In the last few hours a pact has been announced between the Socialist Party (PSOE) and its allies of the far-left (Podemos) to skip control of the Senate to raise taxes.
A tax increase that would affect 80% of Spaniards
This increase in fiscal pressure, which would affect 80% of Spaniards and could reduce the purchasing power of retirees (effectively canceling the recent rise in pensions), would take place the recent agreement of the Government with the Autonomous Communities so they can increase their deficit, that is, they can increase even more the difference between what they spend and what they enter: an irresponsible economic policy that would contribute to continue fattening the Spanish public debt, an increasingly heavy burden for the country, but that does not worry the left, always installed in the idea that if the debt grows too much, what will be paid by future generations. A perverse way to mortgage the future of Spain.
The Senate, with an absolute majority of the PP, could veto the measure
To avoid this type of irresponsible fiscal policies, in 2012 the Parliament approved Organic Law 2/2012, of April 27, on Budgetary Stability and Financial Sustainability. Article 15 of this law grants the Congress and the Senate the power to veto the objectives of budgetary stability and public debt of the Government for the set of Public Administrations. The deficit target set this year is 1.3%, but now the PSOE wants to raise it to 1.8%. The problem for the PSOE and Podemos is that in the Senate the PP has an absolute majority, so that it could veto that deficit target.
PSOE and Podemos want to remove power to the Senate using a decree-law
In any democracy, the legislative control of the Government is the raison d’être of the separation of powers, but the left has decided to skip that control: the PSOE and Podemos have agreed to bypass the veto of the Senate. The secretary of organization of Podemos, Pablo Echenique, has acknowledged that they propose to do it by means of a decree-law. The far-left deputy has made the announcement on his Twitter without any dissimulation: “we are going to snatch the PP one of its last levers of power: to use its spurious absolute majority in the Senate to block budgets.” We must remember, in case Echenique has forgotten, that this majority was given by the polls to the PP. To nullify the power of a legislative chamber simply because the government does not have its support is very similar to what Nicolás Maduro did in 2016 with the National Assembly of Venezuela: to take power from it, illegally, after the opposition won the majority in the polls. It happens that Podemos is a party closely linked to the Chávez regime: before forming this party, several leaders of Podemos, including its president, Pablo Iglesias Turrión, headed a foundation that received 3.7 million euros from the Venezuelan government. In addition, the party has refused in three parliamentary votes to condemn the Chavez repression in Venezuela.
A maneuver expressly prohibited by the Constitution
The decrees-laws have become the favorite form of governing of the socialist Pedro Sánchez since his arrival in power in June. Although he criticized the custom of governing by decree in 2012, in less than three months he has already approved six decrees-laws, using this exceptional mechanism in an openly unconstitutional way, even to cut fundamental rights and modify the Civil Code, although that is expressly prohibited by Article 86 of the Spanish Constitution. Now the PSOE and Podemos intend to use this mechanism, which the Constitution limits to cases of “extraordinary and urgent need”, to modify the aforementioned Organic Law 2/2012. It must be remembered that the Constitutional Court reaffirmed, in its judgment 60/1986, the prohibition to modify an organic law by means of a decree-law.
The opposition accuses PSOE and Podemos of “removing the separation of powers”
The announcement of the pact and the confirmation of the mechanism that they plan to use has provoked a political scandal in Spain. The president of the Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, has accused the PSOE and Podemos of “removing the separation of powers.” Regarding Echenique’s arguments to remove the power of the Senate, Casado said: “We are not going to admit that a Bolivarian party like Podemos wants the Senate to disappear in Spain as arbitrator and territorial chamber. The spurious thing is to go against the Constitution, the separation of powers and against the division between the executive and the legislature.” Francisco de la Torre Díaz, deputy of Ciudadanos, has published a thread of Twitter this morning on the pact between the PSOE and Podemos: “A decree law can not modify an Organic Law, because it is established by articles 81 and 86 of the Constitution , and this was declared by the Constitution Court unanimously in 1986 (STC 60/1986).” The former deputy Rosa Díez, who between 1999 and 2004 was president of the Spanish Socialist delegation in the European Parliament, harshly criticized the pact between PSOE and Podemos: “At this step we will see a royal decree withdrawing the vote to the deputies of the PP. Everything is to stay in the business.”
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