able to separate himself much from Sánchez. By requesting amnesty, he has become bound by Spanish laws. Perhaps more serious would be a policy of gestures, à la Yolanda Díaz, that forgets the current high interest rates and the return of EU fiscal rules. Pay attention to the shout of Juan Roig, from Mercadona!

But yesterday Sánchez had good news. The CIS of the Generalitat says that The PSC would greatly increase its advantage in the Catalan electionsthat for the first time the independence movement would not have an absolute majority, and that 60% of Catalans, against 31%, approve of the amnesty. The Sánchez-Illa engine works.

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AND Feijóo must redefine his leadership and his policy for a stage of opposition. You need a more coherent and solvent team (and economic brain). And he has to rethink about Vox. The always brilliant Aitor Esteban told him: “Alberto, the PP’s engine is seized by Vox’s oil.” And he himself has admitted that the pacts with Vox after the regional elections hurt him in the general elections.

Sánchez has two bones: Puigdemont… and Yolanda. Feijóo, Vox…and Ayuso. And on Thursday the final match between Sánchez and Feijóo was less visible than the previous kicks. But despite everything, Spanish democracy works. More bad than good, but resist.