Bipartisanship also takes the Senate

Yolanda Díaz, Second Vice President of the Government / ef

Sánchez and Feijóo turn the debate on the energy crisis into a total confrontation in which García Márquez does not escape the anger or the Nobel Prize

Alvaro Soto

What is the Senate for? There was a time when Spain, back in 2011, with the impetus of 15M, asked itself this question, when the tinsel of the upper house outraged an increasingly impoverished society. But a decade later, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition found the answer: to turn it into an extension of the Congress of Deputies and extend the political row to that point. Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo stayed in the Senate to debate energy policy and ended up throwing nuclear power plants, the agreements with Bildu and ERC, foreign policy, the renewal of the Judiciary, aid for free books text, the Superpuma helicopter and even García Márquez. They starred in a harsh debate that barely served to show the stark distance that exists between the two main parties in the country.

“Summer is over,” Sánchez informed the Spanish in his first words of his first speech. The optimists thought that it could be a quiet afternoon when they saw the Prime Minister effusively congratulate his old rival, Susana Díaz, who was sworn in as the new senator for Andalusia. They were going to talk about the ‘Shock plan for energy saving and management in air conditioning and its territorial perspective, as well as its economic and social context’, a long statement that is summarized in a more earthly way: the consequences of the war of Ukraine.

The schism between Sánchez and Feijóo exceeds the point of no return

And at first, for a few minutes, the Spanish Senate looked like the Bundesrat. The President of the Government said that Russia “has no chance of breaking a united Europe” and that “Spain is obliged to help its European brothers”; and the senators, of all parties, seemed to be listening intently and nodding. There was a distant evocation of Kennedy when Sánchez asked the Spaniards to ask themselves “what does Spain need” and even Feijóo began with good words: “President, thank you for accepting this invitation.” Knowing that he had to watch the game from the stands, the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, was the living image of tranquility. But the goat goes to the bush and the Spanish politician, to the mud, so that the dirty game immediately returned and there the debate remained, forever.

Without and with tie

In September 2022, being President of the Government does not require you to wear a tie, but you do have to say ‘Putin’ many times, simply and chewing the syllables. ‘Putin’ has the name of a bad guy and it’s really scary, but the Prime Minister wanted to reduce the dramatic tension. The “apocalypse” proclaimed by “the right and the extreme right” is not going to come, which, in Sánchez’s opinion, are also very bad. In these, following Pavlov’s axioms, the government bench applauded loudly when they heard “the right and the far right.” In a format in which Sánchez played with an advantage (he spoke for two hours, while Feijóo barely had 30 minutes), the truce was about to end.

Soon the faces began, the shouts (“noooooooooo”), the reproaches (“don’t make a fool of yourself”, from Sánchez to Feijóo) and not even the appearance on the scene of a Nobel Prize winner calmed the atmosphere. In recent days, Feijóo has compared Sánchez to the bloody dictator of ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’. “If an adviser of mine had written in a speech that you were like ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’, I would have crossed it out. You, on the other hand, have reaffirmed today that I am like the protagonist of the novel, “said Sánchez, really angry at the allusion.

In their almost three hours face to face, Sánchez and Feijóo came to use similar arguments to disqualify the rival. “No one is always wrong, not even you,” Feijóo conceded. “Even a broken clock gives the time twice every day,” Sánchez replied, who wondered if Feijóo acts as he acts “due to insolvency or bad faith.” There, the Galician leader has wanted to pay tribute, perhaps involuntarily, to Rajoy, and has pulled irony: «You are a bad president and it is not an insult, it is a chronicle»; «I have read the curriculum of his ministers and with some I have taken a few seconds»; and “to file an opposition, you will only have to wait a few months.”

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Bipartisanship also takes the Senate