The Iñigo Urkullu government does not need any opposition support to approve the 2021 budgets because after the 2020 elections, the PNV and PSE-EE coalition was reinforced with an absolute majority. The variable geometry of the last legislature is over, which began with two economic pacts with Alfonso Alonso’s PP, which continued with a frustrated attempt with EH Bildu after the motion of censure to Mariano Rajoy and that ended with a pact with Podemos and Equo (no UI). In any case, a few days after the registration of Parliament closes the deadline to present full amendments on January 19 at 12.00 hours, the Executive promises to give “affection” to Elkarrekin Podemos-IU’s proposals, valued at 392 million , with the aim of expanding the majority and launching a message of consensus to society in the midst of a pandemic.
“We are going to try. It is the only group that has rolled up its sleeves,” they confess in the Executive, which has the Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu, as its negotiator. For now, after a first meeting that, according to the purple spokesperson, Miren Gorrotxategi, has arrived late, the parties have rushed to close a second appointment for this Thursday. And that the left-wing coalition has to manage by telematic means for a case of COVID-19 among its technical staff.
The political movement is still surprising in that it is by no means the natural continuity of last year’s talks. As Azpiazu ironic when presenting the accounts at the end of last year, this is “another Podemos”. Its former leaders abandoned politics when Gorrotxategi defeated in the electoral primaries. Of last year’s negotiators, Lander Martínez, Rosa Martínez, Cristina Macazaga and José Ramón Becerra, there is no one left. One of Gorrotxategi’s strengths was, precisely, to appeal to a left-wing alternative to the PNV and not to contend with the nationalist formation, which they frame on the right. In an interview with this newspaper, He confessed that he had voted against the 2020 budget pact in the internal ‘referendum’ that was held at the time. As for the other leg of the coalition, IU, he unchecked himself from his partners and voted against Urkullu’s accounts.
Gorrotxategi, in any case, has launched a possible position in his recent public interventions. He already remarked that they did not go to the negotiation with “red lines”Although his proposals seem very far from the government’s political position and more so in a case where he does not need to deviate from his model because he already has guaranteed votes in Parliament. “It is an exercise of responsibility”, explains Gorrotxategi about his willingness to dialogue. From a technical point of view, what Podemos and IU demand is to squeeze the margin of deficit and indebtedness to have more resources with which to reinforce health, housing or care policies.
This message of approach to Elkarrekin Podemos-IU carries an implicit charge of depth towards EH Bildu. For them there is no “honey”. The coalition has also presented a proposal, in this case for 429 million and with points coinciding with the Elkarrekin Podemos-IU document, such as the request for dissolution of the Basque Hydrocarbons Society (SHESA) or the end of cuts in the Income guarantee income, the social salary that is paid to people without resources or with pensions and low payrolls. But the difference lies, more than in the numbers, in the tone. “The Executive has not sown the ground for the agreement,” assumes EH Bildu spokesperson, Maddalen Iriarte, who sees that “the scenario is not very encouraging.”
“It does not seem logical to me in a government that does not remove the word ‘auzolan’ from its mouth,” Iriarte abounds on the icy treatment that Urkullu’s cabinet dispenses “to the first force of the opposition” with “great difference” towards the others, according to their reflections. Iriarte has demanded a second meeting from the Executive but, for the moment, there is no record that a date and time has closed. EH Bildu wishes to negotiate at once not only the accounts but also the Basque proposal for raise 5,700 million in European funds or a tax reform – a matter that is directly the responsibility of the General Councils of Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa and not the Basque Parliament – and the “immediate” creation of a “COVID-19 extraordinary tax”.
Those who are already out of the game are PP + Cs and Vox. Carlos Iturgaiz, leader of the coalition of ‘popular’ and oranges, advanced to Azpiazu that they would walk towards the amendment of totality and takes for granted the pact with Elkarrekin Podemos-IU. One of his recurring lines of argument is that Urkullu’s is a government that follows the “socialcommunist” path of Pedro Sánchez’s, so he understands that the partners in Madrid will also unite in Vitoria. As for the ultra-right formation, although he sat down with the Government, the dialogue did not go beyond a formalism.