The context of noise and increasing harshness in the level of attacks in which the country’s political confrontation has derived, which is slipping in more and more frequently and with personal and sexist interference even in the most relevant debates in Congress, has not been able to cover up the reality of a large, persistent parliamentary majority, which will once again ratify the draft State Budget this Thursday for the third consecutive year, in this case for 2023. ERC has once again waited until the last minute, as it did in 2020 and in 2021, to join a dozen parties and more than half of the Chamber and confirm an expected support, according to sources from the pro-independence party. During his intervention in the Budget debate, the spokesman for the formation in the Lower House, Gabriel Rufián, detailed this Thursday all the achievements achieved by his 13 seats to highlight their usefulness. The vote, which will be recorded at the end of the morning, will reach, except by surprise, 188 affirmative votes, a score similar to that of the two previous years. The Government bases its accounts on economic growth forecasts for 2023, although lower than those of this year due to the uncertainties of the war in Ukraine, and due to the increase in items and investments to sustain social policies and the welfare state.
The Government has ensured with the affirmative vote of the 13 republican deputies of ERC the approval in time and form of the third General State Budgets of this legislature, which are probably the last of this convulsive mandate. ERC has been waiting, but it did not have many alternatives either. In practice, I didn’t have any. He has negotiated until the last second, especially to try to obtain the transfer of the management of the Renfe Cercanías in Catalonia, but in the end he has been content with other investment promises in that territory that they estimate at a total of 900 million. The Republican spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, in fact, did not even want to advance his affirmative vote during his final presentation in the chamber, which had messages in various directions to justify “the usefulness” of his support but above all towards the Catalan nationalists who They question his surrender to the Government. He has listed investments, games, improvements, some Catalan and others more global, and has concluded: “This is what ERC does and has done in exchange for its 13 votes” and has assessed that now his formation “militates more in the reason of how useful than in the one of morality” losing because he understands that it is time to “counteract the ashes and fascists who protest more from the sofa than legislating from a seat.”
This script of the practical is the one that ERC has been following lately, as the pragmatic Catalan nationalism of the CiU did in its time, the one that has historically executed the PNV, the one that EH Bildu has been fighting for in the Basque Country for some time, and the one that has exercised again on this occasion by the Canarian Coalition in exchange for their decisive votes. The financial managers of these formations and in some cases even of their respective regional governments go to Madrid, meet with high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Finance, present their demands, negotiate and sign agreements, which in many cases are not executed and are repeat in the following course. In the final debate this Thursday, the spokespersons for Bildu, PDeCAT, and Más País have stressed the same idea of how “responsible and decisive” their vote is.
The president himself, Pedro Sánchez, alluded this Thursday to “useful politics” that gives stability to the country in the face of “right-wing hooliganism” and the same argument was picked up by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, when she arrived to vote in the Chamber, and remarked “the confidence and security” that having public accounts for the third consecutive year gives Spain, “something that did not happen ten years ago”, in this international context. And she gave as an example the consequences of the recent international investments collected: 20,000 million euros and more than 100,000 jobs.
The right-wing opposition also tends to respond in the same way to the evidence of support from the government coalition. Find out in some of those demands from the partners transfers that he dismisses as resignations on the unity of the State, which can vary from works, to the management of the minimum wage, Social Security pension procedures, the schedule planned to review the Basque quota or the transfer of traffic fines, in this case to Navarra as other executives and other ideologies did with Catalonia in the past.
This is what has happened since in Spain there are no longer governments with absolute majorities, of any sign. In fact, and since 1993, 26 General State Budgets have been approved in Parliament, 16 of them with minority governments and nationalist supporters. This is what happened in 2020 and in 2021, the first two years of this legislature, which was born with the meager margin of two seats. But that panorama has changed and has settled quite a bit in these three years, on the same basis. In the fall of 2020, the Budgets added 187 votes, the representatives of 11 parties and some 12 million voters, compared to 153 noes from the right, JuntsxCAT, the CUP and on that occasion even the BNG. In 2021, the affirmative marker rose to 188 votes, 11 formations and 55% of the House.
ERC has been the last of the usual allies that has confirmed its support for the public accounts for 2023. The week had started with positive pronouncements from the PDeCAT and EH Bildu in the same Congress, and advanced adhesions from the PNV and other minority formations. Also with some unexpected departures, such as the one formulated from the chamber in one of his speeches by the progressive deputy of Teruel Existe, Tomás Guitarte, who on this occasion advanced his negative vote for not reaching sufficient investment agreements to combat depopulation in the provinces of the so-called emptied Spain. The BNG deputy, Néstor Rego, has also been placed outside the investiture bloc again and abstained because he sees the Government’s budget proposals for Galicia as “insufficient” and scarce in the social sphere and rejected the sections planned for Defense ( for his increase in military spending by more than 25%) and for the Royal House.
In Congress there are now 349 deputies and the Budgets are a law that must be endorsed by a simple majority, more yes than no. With the latest confirmations, the project will go ahead by the end of the morning more than likely with 188 votes in favor to 160 against. The voting panel will thus mark the 188 deputies of the PSOE (120), Unidas Podemos (33), ERC (13), PNV (6), EH Bildu (5), PDeCAT (4), Coalición Canaria (2) in the yes ), Más País (2), Compromís (1), a former deputy from UP and the Regionalist Party of Cantabria (1). On the side of the no, 160 seats will be located: PP (88), Vox (52), Ciudadanos (9), JuntsxCAT (4), the CUP (2), Foro Asturias (1), Teruel Exists (1), both defecting parliamentarians from Navarra Suma and another who was from Cs. The only abstention is that of the BNG representative.
The right-wing opposition, both PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, have reneged on the entire project because they do not consider it “credible” and defend that it has only been prepared thinking of giving in to the partners so that Pedro Sánchez can remain in La Moncloa. The PP spokeswoman, Elvira Rodríguez, has labeled them a “Chinese tale” and has finished off: “They are not budgets, they do not plan to comply with them, they are not general and they do not belong to the entire State for all that they have given to approve them.”