Everything was very clear from the first moment, exactly from the first word of Alberto Núñez Feijóo's speech. The PP leader climbed onto the rostrum of Congress, ordered his papers, saluted and pronounced: "Amnesty." Hours later, already in the midst of the din of the replies and counter-replies, the issue became even more transparent, when the deputy of Sumar Enrique Santiago made a closed defense of a possible amnesty to those prosecuted by the procés and the candidate for president thanked him with some irony: "You have come to specify what this investiture is about." And that was, indeed, the strangest inauguration session that Congress has ever experienced.
The theoretical aspirant to La Moncloa transformed it into a motion of censure to a government in office or rather to a government that has not been formed and whose eventual president is not even officially a candidate. The agenda said that the Galician politician arrived there to ask for the support of the Chamber in his attempt to lead the Government, but what the protagonist did was to premiere his role as future leader of the opposition. The anomaly of the situation was just completed by the attacked: Pedro Sánchez chose to disdain Feijóo, did not intervene in the debate and gave the baton to deputy Óscar Puente, who raised the atmosphere in the chamber to red with an incendiary intervention against the leader of the PP. It was the first time that an acting president decided not to participate in an investiture session.
Feijóo quoted the word amnesty and about that he circled for minutes and minutes. His first message was to assure that he is not president because he does not want to. For this he built a kind of syllogism: if he accepted the amnesty and the referendum, he would have the support of the independentistas, ignoring that in that case he would lose the support of Vox and would also be left without the necessary majority.
It took almost 40 minutes – the speech was extended to 100 – for him to begin to enunciate any government proposal. During that time, he extended himself to raise the biggest alarms about the future of Spanish democracy if the grace measures are finally approved as part of Sánchez's pacts with the independence movement. "It would be a direct attack on core democratic values," he said. And after assuming that the amnesty is not constitutional, he said: "Outside the Constitution, there is no democracy."
Feijóo repeatedly slapped Sánchez. He accused him of practicing "frentism" and "systematic deception." And in the midst of these fierce attacks, he tried to place the idea that he is the representative of "concord among the Spaniards." In that attempt he went so far as to proclaim himself the continuator of Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González, José María Aznar and even, in some aspects, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
When the time came to outline a government program, the star measures were also linked to the Catalan conflict: he announced that he would promote the typification of a new crime of "constitutional disloyalty". Of everything else there was little news with respect to what he had already presented in the electoral campaign. In economics, he again drew a catastrophic panorama of the Spanish situation, brandishing data that his adversaries dismissed as false, and reiterated the well-known offer of lower taxes. He also rescued his offers of state pacts – up to six – without specifying much the content.
Sánchez attended Feijóo's speech with a profusion of gestures of joy and even laughter while talking with acting vice presidents Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz. The Socialists had been sowing doubts for days about whether their leader would intervene in the debate. And during the lunch break that followed the candidate's speech, it became clear that Sánchez had decided to go through the Olympics. The witness was not even picked up by the spokesman of the group, Patxi López, but by a new deputy, one of the most impetuous verb: the former mayor of Valladolid Óscar Puente.
Feijóo had started from the first hour with a litany that he did not release throughout the day. Whichever spokesman was in front of him, he assumed that he was the winner of the election. The election of the socialist spokesman sought to attack Feijóo out there and highlight his contradictions, since Puente was the most voted in the last municipal elections in Valladolid, but the PP took away the mayor's office after agreeing with Vox.
So Puente climbed to the rostrum armed with an entire arsenal of sarcasm to speak to Feijóo "from winner to winner." He began by telling him that the crime of constitutional disloyalty could be applied to himself for blocking the renewal of the Judicial Power and ended up accusing the candidate of collecting bonuses, sowing doubts about the increase in his assets and citing his old friendship with the Galician capo Marcial Dorado. All this between enthusiastic ovations of the socialists and protests and kicks of the popular. When Feijóo went up to the rostrum, he attacked Sánchez for his mutis: "He asked me for six debates in the campaign and the second one no longer appears." The popular seats erupted in a chorus: "Coward! Coward!"
The popular leader, somewhat out of place with the aggressiveness of Puente, took out his best ironic vein in the duels with the spokesmen of Sumar and the Catalan separatists. Among other things, because there was talk again of what he wanted most: amnesty. The three deputies who intervened for Sumar defended it as the instrument to pacify Catalan politics. Both Gabriel Rufián, of ERC, and Míriam Nogueras, of Junts, stressed that the grace measures are only a first step and that their final demand is the referendum. Without a consultation on independence, the Esquerra spokesman stressed, "amnesty would be of little use." Nogueras reproached the PP for its campaigns "against Catalonia" since the times of the Statute and concluded: "We need independence for the linguistic, cultural and economic survival of our nation." Feijóo flatly rejected their arguments, although he tried hard not to enter the direct clash.
The only kind words for the candidate came from the leader of Vox. Santiago Abascal and Feijóo made it clear that they have differences, but they staged a Versailles debate in which their new status as partners was evident. Between kind words from both sides, the popular thanked Abascal "for his patriotism."
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